The word “electronic keyboard” describes 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 inevitable evolutionary line from the first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of these, initially developed by the Romans in 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 like a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome up until the 14th century, the organ remained the sole keyboard instrument. It often did not feature a keyboard whatsoever, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by utilizing the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance of the clavichord and harpsichord inside the 1300’s was accelerated through the standardization in 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 through the development and widespread adoption from the piano inside the 18th century. The best keyboard piano had been a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards since a pianist could vary the quantity (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument made by varying the force with which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology in the 18th century was the next essential part of the development of the present day 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 accompanied 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, that were 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 known as the “musical telegraph.,” which was, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray learned that he could control sound from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so 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 continued to add 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 the next 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 grand piano keyboard 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 in the 1920’s brought a wealth of new electronic instruments to the scene including the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough within the past of electronic keyboards came in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the initial electronic instrument capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so till the invention in the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also the Mellotron within the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and also the Mellotron were the very first ever sample-playback keyboards meant for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance within the 1940’s with the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). It was a three along with 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 rise of music synthesizers within the 1960’s gave a powerful push to 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 producing synthesizers that were self-contained, portable instruments capable of used in live performances.
This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his “Moog Synthesizer.” Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer was not truly an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer having 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 also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just one tone at any given time. Several, such as 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 creation of multiple simultaneous tones which permit for that playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There have been numerous 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 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 one to use a microprocessor being a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled by just 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 and other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in most facets of digital piano price, construction, function, audio quality, and price. Today’s manufactures, including Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are actually producing a good amount of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and will continue to accomplish this well in to the near future.