The word “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument that produces sound by thepressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, somehow, to facilitate the creation of that sound. Using electric piano keyboard to produce music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the 1st musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of such, initially created by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., and known as the hydraulis. The hydraulis produced sound by forcing air through reed pipes, and was powered through a manual water pump or perhaps a natural water source like a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome until the 14th century, the organ remained the sole keyboard instrument. It often did not feature a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by utilizing 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 present in all keyboard instruments these days. The recognition from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed from the development and widespread adoption in the piano within the 18th century. The piano was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the amount (or dynamics) from the sound the instrument made by varying the force in which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology within the 18th century was the next essential step in the creation of the current electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was regarded as the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. It was shortly followed by the “clavecin electrique” designed by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The previous instrument was made up of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to boost their sonic qualities. The later had been a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, which 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 kind of instrument referred to as “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the 1st piano keyboard reviews. Gray discovered that he could control sound from the 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 more than a telephone line. Grey went on to incorporate a basic 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 cause of the development 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 very first vacuum tube instrument, the “Audion Piano,” in 1915. The vacuum tube became an essential part of electronic instruments for the upcoming half a century up until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade from the 1920’s brought a wealth of new electronic instruments to the scene like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and also the Trautonium.
Another major breakthrough inside the history of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the development of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument competent at producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, as well as 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 all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). It was a 3 as well as a half octave instrument created from 1946 until 1948 that came equipped with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, “The 100.”
The rise of music synthesizers within the 1960’s gave a powerful push towards the evolution of 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 the creation of synthesizers which were 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 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 style of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, such as the Minimoog and the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing just one single tone at a time. A few, including the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones simultaneously when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the production of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for that playing of chords) was only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There were several electronic keyboards produced which combined organ izlcdl 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 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 make use of a microprocessor being a controller, as well as allowed all knob settings to get saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing a control button. The Prophet-5’s design soon became the new standard in the electronic keyboards industry.
The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) since the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to be connected into computers and other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing Kawai piano have produced tremendous advancements in most elements of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and price. 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 definately will continue to accomplish this well to the foreseeable future.