The word “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument that produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, somehow, to facilitate the development of that sound. The use of an electronic keyboard to generate 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 developed by the Romans within the 3rd century B.C., and called the 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 until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. Many times, it failed to include a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by utilizing the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance of the clavichord and harpsichord inside 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 of today. The buzz from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century. The home digital piano was actually a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards since a pianist could vary the amount (or dynamics) in 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 another essential part of the growth 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. This is shortly then 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 enhance 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 being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this type of instrument called the “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray found that he could control sound from a 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 spanning a telephone line. Grey continued to include a basic loudspeaker into his later models which consisted 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 reason for the creation of the electronic keyboard. In 1906 he invented the triode electronic valve or “audion valve.” The audion valve was the initial thermionic valve or “vacuum tube,” and De Forrest built the first vacuum tube instrument, the full size electric piano in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary element of electronic instruments for the next fifty years up until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade in the 1920’s brought an abundance of new electronic instruments to the scene including the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough inside the background of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also the Mellotron inside 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 within the 1940’s using the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This is a three and a half octave instrument produced from 1946 until 1948 that came equipped with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, “The 100.”
An upswing of music synthesizers in the 1960’s gave an effective push towards the evolution from the electronic musical keyboards we 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 production of synthesizers which 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 an electronic 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, such as the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing only one tone at any given time. A couple of, 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 creation of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for the playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, at first, 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 the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the look of polyphonic synthesizers like the Oberheim Four-Voice, and also 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 one 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 some control. The Prophet-5’s design soon had become the new standard inside the electronic keyboards industry.
The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) as the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to become connected into computers along with other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in every aspects of This Site, construction, function, quality of sound, and expense. 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 can continue to accomplish this well to the near future.