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The word "electronic keyboard" refers to any instrument that produces sound by thepressing or striking of keys, and uses electricity, in some manner, to facilitate the creation of that sound. Using digital stage piano to create music follows an inevitable evolutionary line from the 1st musical keyboard instruments, the pipe organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The pipe organ is definitely the oldest of such, initially designed by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C., and known as the hydraulis. The hydraulis produced sound by forcing air through reed pipes, and was powered by means of a manual water pump or perhaps a natural water source such as a waterfall.

From it's first manifestation in ancient Rome till 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 which were operated using the whole hand.

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

The emergence of electronic sound technology within the 18th century was the next essential step in the creation of the current electronic keyboard. The very first electrified musical instrument was thought to be 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 made up of over 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. The later had been a keyboard instrument featuring plectra, or picks, that have been activated electrically.

While being electrified, neither the Denis d'or or perhaps the clavecin used electricity as a sound source. In 1876, Elisha Gray invented this kind of instrument known as the "musical telegraph.," that was, essentially, the 1st electric baby grand piano. Gray found that he could control sound from the self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit, therefore invented a fundamental 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 include an easy 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 reason for the development 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 "Audion Piano," in 1915. The vacuum tube became a necessary part 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 on the scene like the Theremin, the Ondes Martenot, and also the Trautonium.

The following major breakthrough in the background of electronic keyboards started in 1935 with the development of the Hammond Organ. The Hammond was the first electronic instrument able to producing polyphonic sounds, and remained so until the invention of the Chamberlin Music Maker, and the Mellotron inside the late 1940's and early 1950's. The Chamberlin as well as the Mellotron were the initial 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 is a three along with a half octave instrument made 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 in the 1960's gave an effective push towards the evolution in the electronic musical keyboards we have now 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 creation of synthesizers that have been self-contained, portable instruments able to 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 an electronic keyboard. Then, in 1970, Moog debuted his "Minimoog," a non-modular synthesizer having a built-in keyboard, and this instrument further standardized the design of electronic musical keyboards.

Most early analog synthesizers, like the Minimoog as well as the Roland SH-100, were monophonic, capable of producing just one tone at the same time. A few, such as the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, as well as the Moog Sonic Six, could produce two different tones at once when two keys were pressed. True polyphony (producing multiple simultaneous tones which permit for your playing of chords) was only obtainable, in the beginning, using electronic organ designs. There was 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 appearance of polyphonic synthesizers such as the Oberheim Four-Voice, as well as 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 being a controller, and also allowed all knob settings to be saved in computer memory and recalled by just pushing a control button. The Prophet-5's design soon had become the new standard in the electronic keyboards industry.

The adoption of Musical Instrumental Digital Interface (MIDI) since the standard for digital code transmission (allowing electronic keyboards to get connected into computers as well as other devices for input and programming), and also the ongoing digital piano weighted keys have produced tremendous advancements in every aspects of electronic keyboard design, construction, function, sound quality, and expense. Today's manufactures, including Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil, are now producing a great deal of well-built, lightweight, versatile, great sounding, and affordable electronic keyboard musical instruments and will continue to accomplish this well to the near future.

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