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 roll-out of that sound. The use of a digital keyboard to create music follows an unavoidable evolutionary line from the first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of such, initially designed 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 by means of a manual water pump or a natural water source like a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome till the 14th century, the organ remained the sole keyboard instrument. It often did not come with a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord within the 1300’s was accelerated by the standardization in the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys found in all keyboard instruments nowadays. The popularity of the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed through the development and widespread adoption in the piano inside the 18th century. The digital piano keyboard had been a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the amount (or dynamics) of 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 element of the creation of the present day electronic keyboard. The initial electrified musical instrument was thought to be the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. It was shortly followed by the “clavecin electrique” introduced by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The previous instrument was comprised of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later was actually a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that have been activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or perhaps the clavecin used electricity as a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this type of instrument referred to as “musical telegraph.,” that was, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray discovered that he could control sound from the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, therefore invented a basic single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them more than a telephone line. Grey continued to incorporate an easy loudspeaker into his later models which was made up 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 growth of the electronic keyboard. In 1906 he invented the triode electronic valve or “audion valve.” The audion valve was the first thermionic valve or “vacuum tube,” and De Forrest built the first vacuum tube instrument, the piano keyboard reviews in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary element of electronic instruments for the following fifty years till the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade of the 1920’s brought a wealth of new electronic instruments on the scene including the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough in the past of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the initial electronic instrument able to producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention from the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also the Mellotron in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin as well as the Mellotron were the first ever sample-playback keyboards meant for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance inside the 1940’s with the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). It was a 3 and a half octave instrument produced 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 inside the 1960’s gave an effective push for 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 the creation of synthesizers that have been self-contained, portable instruments capable of 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 having a built in keyboard, and this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, competent at producing only one tone at a time. A few, 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 (producing multiple simultaneous tones that 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, as well as the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the appearance of polyphonic synthesizers such as 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 being a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to get saved in computer memory and recalled by just pushing a control button. The Prophet-5’s design soon became the new standard within 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 and other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in all aspects of portable keyboard piano, construction, function, audio quality, and cost. Today’s manufactures, including 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 definately will continue to do so well into the foreseeable future.