A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument played using a keyboard, a row of levers which are pressed by the fingers. The most common of these are the piano, organ, and various electronic keyboards, including synthesizers and digital pianos.
A keyboard instrument is an instrument that is played by pressing the keys of a keyboard. In a keyboard, the notes are arranged with naturals (usually white notes) forming the main body of the keyboard, and sharps and flats (usually black notes) placed in cuttings into the upper half of the naturals.
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- Size and historical variation
- Playing techniques
- Other uses
- Keyboards with alternative sets of keys
A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument. Keyboards typically contain keys for playing the twelve notes of the Western musical scale, with a combination of larger, longer keys and smaller, shorter keys that repeats at the interval of an octave. Depressing a key on the keyboard makes the instrument produce sounds—either by mechanically striking a string or tine, plucking a string, causing air to flow through a pipe organ, striking a bell...
The twelve notes of the Western musical scale are laid out with the lowest note on the left; The longer keys jut forward. Because these keys were traditionally covered in ivory they are often called the white notes or white keys. The keys for the remaining five notes—which are not part of the C major scale— are raised and shorter. Because these keys receive less wear, they are often made of black colored wood and called the black notes or black keys. The pattern repeats at the interval ...
The chromatic range of keyboard instruments has tended to increase. Harpsichords often extended over five octaves in the 18th century, while most pianos manufactured since about 1870 have 88 keys. The lowest pitch of an 88-key piano is equivalent to a sub contrabass in the range name. Some modern pianos have even more notes. While modern synthesizer keyboards commonly have either 61, 76 or 88 keys, small MIDI controllers are available with 25 notes. Organs normally have 61 keys per manual, thoug
Despite their visual similarity, different keyboard instrument types require different techniques. The piano hammer mechanism produces a louder note the faster the key is pressed, while the harpsichord's plectrum mechanism does not perceptibly vary the volume of the note with different touch on the keyboard. The pipe organ's volume and timbre are controlled by the flow of air from the bellows and the stops preselected by the player. Players of these instruments therefore use different techniques
A number of percussion instruments—such as the xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, or glockenspiel— have pitched elements arranged in the keyboard layout. Rather than depress a key, the performer typically strikes each element with a mallet. There are some examples of a musical keyboard layout used for non-musical devices. For example, some of the earliest printing telegraph machines used a layout similar to a piano keyboard.
There are some rare variations of keyboards with more or fewer than 12 keys per octave, mostly used in microtonal music, after the discoveries and theoretical developments of musician and inventor Julián Carrillo. Some free-reed instrument keyboards such as accordions and Indian harmoniums include microtones. Electronic music pioneer Pauline Oliveros played one of these. Egyptian belly-dance musicians like Hassam Ramzy use custom-tuned accordions so they can play traditional scales. The ...
An electronic keyboard, portable keyboard, or digital keyboard is an electronic musical instrument, an electronic or digital derivative of keyboard instruments. Broadly speaking, the term electronic keyboard or just a keyboard can refer to any type of digital or electronic keyboard instrument.
The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical musical instrument developed in Birmingham, England, in 1963. It evolved from the similar Chamberlin , but could be mass-produced more efficiently. The instrument is played by pressing its keys, each of which pushes a length of magnetic tape against a capstan , which pulls it across a playback head.
- 1963 (Mk I), 1964 (Mk II), 1968 (M300), 1970 (M400), 2007 (M4000)
- Bradmatic/Mellotronics (1963–70), Streetly Electronics (1970–86, 2007–present)
- Audio tape
There are many instruments that have some claim to being percussion, but are classified otherwise: Keyboard instruments such as the celesta and piano. Stringed instruments played with beaters such as the hammered dulcimer. Unpitched whistles and similar instruments, such as the pea whistle and Acme siren.
Cristofori named the instrument un cimbalo di cipresso di piano e forte ("a keyboard of cypress with soft and loud"), abbreviated over time as pianoforte, fortepiano, and later, simply, piano. Cristofori's great success was designing a stringed keyboard instrument in which the notes are struck by a hammer.
A MIDI instrument can also be a stand-alone module (without a piano style keyboard) consisting of a General MIDI soundboard (GM, GS and XG), onboard editing, including transposing/pitch changes, MIDI instrument changes and adjusting volume, pan, reverb levels and other MIDI controllers.
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument played using a keyboard, a row of levers which are pressed by the fingers. The most common of these are the piano, organ, and various electronic...