The term “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument that creates sound by thepressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some manner, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The use of Kawai piano to produce 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 these, initially designed by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., and called 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 like a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. It often failed to include a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated using the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord within the 1300’s was accelerated from the standardization from the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys found in all keyboard instruments nowadays. The popularity from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed through the development and widespread adoption from the piano inside the 18th century. The piano was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards just because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of 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 creation of the present day electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was regarded as the Denis d’or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This is shortly accompanied by the “clavecin electrique” introduced by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument was comprised of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to improve their sonic qualities. The later was actually a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that were activated electrically.
While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or the clavecin used electricity as a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this type of instrument called the “musical telegraph.,” which had been, essentially, the 1st weighted piano keyboard. Gray learned that he could control sound from the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and thus invented a simple single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds through the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them over a telephone line. Grey proceeded to incorporate a simple loudspeaker into his later models which consisted 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 growth 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 initial vacuum tube instrument, the “Audion Piano,” in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary part of electronic instruments for the upcoming half a century until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade of the 1920’s brought a wealth of new electronic instruments on the scene like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.
Another major breakthrough in the history of electronic keyboards came in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument competent at producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so up until the invention from the Chamberlin Music Maker, as well as the Mellotron in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin and also the Mellotron were the first ever sample-playback keyboards intended for making music.
The electronic piano made it’s first appearance inside the 1940’s using the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This is a 3 along with 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.”
The rise of music synthesizers inside the 1960’s gave an effective push for the evolution in 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 producing synthesizers which were self-contained, portable instruments capable of used in live performances.
This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his “Moog Synthesizer.” Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer had not been truly an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer using a built-in keyboard, and this instrument further standardized the style of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, competent at producing just one single tone at any given time. A few, 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 (producing multiple simultaneous tones which permit for that playing of chords) was just obtainable, at first, using electronic organ designs. There were several electronic keyboards produced which combined organ izlcdl with synthesizer processing. These included Moog’s Polymoog, Opus 3, and also the ARP Omni.
By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the look 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 utilize a microprocessor as being a controller, and in addition allowed all knob settings to become saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing a control 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 get connected into computers and other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing cheap piano keyboards have produced tremendous advancements in every elements of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and expense. Today’s manufactures, such as Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are producing a great deal 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.