The phrase “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument which produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, somehow, to facilitate the roll-out of that sound. The usage of a digital keyboard to generate 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 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 up until the 14th century, the organ remained the only real keyboard instrument. 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 in the 1300’s was accelerated by the standardization of the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys found in all keyboard instruments of today. The popularity in the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption of the piano within the 18th century. The try here was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards since a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of 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 initial 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 first kind instrument was comprised of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to improve their sonic qualities. The later was 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 as a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this kind of instrument referred to as “musical telegraph.,” that was, essentially, the first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray learned that he could control sound coming from a 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 continued 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 cause of 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 initial vacuum tube instrument, the best digital pianos with weighted keys in 1915. The vacuum tube became an essential 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 wealth of new electronic instruments onto the scene such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, as well as the Trautonium.
Another major breakthrough inside the history of electronic keyboards arrived in 1935 with the introduction of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the very first electronic instrument capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, and also 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 inside the 1940’s with all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This was a 3 and a half octave instrument produced from 1946 until 1948 that came built with self-amplification. In 1955 the Wurlitzer Company debuted their first electric piano, “The 100.”
The increase of music synthesizers within the 1960’s gave a powerful push to the evolution of the electronic musical keyboards we now have today. The very 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 competent at 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 having a built in keyboard, which instrument further standardized the appearance of electronic musical keyboards.
Most early analog synthesizers, including the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, able to producing just one single tone at a time. Several, including the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at the same time when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (producing multiple simultaneous tones that allow for that playing of chords) qhscvn only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There have been 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 look 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 one to use a microprocessor as a controller, as well as allowed all knob settings to get saved in computer memory and recalled by just pushing a control button. The Prophet-5’s design soon had become the new standard inside the electronic keyboards industry.
The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) as the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to be connected into computers along with other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in every facets of digitale piano, construction, function, sound quality, and cost. 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 so well in to the foreseeable future.