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The word “electronic keyboard” describes any instrument that produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, somehow, to facilitate the roll-out of that sound. Using an electronic keyboard to produce 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 such, initially created 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 sole keyboard instrument. It often failed to come with a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by utilizing the whole hand.

The subsequent appearance from the clavichord and harpsichord in the 1300’s was accelerated from the standardization from the 12-tone keyboard of white natural keys and black sharp/flat keys seen in all keyboard instruments nowadays. The popularity from the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption from the piano within the 18th century. The electric piano reviews was actually a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the quantity (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument produced by varying the force in which each key was struck.

The emergence of electronic sound technology inside the 18th century was the following essential element of the development 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 followed by the “clavecin electrique” designed by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The previous instrument consisted of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later was a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that have been activated electrically.

While being electrified, neither the Denis d’or or the clavecin used electricity as being a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented such an instrument called the “musical telegraph.,” that was, essentially, the first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray found that he could control sound coming from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, therefore invented a basic single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds through the electromagnetic oscillation of steel reeds and transmitted them over a telephone line. Grey went on to incorporate a simple loudspeaker into his later models which was made up 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 reason for 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 Clicking Here in 1915. The vacuum tube became an important component of electronic instruments for the following half a century till the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.

The decade of the 1920’s brought an abundance of new electronic instruments on the scene such as the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.

The next major breakthrough within the background of electronic keyboards came in 1935 with the introduction of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the initial electronic instrument competent at producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so till the invention from the Chamberlin Music Maker, and the Mellotron within 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 within the 1940’s with all the “Pre-Piano” by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). It was a three along with 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.”

An upswing of music synthesizers within the 1960’s gave an effective push towards the evolution from the electronic musical keyboards we have now 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 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 a digital keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his “Minimoog,” a non-modular synthesizer using a built in keyboard, which instrument further standardized the appearance of electronic musical keyboards.

Most early analog synthesizers, like the Minimoog and also the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, competent at producing only one tone at any given time. Several, including the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones simultaneously when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the production of multiple simultaneous tones which permit for the 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 appearance 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 make use of a microprocessor as a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to be saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing some control. The Prophet-5’s design soon took over as 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 become connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in all elements of their explanation, construction, function, quality of sound, and expense. Today’s manufactures, such as Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are producing a good amount of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and will continue to do this well into the near future.