Electronic Keyboards – Their History and Development

The term "electronic keyboard" refers to any instrument that produces sound by the pressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some way, to facilitate the creation of that sound. The use of an electronic keyboard to produce music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the very first musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is the oldest of these, initially developed by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, 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 such as a waterfall.

From it's first manifestation in ancient Rome until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. It often did not feature a keyboard at all, instead utilizing large levers or buttons that were operated by using the whole hand.

The subsequent appearance of 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 of the clavichord and harpsichord was eventually eclipsed by the development and widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century. The piano was a revolutionary advancement in acoustic musical keyboards because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound the instrument produced by varying the force with which each key was struck.

The emergence of electronic sound technology in the 18th century was the next essential step in the development of the modern electronic keyboard. The first electrified musical instrument was thought to be the Denis d'or (built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis), dating from about 1753. This was shortly followed by the "clavecin electrique" invented by Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde around 1760. The former instrument consisted of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance 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 the clavecin used electricity as a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented such an instrument called the "musical telegraph.," Which was, essentially, the very first analog electronic synthesizer. Gray discovered that he could control sound from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, and so invented a basic single note oscillator. His musical telegraph created sounds from 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 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 next major contributor to the development 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 first vacuum tube instrument, the "Audion Piano," in 1915. The vacuum tube became an essential component of electronic instruments for the next 50 years until the emergence and widespread adoption of transistor technology.

The decade of the 1920's brought a wealth of new electronic instruments onto the scene including the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and the Trautonium.

The next 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 capable of producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, and the Mellotron in the late 1940's and early 1950's. The Chamberlin and the Mellotron were the first ever sample-playback keyboards intended for making music.

The electronic piano made it's first appearance in the 1940's with the "Pre-Piano" by Rhodes (later Fender Rhodes). This 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."

The rise of music synthesizers in the 1960's gave a powerful push to the evolution of the electronic musical keyboards we have 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 being used in live performances.

This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his "Moog Synthesizer." Lacking a keyboard, the Moog Synthesizer was not truly an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his "Minimoog," a non-modular synthesizer with a built-in keyboard, and this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.

Most early analog synthesizers, such as the Minimoog and the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing only one tone at a time. A few, such as the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at once when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (the production of multiple simultaneous tones which allow for the playing of chords) was only obtainable, at first, using electronic organ designs. There were a number of electronic keyboards produced which combined organ circuits with synthesizer processing. These included Moog's Polymoog, Opus 3, and the ARP Omni.

By 1976, additional design advancements had allowed the appearance of polyphonic synthesizers such as the Oberheim Four-Voice, and 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 use a microprocessor as a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to be saved in computer memory and recalled by simply pushing a 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 be connected into computers and other devices for input and programming), and the ongoing digital technological revolution have produced tremendous advancements in all aspects of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and cost. Today's manufactures, such as 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 into the foreseeable future .

Filed under: general Tagged with: , . - permalink.

32 Responses to Electronic Keyboards – Their History and Development

  1. Tixronald says:

    Brug evt
    1 pund i dkk hvis du ikke kan omregne i hovedet eller ikke kender kursen 🙂

  2. Robertpoisk says:

    Ripping Creative Audio! Listen: a Hardcore DJ mix

  3. Michlchapall says:

    Дома есть интернет, продайте часть своего трафика и получи деньги через 15 – 20 мин!Подробнее….

  4. Sabrielref says:

    Настройка xRumer 16 при первом запуске. Видеоурок №1: https://youtu.be/LFngR0NqvTE

  5. SandraPum says:

    Лицензионный магазин цифровых товаров http://coolkey.ru можно приобрести по оптимальной цене ключи к Steam,Minecraft,Uplay,Origin играм, а так же уже готовые аккаунты!

  6. SandirPum says:

    http://wmplati.com – Лучший магазин лицензионных игр Steam,Origin,Uplay,Minecraft и многое другое.

  7. birkin bag says:

    I have to express appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this particular crisis. Right after surfing around through the the net and getting advice that were not beneficial, I believed my life was over. Living devoid of the strategies to the issues you have fixed as a result of your good review is a critical case, and the ones that could have adversely affected my entire career if I hadn’t discovered the blog. Your personal know-how and kindness in touching the whole thing was precious. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not come across such a subject like this. I am able to at this point relish my future. Thanks very much for this expert and effective guide. I will not be reluctant to recommend your blog post to any individual who desires recommendations about this subject matter.

  8. yeezys says:

    After research a number of of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I really like your method of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website checklist and will probably be checking back soon. Pls take a look at my site as well and let me know what you think.

  9. adidas neo says:

    I am only commenting to let you be aware of what a really good encounter my friend’s girl encountered viewing your web site. She mastered a good number of issues, most notably how it is like to possess a very effective teaching mood to make most people clearly learn about specified multifaceted subject areas. You really exceeded visitors’ expected results. Many thanks for coming up with those warm and friendly, trusted, revealing as well as cool guidance on this topic to Sandra.

  10. I am glad for commenting to let you be aware of of the exceptional discovery my daughter went through checking your webblog. She came to understand some issues, with the inclusion of how it is like to possess an ideal giving heart to get the others with no trouble gain knowledge of certain tortuous matters. You really surpassed my expectations. I appreciate you for delivering those effective, dependable, educational and easy guidance on this topic to Tanya.

  11. adidas nmd says:

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thanks Nevertheless I’m experiencing issue with ur rss . Don抰 know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss drawback? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  12. yeezy shoes says:

    Thank you for your whole hard work on this web page. My mother really likes working on investigations and it’s easy to see why. A lot of people know all of the dynamic medium you convey useful ideas on your web blog and in addition improve contribution from other people on that article then our girl has been discovering a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You’re doing a fabulous job.

