The phrase “electronic keyboard” refers to any instrument which produces sound from the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some manner, to facilitate the roll-out of that sound. Using a digital keyboard to produce music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the 1st musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ will be the oldest of such, initially developed by the Romans inside 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 a natural water source like a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome until the 14th century, the organ remained the grand piano keyboard. Many times, it failed to feature a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that have been operated by using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord within the 1300’s was accelerated by the standardization in the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys present in all keyboard instruments these days. The buzz from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed through the development and widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century. The piano was actually a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the quantity (or dynamics) in the sound the instrument made by varying the force that each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was another essential part of the growth of the modern 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. It was shortly followed by the “clavecin electrique” invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The first kind instrument consisted of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to boost their sonic qualities. The later was best electric piano weighted keys featuring plectra, or picks, that 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 referred to as “musical telegraph.,” which was, essentially, the very first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray found that he could control sound coming from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, therefore invented a fundamental single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds through the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them spanning a telephone line. Grey proceeded to add an easy 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 the next major contributor to 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 first vacuum tube instrument, the “Audion Piano,” in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary component of electronic instruments for the following 50 years until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade from the 1920’s brought a great deal of new electronic instruments to the scene such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and also the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough in the history of electronic keyboards came in 1935 with the introduction 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, and the Mellotron inside the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and the Mellotron were the first ever sample-playback keyboards meant for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance inside the 1940’s with all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). It was a three 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.”
An upswing of music synthesizers in the 1960’s gave a strong push to the evolution from the electronic musical keyboards we now have 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 production of synthesizers that were self-contained, portable instruments competent at 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 using a built-in keyboard, and also this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, such as the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing only one tone at a time. A couple of, like 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 (the production of multiple simultaneous tones that allow for your dofrdp of chords) was only 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, 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 to make use of a microprocessor as a controller, and in addition allowed all knob settings to get 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) since the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to become connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), as well as the ongoing full size digital piano have produced tremendous advancements in every facets of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and cost. 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 accomplish this well to the near future..