The word “electronic keyboard” refers to any instrument that produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some manner, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The use of a digital 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 such, initially created by the Romans within the 3rd century B.C., and referred to as 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 failed to include a keyboard whatsoever, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300’s was accelerated by 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 of the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption from the piano within the 18th century. The This Site was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards just because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument produced by varying the force with which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was the following essential element of the creation of the current electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was considered to be the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. It was shortly then the “clavecin electrique” invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument was comprised of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to boost their sonic qualities. The later was a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that have been activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or the clavecin used electricity being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this kind of instrument known as the “musical telegraph.,” that was, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray found that he could control sound from the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and thus 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 development of the electronic keyboard. In 1906 he invented the triode electronic valve or “audion valve.” The audion valve was the very first thermionic valve or “vacuum tube,” and De Forrest built the initial vacuum tube instrument, the best digital grand piano in 1915. The vacuum tube became an important part of electronic instruments for the next 50 years till the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade of the 1920’s brought an abundance of new electronic instruments on the scene such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
Another major breakthrough in the past of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the development of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the very first electronic instrument competent at producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention in 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 inside the 1940’s with the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This is a three and a half octave instrument made from 1946 until 1948 that came designed with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, “The 100.”
The increase of music synthesizers inside the 1960’s gave a powerful push for the evolution in the electronic musical keyboards we now have today. The very 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 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, which instrument further standardized the appearance of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog as well as the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just one tone at any given time. A few, like the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, as well as 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 permit for your playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, at first, using electronic organ designs. There have been a number of 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 look of polyphonic synthesizers including 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 to utilize a microprocessor as 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 became the new standard in the electronic keyboards industry.
The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) because the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to be connected into computers along with other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in every elements of buy electric piano, construction, function, audio quality, and price. Today’s manufactures, such as Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are now 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 foreseeable future.