The phrase “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument which produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some way, to facilitate the roll-out of that sound. Using a digital keyboard to generate 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 designed by the Romans inside 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 a natural water source such as a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome till the 14th century, the organ remained the electric piano price. Many times, it failed to feature a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord within the 1300’s was accelerated from the standardization from the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys seen in all keyboard instruments nowadays. The popularity of the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption from the piano within the 18th century. The piano was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument made by varying the force that each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology in the 18th century was the following essential step in the growth of the current electronic keyboard. The very first electrified musical instrument was regarded as the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This was shortly followed by the “clavecin electrique” introduced by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The previous instrument consisted of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to improve their sonic qualities. The later was top digital pianos featuring plectra, or picks, that have been 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 such an instrument called the “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray found that he could control sound coming from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so invented a fundamental single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them over a telephone line. Grey went on to include 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 reason for the creation of the electronic keyboard. In 1906 he invented the triode electronic valve or “audion valve.” The audion valve was the very 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 a necessary part of electronic instruments for the next 50 years until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade from 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 in the past of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the very first electronic instrument capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so up until the invention from the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also the Mellotron inside the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and also the Mellotron were the first 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 3 and a half octave instrument made 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 in the 1960’s gave a powerful push to the evolution of the electronic musical keyboards we have now today. The initial 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 have been 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 an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer using a built in keyboard, and also this instrument further standardized the appearance of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, like the Minimoog as well as the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just one tone at a time. A couple of, including the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, as well as the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at the same time when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the creation of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for that dofrdp of chords) was just obtainable, at first, using electronic organ designs. There were 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 including the Oberheim Four-Voice, as well as 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 make use of a microprocessor being a controller, and in addition allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled by just pushing a control button. The Prophet-5’s design soon became 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 and other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing portable digital piano have produced tremendous advancements in most elements of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, audio quality, and expense. Today’s manufactures, such as 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 can continue to accomplish this well to the near future..