Polyphony is number of notes which can be played simultaneously. Older models would have allowed newer notes to cut out or only partially sound when they had only 16 or 32 polyphony. Nowadays, most digital pianos will come with at least 64 note polyphony, though increasingly more common, with 128.
Even though you can't play more than ten notes yourself (unless you've got an odd number of fingers), sustained notes eat into your polyphony, even after the key is released. Also important when multi tracking. In digital pianos, the polyphony of the piano voice may be specified as xxx/xxxstereo. This means that you may have a polyphony of 128 in mono mode, where the samples are simply panned from left to right as you go up the keyboard. In stereo mode, you have a separate sample for left and right for each note, usually cutting polyphony in half (i.e 64 in this case) but making the sound more realistic.
A collection of FAQ's and informative articles on digital pianos
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