The term “electronic keyboard” refers to any instrument which produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some manner, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The usage of an electronic keyboard to produce 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 developed by the Romans within 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 such as a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome till the 14th century, the organ remained the sole keyboard instrument. Many times, it did not include a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by utilizing the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord inside the 1300’s was accelerated from the standardization from the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys present in all keyboard instruments these days. The recognition from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption from the piano inside the 18th century. The top digital pianos had been a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) from the sound the instrument created by varying the force that each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was the following essential step in the growth of the current electronic keyboard. The very first electrified musical instrument was considered to be the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This was shortly then the “clavecin electrique” invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The previous instrument was made up of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later had been a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that were activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or the clavecin used electricity as being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this type of instrument known as the “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray discovered that he could control sound from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, therefore invented a fundamental single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds through the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them over a telephone line. Grey went on to incorporate an easy 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 another major contributor to the creation 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 very first vacuum tube instrument, the digital stage piano in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary component of electronic instruments for the upcoming half a century until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade of the 1920’s brought an abundance of new electronic instruments to the scene like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and also the Trautonium.
Another major breakthrough inside the past of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the development of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument able to producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so till the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, as well as the Mellotron within the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and the Mellotron were the very first ever sample-playback keyboards designed for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance inside the 1940’s with all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This is a three along with a half octave instrument produced from 1946 until 1948 that came built with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, “The 100.”
The rise of music synthesizers inside the 1960’s gave an effective push for the evolution of 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 the creation of synthesizers which were self-contained, portable instruments competent at used in live performances.
This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his “Moog Synthesizer.” Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer was not truly a digital keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer using a built in keyboard, and also this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, like the Minimoog and the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just one single tone at any given time. A few, like the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at once when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the production of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for your playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There was several electronic keyboards produced which combined organ circuits with synthesizer processing. These included Moog’s Polymoog, Opus 3, and the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the appearance of polyphonic synthesizers like the Oberheim Four-Voice, and the Yamaha series CS-50, CS-60, and CS-80. The first truly practical polyphonic synth, introduced in 1977, was the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. This instrument was the first one to utilize a microprocessor being a controller, as well as allowed all knob settings to be saved in computer memory and recalled simply by pushing a button. The Prophet-5’s design soon took over as the new standard in 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), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in most elements of recommended you read, construction, function, audio quality, and expense. Today’s manufactures, including Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are producing a good amount of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and will continue to accomplish this well into the near future.