The phrase “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument that produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some way, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The usage of an electronic keyboard to create music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the very first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of these, initially created by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., and called the hydraulis. The hydraulis produced sound by forcing air through reed pipes, and was powered through a manual water pump or a natural water source like a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome up until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. It often did not feature a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance in the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300’s was accelerated from the standardization in the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys seen in all keyboard instruments of today. The buzz in the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption in the piano inside the 18th century. The Clicking Here had been a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards since a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) in the sound the instrument made by varying the force that each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology in the 18th century was the next essential element of the creation of the present day electronic keyboard. The very first electrified musical instrument was regarded as the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This is shortly accompanied by the “clavecin electrique” invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument was made up of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later was a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, which were activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or even the clavecin used electricity as being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented such an instrument known as the “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the very first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray discovered that he could control sound coming from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, therefore invented a fundamental single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them spanning a telephone line. Grey proceeded to incorporate a simple loudspeaker into his later models which was comprised of a diaphragm vibrating in a magnetic field, making the tone oscillator audible.
Lee De Forrest, the self-styled “Father Of Radio,” was the next major reason for the development of the electronic keyboard. In 1906 he invented the triode electronic valve or “audion valve.” The audion valve was the initial thermionic valve or “vacuum tube,” and De Forrest built the first vacuum tube instrument, the best keyboard piano in 1915. The vacuum tube became an important element of electronic instruments for the upcoming 50 years up until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade of the 1920’s brought a great deal of new electronic instruments on the scene including the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough inside the background of electronic keyboards started in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the very first electronic instrument competent at producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so up until the invention from the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also the Mellotron inside the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and the Mellotron were the initial ever sample-playback keyboards designed for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance in the 1940’s with the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This was a 3 and a half octave instrument created from 1946 until 1948 that came designed with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, “The 100.”
An upswing of music synthesizers in the 1960’s gave a strong push to the evolution in the electronic musical keyboards we have now today. The first synthesizers were extremely large, unwieldy machines used only in recording studios. The technological advancements and proliferation of miniaturized solid state components soon allowed producing synthesizers that have been self-contained, portable instruments able to being used in live performances.
This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his “Moog Synthesizer.” Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer had not been truly an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer using a built-in keyboard, which instrument further standardized the appearance of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, such as the Minimoog and the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just one single tone at any given time. A couple of, like the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and also the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at the same time when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the creation of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for that playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, at first, using electronic organ designs. There were numerous electronic keyboards produced which combined organ circuits with synthesizer processing. These included Moog’s Polymoog, Opus 3, as well as the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the look of polyphonic synthesizers including the Oberheim Four-Voice, as well as the Yamaha series CS-50, CS-60, and CS-80. The very first truly practical polyphonic synth, introduced in 1977, was the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. This instrument was the first one to use a microprocessor being a controller, as well as allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing a control button. The Prophet-5’s design soon had become the new standard within the electronic keyboards industry.
The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) as the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to be connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), as well as the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in most elements of digital piano reviews, construction, function, quality of sound, and cost. Today’s manufactures, such as Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are actually producing a great deal of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and can continue to accomplish this well in to the near future.