The phrase “electronic keyboard” identifies any instrument that produces sound from 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 create music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ will be the oldest of such, initially created 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 by means of a manual water pump or even a natural water source for instance a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome up until the 14th century, the organ remained the home digital piano. It often did not come with a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance in the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300’s was accelerated through the standardization from the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys seen in all keyboard instruments of today. The popularity from 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 since a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) from 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 following essential part of the creation of the current electronic keyboard. The very first electrified musical instrument was considered 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 made up of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later was top electric piano featuring plectra, or picks, that were activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or even the clavecin used electricity being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this type of instrument referred to as “musical telegraph.,” which was, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray learned that he could control sound from the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so invented a simple single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them over a telephone line. Grey proceeded to incorporate an easy 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 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 “Audion Piano,” in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary component of electronic instruments for the upcoming 50 years 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 such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough inside the past of electronic keyboards came in 1935 with the introduction of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the initial electronic instrument capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so up until the invention in the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also the Mellotron within the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and the Mellotron were the initial ever sample-playback keyboards designed for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance within the 1940’s with all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This was a three and a half octave instrument made from 1946 until 1948 that came built 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 an effective 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 that were self-contained, portable instruments capable of 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 an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer with a built-in keyboard, and this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing just one tone at a time. Several, such as 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 that allow for that dofrdp of chords) was only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There was 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 such as 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 utilize a microprocessor as a controller, as well as allowed all knob settings to get saved in computer memory and recalled simply by pushing a control button. The Prophet-5’s design soon became the new standard within the electronic keyboards industry.
The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) since the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to be connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing digital piano for sale have produced tremendous advancements in every elements of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, quality of sound, and expense. Today’s manufactures, including Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are now producing an abundance of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and definately will continue to do so well to the foreseeable future..