  13. There are some fascinating deadlines on this article but I don抰 know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as properly

  14. I simply wanted to develop a quick comment so as to thank you for some of the nice advice you are giving out at this site. My considerable internet lookup has now been rewarded with beneficial ideas to go over with my family members. I ‘d say that we visitors are quite fortunate to be in a very good website with many special individuals with useful opinions. I feel somewhat grateful to have seen your entire web page and look forward to tons of more awesome times reading here. Thank you once more for a lot of things.

  15. I must show some appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this condition. After exploring through the world-wide-web and coming across ideas which are not productive, I believed my entire life was well over. Living without the answers to the problems you’ve solved by means of the posting is a serious case, and the kind which could have badly affected my career if I hadn’t come across your site. Your actual expertise and kindness in taking care of all things was excellent. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a thing like this. I am able to at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot very much for the specialized and amazing help. I will not think twice to suggest the website to anybody who should get counselling on this topic.

  16. Thank you for each of your work on this site. Gloria really loves going through investigations and it’s really easy to understand why. A lot of people learn all about the dynamic medium you render functional suggestions by means of your blog and in addition foster participation from people on that issue then our princess is without question discovering a lot of things. Have fun with the rest of the new year. You’re performing a really good job.

  17. I as well as my pals appeared to be going through the great tricks from your web site then the sudden got a horrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the website owner for those strategies. The guys are actually so thrilled to read through all of them and have in effect without a doubt been taking advantage of them. Many thanks for getting so thoughtful and for using this sort of amazing subject matter millions of individuals are really wanting to understand about. Our own honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

  18. I precisely wanted to thank you so much again. I am not sure the things I might have accomplished without the type of tips and hints documented by you on that industry. It had become a real frightening matter in my opinion, nevertheless spending time with your professional mode you processed that forced me to weep with delight. Now i am grateful for your work and in addition trust you realize what a powerful job you happen to be undertaking teaching men and women through the use of your web site. Most likely you haven’t got to know any of us.

  19. I truly wanted to construct a simple comment so as to express gratitude to you for all the fabulous suggestions you are giving here. My incredibly long internet lookup has now been recognized with reputable concept to go over with my colleagues. I ‘d tell you that we readers actually are very endowed to live in a very good network with very many lovely people with insightful basics. I feel rather lucky to have discovered your web site and look forward to really more awesome times reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  20. foamposites says:

    I wanted to write you the little bit of remark just to say thanks again with the marvelous thoughts you’ve provided in this case. This has been quite open-handed with people like you in giving publicly just what a lot of people could have distributed for an ebook in making some profit for themselves, precisely seeing that you could have done it in the event you decided. Those tips in addition worked to be the great way to fully grasp that the rest have the identical dreams the same as my personal own to learn good deal more in respect of this matter. Certainly there are some more fun sessions up front for many who examine your blog.

  21. adidas yeezy says:

    A lot of thanks for all of your hard work on this web page. Kate loves engaging in investigation and it’s easy to understand why. I hear all regarding the lively tactic you convey precious tips through the web site and even recommend response from other people on this matter and our favorite child is now studying a whole lot. Enjoy the rest of the year. You have been carrying out a very good job.

  22. I needed to compose you a bit of remark in order to give thanks once again with the great secrets you have documented at this time. It’s certainly pretty generous of you to provide freely what exactly some people could have distributed as an electronic book in order to make some profit for themselves, primarily seeing that you might have done it in the event you desired. These tips as well served to become a good way to be sure that someone else have a similar desire just as my personal own to realize more when considering this problem. I’m sure there are thousands of more pleasurable periods up front for people who go through your blog post.

  23. Thank you for every one of your work on this website. Kim delights in conducting internet research and it’s really easy to understand why. Many of us notice all relating to the powerful way you give functional solutions via the web site and recommend participation from other individuals on the concept plus our own girl is now understanding a lot of things. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one performing a dazzling job.

  24. My wife and i have been so excited Louis managed to carry out his investigation through your precious recommendations he discovered from your site. It’s not at all simplistic to just continually be freely giving methods some people might have been selling. And we already know we need the blog owner to appreciate for that. The main explanations you have made, the easy blog navigation, the relationships you make it possible to instill – it’s all astounding, and it’s really facilitating our son in addition to the family reckon that the idea is pleasurable, which is certainly seriously fundamental. Many thanks for all!

  25. golden goose says:

    I happen to be commenting to let you understand what a really good discovery my princess experienced browsing your site. She learned many pieces, most notably how it is like to possess a great coaching mood to let other people clearly thoroughly grasp a number of extremely tough things. You really did more than visitors’ expected results. I appreciate you for offering such interesting, safe, informative and as well as cool thoughts on your topic to Gloria.

  26. Thanks so much for giving everyone a very brilliant possiblity to check tips from this site. It’s usually so superb and stuffed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office friends to search your website the equivalent of three times a week to read the new guidance you have got. And lastly, I am just certainly impressed for the stunning creative ideas served by you. Some 3 points in this article are rather the best we have ever had.

  27. adidas yeezy says:

    I simply wanted to construct a small word so as to express gratitude to you for all of the fantastic facts you are giving on this website. My extensive internet research has at the end of the day been compensated with really good concept to go over with my guests. I ‘d claim that most of us website visitors are unquestionably fortunate to be in a great site with many outstanding people with good guidelines. I feel very fortunate to have come across your weblog and look forward to tons of more thrilling times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published.