Music Instruments

What Are Musical Keyboard Instruments?


In the early 1980s, computers were launched as a new era of technological advancement prevailed. The electronic musical keyboard instruments are a product to this computer revolution that took place back in the 80s. A traditional piano may be no match for electronic musical keyboard instruments. It has the tendency to mimic any traditional piano. Not just that, it can even play more than a hundred sounds of other different instruments and sound effects. Technology advanced, so did the new era of computers, making them even more sophisticated. Along with computers, so did these electronic keyboards until a time came when these were totally indistinguishable from any traditional piano. The more advanced an electronic keyboard became, the more features were added to it making it even more appealing.

Historical Background

If we go back into the history of keyboards, they were first built during World War II. Harold Rhodes, a successful music teacher, built out a keyboard so as to entertain all wounded servicemen. Eventually he developed a standard 88-key electric piano. The first one he built was a 29-note keyboard. The 88-key piano was sold to Roland, a Japanese synthesizer company in the year 1987.

Yamaha, in the mid of 80s, began selling digital keyboards. As of today, Yamaha remains one of the leading and dominant piano makers across the globe.

MIDI Importance

MIDI protocol was publically released in the year 1983. MIDI, also known as musical instrument digital interface, with the release of its protocol made the manufacturing of small digital keyboards possible and it also made these digital keyboards quite inexpensive for home users to buy.

Functionalities & Cost

Digital musical keyboard instruments can cost from a mere couple hundred dollars to some thousand dollars. It all depends on their size, the number of their keys, gadgets and features, sound approximation and how much look and feel it gives away of a traditional piano. There is a slight difference between a digital and an electronic musical keyboard instruments. Digital keyboards tend to be a bit expensive in comparison to electronic keyboards. Also, digital keyboards have less added features and options. Any person who would like to have an acoustic piano experience, along with the convenience of portability and headphone privacy will go for a digital keyboard which will do just find for him. Electronic keyboards, on the other hand, have hundreds and thousands of features and options. It even has the ability to connect directly with a home desktop system.

Digital pianos can create sounds just like a traditional hammer piano, but even then, jazz ensembles and orchestras still continue preferring the traditional piano over these digital keyboards. However, much jazz and popular music cannot do away without digital musical keyboard instruments. The much reliance on the digital keyboard is because of the many effects they need to create in the music with them. The digital keyboards can even be used for on-the-spot music mixing. There are a number of people who use digital keyboards to become a one-person rock and in some cases, symphonic bands.

By Bob Meadow, published at 04/04/2012
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