The phrase “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument which produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, somehow, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The use of an electronic keyboard to produce music follows an unavoidable 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 in 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 sole keyboard instrument. Many times, it failed to feature a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by utilizing the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300’s was accelerated by the standardization of the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys present in all keyboard instruments these days. The popularity from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed from the development and widespread adoption in the piano in the 18th century. The digital piano had been a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards just because a pianist could vary the amount (or dynamics) in the sound the instrument created by varying the force with which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was the following essential part of the development of the modern electronic keyboard. The very first electrified musical instrument was thought to be the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This is shortly then the “clavecin electrique” invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument consisted of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to boost their sonic qualities. The later was actually a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that have been 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 the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and thus invented a fundamental single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them spanning a telephone line. Grey continued to add 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 another major reason for 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 component of electronic instruments for the following half a century up until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade from the 1920’s brought a great deal of new electronic instruments onto the scene such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
The next major breakthrough within the history of electronic keyboards started in 1935 with the development of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument able to producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so till the invention in the Chamberlin Music Maker, as well as 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 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). It was a three and 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.”
An upswing of music synthesizers inside the 1960’s gave a powerful push to the evolution from 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 the creation of synthesizers that were self-contained, portable instruments able to being utilized in live performances.
This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his “Moog Synthesizer.” Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer had not been truly a digital keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer using 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, capable of producing only one tone at a time. A few, such as the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and also the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at once when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (producing multiple simultaneous tones which allow for the playing of chords) qhscvn 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, as well as the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the appearance of polyphonic synthesizers such as the Oberheim Four-Voice, and also 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 to make use of a microprocessor as a controller, as well as allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled by just pushing a button. The Prophet-5’s design soon became 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 become connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in every facets of directory, construction, function, audio quality, and expense. 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 can continue to do this well into the near future.