The term “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 development of that sound. The usage of a digital keyboard to produce music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of these, initially created by the Romans within the 3rd century B.C., and known as the 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 until the 14th century, the organ remained the sole keyboard instrument. Many times, it did not include a keyboard whatsoever, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by utilizing the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300’s was accelerated by the standardization of the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys seen in all keyboard instruments of today. The buzz of the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed from the development and widespread adoption of the piano within the 18th century. The electric piano for sale was actually a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards since a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument created by varying the force in which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology within the 18th century was the next essential part of the development of the current electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was thought to be the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This was shortly then the “clavecin electrique” introduced by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The first kind instrument was comprised of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later had been a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that have been 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 called the “musical telegraph.,” which was, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. 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 from your electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them spanning a telephone line. Grey went on to add a simple 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 the next 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 first thermionic valve or “vacuum tube,” and De Forrest built the very first vacuum tube instrument, the click in 1915. The vacuum tube became an important component of electronic instruments for the following half a century 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 like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and also the Trautonium.
The next major breakthrough inside the past of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the initial 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 meant for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance in the 1940’s with all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). It was a three 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.”
The increase of music synthesizers inside the 1960’s gave a powerful push to the evolution from the electronic musical keyboards we now have 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 being utilized 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 with a built-in keyboard, which instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, like the Minimoog as well as the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, competent at producing only one tone at the same time. Several, like the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at the same time 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 were a number of electronic keyboards produced which combined organ circuits with synthesizer processing. These included Moog’s Polymoog, Opus 3, and also the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the appearance of polyphonic synthesizers such as the Oberheim Four-Voice, as well as the Yamaha series CS-50, CS-60, and CS-80. The initial truly practical polyphonic synth, introduced in 1977, was the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. This instrument was the first to utilize a microprocessor being a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled simply by pushing some control. The Prophet-5’s design soon took over as the new standard inside 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 weighted digital piano, construction, function, quality of sound, and expense. Today’s manufactures, including Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are producing a great deal of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and will continue to do so well into the foreseeable future.