Keyboard Instruments

Electric pianos that utilized short strings, metal reeds, tines, or tone bars were used instead of long strings, were introduced in the 1940s. The vibrations were turned into electrical signals by pickups, and then sent to an amplifier. Electric grand pianos, which used short, real piano strings, were introduced by Yamaha in the late 1970s. In 1983, Yamaha introduced the first digital keyboard.

The keyboard also originated from the organ, which is a mechanical set of panpipes in which the air flow is produced by bellows which are controlled by the keyboard. Electric organs first appeared in the 1940s, and by the 1960s and 1970s the electronic organ was the instrument of choice in the keyboard market.
The first organ incorporating drum machines was also introduced in the 1970’s. Full accompaniment sections, which allowed entire orchestrations to be played as notes on the keyboard. Original organs used analog technology, but when pianos went digital, so did organs! This meant that electronic keyboards could sound like any instrument. During the 1980s, as electronic circuitry became more compact, portable modern music keyboards were introduced.

The days of playing the piano are long gone, now a days; keyboards are the way to go. They provide the same benefits and pure sound of a full sized piano or Grand piano along with extra sounds and instruments that can make anyone who is willing to learn into one person keyboard band. Keyboard instruments therefore describe the range of sounds that electronic keyboards are now able to produce through various settings.

The following is a list of keyboard instruments categorized by type:

Chordophones (musical instrument which makes sound by way of a vibrating string or strings stretched between two points)

  • Clavichord
  • Electric piano
  • Clavinet
  • Pianet
  • Rhodes piano
  • Wurlitzer electric piano
  • Harpsichord
  • Spinet
  • Virginal
  • Piano
  • Fortepiano
  • Tangent piano
  • Bowed clavier
  • Hurdy gurdy

Aerophones (any musical instrument which produces sound primarily by causing a body of air to vibrate)

  • Accordion
  • Harmonium/Reed organ
  • Melodeon
  • Melodica
  • Pipe organ

Idiophones are instruments that are made from materials that have their own unique sounds–ceramics, glass, metal, or wood all create different vibrations.

  • Carillon
  • Celesta
  • Glasschord
  • Dulcitone
  • Toy piano

Electrophones (electronic version of instruments)

  • Digital piano
  • Electronic keyboard
  • Electronic organ
  • Electronic piano
  • Keytar
  • Mellotron
  • Optigan
  • Synthesizer

Due to this range of instruments as well as the capability of high end keyboards to be able to record a combination of instruments and save the sounds which can be tweaked and replayed later. This helps with compositions that could be costly if for example someone were to hire a harpsichord player. The instruments can also combine instruments that are not normally used together to create unique melodies. Keyboards can also be connected to a computer and music for each instrument transcribed directly to sheet form as they are played. These conveniences continue to make keyboards the popular choice for emerging and seasoned musicians alike.