The term “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument which produces sound through the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some way, to facilitate the creation of that sound. Using grand piano 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 these, initially designed 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 by means of a manual water pump or even 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 sole keyboard instrument. Many times, it did not feature a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons which were operated using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance of the clavichord and harpsichord inside the 1300’s was accelerated through 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 of the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century. The piano was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards since a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) in the sound the instrument produced by varying the force with which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was the next essential step in the growth of the modern electronic keyboard. The initial 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” introduced by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument was comprised of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later was actually a keyboard instrument 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 this kind of instrument referred to as “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the very first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray discovered that he could control sound from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so invented a basic single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them more than a telephone line. Grey went on to incorporate a basic loudspeaker into his later models which was comprised 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 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 initial vacuum tube instrument, the “Audion Piano,” in 1915. The vacuum tube became an important part of electronic instruments for the upcoming 50 years up until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade in the 1920’s brought a great deal of new electronic instruments to the scene such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.
The next major breakthrough in the background of digital piano for sale 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, as well as the Mellotron inside the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin as well as the Mellotron were the very 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). This is a three as well as 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.”
The rise of music synthesizers within the 1960’s gave a powerful push towards the evolution in 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 that have been self-contained, portable instruments able to 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 design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog as well as the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just 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 uwetwb playing of chords) was just obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There were 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, and also the Yamaha series CS-50, CS-60, and CS-80. The very first truly practical polyphonic synth, introduced in 1977, was the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. This instrument was the first one to use a microprocessor as a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing a button. The Prophet-5’s design soon had become 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 become connected into computers and other devices for input and programming), as well as the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in all elements of digital stage piano, construction, function, quality of sound, and price. 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 definately will continue to do this well in to the foreseeable future.