Keyboard instrument

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A musical keyboard

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.

The ways in which the sound is made varies a lot:

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the word Clavier was used in Germany to mean any kind of keyboard instrument. Often, the naturals were black and the sharps and flats were white (see picture of harpsichord), but the layout was exactly the same.

A modern harpsichord with two manuals (keyboards). It is a copy of a Baroque instrument.

The development of electronic instruments in the 20th century has brought about many different types of electronic keyboard instruments. These include the ondes Martenot[1] and the synthesizer.

Nowadays, people often talk about a keyboard meaning an electronic keyboard (e.g. “He plays the keyboard”). The plural form of the word is "keyboards".

Yamaha have now made the most successful keyboards, selling over 770,000 a year

Types of keyboards[change | change source]

Keyboard types include:

  • Arranger keyboards
  • Digital workstation keyboard

Arranger keyboard[change | change source]

Arrangers are mainly aimed at performers. Arrangers are mainly identified by their automatic accompaniment styles. They are used widely by musicians who perform by their own, more like a one-man band. Arrangers offer extensive libraries containing prerecorded accompaniment tracks in nearly every music style imaginable. The instrument can support their singing with onboard effects, vocal harmony, and lyric display while providing MIDI and/or audio file playback. Music played by the keyboardist can often be recorded and saved into a memory bank. Arrangers also help in writing songs and can provide realistic drum styles that match with the tempo and style the musician developed.

The top seller for arrangers include Yamaha and Korg which are used by many keyboardist worldwide.

Workstation keyboard[change | change source]

A keyboard workstation is a keyboard that is used to change the features of a variety of sounds on a keyboard. Workstation allows one to create new voices using filters, effects and modulations. It also allows for mixing sounds.

Top brands for these are Nord, Yamaha, Korg, Casio which are used by many keyboardists worldwide.

References[change | change source]

  1. "ondes Martenot". Thomas Bloch. Retrieved 1 January 2017.