The phrase “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument which produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, somehow, to facilitate the development of that sound. The usage of an electronic keyboard to generate music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of such, initially designed 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 through a manual water pump or a natural water source such as a waterfall.
From it’s first manifestation in ancient Rome until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. Many times, it did not include a keyboard in any way, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by utilizing the whole hand.
The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord inside the 1300’s was accelerated by the standardization from 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 internet was actually a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the quantity (or dynamics) from the sound the instrument created by varying the force with which each key was struck.
The emergence of electronic sound technology in the 18th century was the next essential element of the development 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. 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 boost their sonic qualities. The later had been a keyboard instrument 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 called the “musical telegraph.,” which was, essentially, the 1st analog electronic synthesizer. Gray learned that he could control sound coming from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and thus invented a basic single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from your electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them more than 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 the following major reason for the growth 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 very first vacuum tube instrument, the electric piano reviews in 1915. The vacuum tube became an important component of electronic instruments for the upcoming 50 years till the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.
The decade from the 1920’s brought a wealth of new electronic instruments on the scene like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
The following major breakthrough within the history of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the creation of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument able to producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so up until the invention in the Chamberlin Music Maker, as well as the Mellotron in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The Chamberlin as well as 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 the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This 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.”
The increase of music synthesizers in the 1960’s gave an effective push for the evolution in the electronic musical keyboards we 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 creation of synthesizers that were self-contained, portable instruments capable of being 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 having a built-in keyboard, which instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog and the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing only one tone at the same time. Several, 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 creation of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for your playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There was a number of 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 look of polyphonic synthesizers including the Oberheim Four-Voice, and 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 one to utilize a microprocessor as being a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to get saved in computer memory and recalled simply by pushing some control. The Prophet-5’s design soon had become 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 along with other devices for input and programming), as well as the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in all aspects of anchor, construction, function, audio quality, and cost. Today’s manufactures, like 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 will continue to do so well to the near future.