The phrase “electronic keyboard” refers to any instrument which produces sound through the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some way, to facilitate the development of that sound. The use of an electronic keyboard to generate 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 developed by the Romans within 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 such as a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome up until the 14th century, the organ remained the best electric piano. Many times, it failed to include a keyboard whatsoever, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance in the clavichord and harpsichord inside the 1300’s was accelerated from the standardization from the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys present in all keyboard instruments of today. The recognition from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed through the development and widespread adoption of the piano inside the 18th century. The piano had been 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 with which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was the next essential element of the growth of the present day electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was thought 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 first kind instrument consisted of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to improve their sonic qualities. The later was digital piano reviews featuring plectra, or picks, which were activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or perhaps the clavecin used electricity being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented such an instrument called the “musical telegraph.,” which was, essentially, the very first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray learned that he could control sound from the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so 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 include 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 initial 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 following 50 years until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade of the 1920’s brought a wealth of new electronic instruments to the scene like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
The next major breakthrough in the past of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the introduction 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 the Mellotron in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin as well as the Mellotron were the first ever sample-playback keyboards designed 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 and a half octave instrument made 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 in 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 producing synthesizers that were self-contained, portable instruments capable of 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 having a built-in keyboard, and also this instrument further standardized the appearance of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, such as the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing just one tone at any given time. A few, such as the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and also the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at the same time when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (producing multiple simultaneous tones that allow for your dofrdp of chords) was only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There was 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 like 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 make use of a microprocessor as a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to get saved in computer memory and recalled by just 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) since the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to become connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing best electric piano keyboard have produced tremendous advancements in all facets of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and price. Today’s manufactures, like Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are actually producing an abundance of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and can continue to do so well in to the foreseeable future..