A Brief History of Electronic Keyboards

Electronic keyboards, also known as a synthesizer, is a musical instrument that uses a wide range of sounds and tones. It is the most popular modern keyboard instrument. How did this amazing invention evolve?

In this article, we will explore the history of electronic keyboards from its humble beginnings to the advancements in technology. We will talk about some of the most famous pianists who have used the keyboard as their main instrument and how it has been incorporated into popular culture throughout time.

Be prepared to learn how you can explore all types of sounds with an electronic keyboard!

The Origins of the Keyboard

The first keyboards were developed in the late 1700s. They were called pianos and they were made up of strings that sounded when the keys were pressed.

The word “piano” is short for “pianoforte,” which means “soft-loud.” This was because the pianos had a softer sound than other instruments at the time, so they could not play loud or high notes.

At this time, there was no electricity to power the pianos, so musicians would have to have someone else turn on their piano for them by hand each time they wanted to play it.

Around 1876, Thomas Edison invented an electric generator. Electric generators are what we use today to power our electronic keyboards. There are still some people who use acoustic keyboards that need to be powered by hand instead of electronically because it gives them a different sound quality.

The Early Years

The earliest predecessors of the electronic keyboard were the electric organ and the electric harpsichord. The electric organ was invented in 1876 by Elisha Gray, who at the time was a draftsman for the Western Union Telegraph Company. He named it the “harmonic telegraph” and it made its debut at Boston Music Hall on March 3, 1877.

The first public performance took place at a church in New York City on September 9th, 1877. It used a system of pedals to activate melodies and chords and could be heard over a mile away from where it was played.

The first electric harpsichord came out in 1889 and was invented by Johann Nepomuk Maelzel. It used similar technology as an acoustic harpsichord but had an additional keyboard that used electromagnets to produce sounds.

It wasn’t until 1920, when Leon Theremin invented the theremin, that synthesizers as we know them today became possible. Leon Theremin created his instrument after hearing about how Thomas Edison’s phonograph could play piano music without anyone touching it. He wanted to create an instrument that could do that as well but with sound waves instead of vibrations from a stylus or needle.

The Modern Day Electro-Theremin

If you’re looking for a modern day electronic keyboard, then the theremin might be what you’re searching for. It was invented in the 1920s and is a musical instrument with two metal antennas that control pitch and volume. The signal can be processed with electronic filters, which gives it its distinctive sound.

The theremin has been used in many popular films such as Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Day the Earth Stood Still.

It’s also been used by famous musicians such as Jimmy Page and Robert Fripp.

This article will explore how this device evolved from its beginnings to its more recent forms throughout time and the different ways that the instrument has been used throughout popular culture.

The Moog Synthesizer

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The Moog synthesizer is one of the most popular types of synthesizers. It was enthralling to see how this incredible invention evolved over time.

Robert Moog designed his first synthesizer in 1964. It was called the “Moog Synthesizer”. He began experimenting with sound waves and frequency. His goal was to create a new instrument that would be able to produce different types of sounds without the need for many musicians.

This inventor’s dream came true when he created his revolutionary piece of equipment, which also became known as an electronic keyboard.

His first model had a keyboard with a range of twenty keys, two oscillators, and a control panel with a knob for controlling volume and pitch, among other things.

It was revolutionary because it could produce more than one sound at a time by combining these three factors:

-Oscillators produce periodic waves that are used as the basis for all sound that is produced on the keyboard

-There were multiple filters that controlled the frequencies or ranges of frequencies that were being played

-Keyboard controls allowed users to change the volume and pitch

What is a Synthesizer?

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A synthesizer is a musical instrument that produces electronic sounds. In other words, it makes music electronically.

The keyboard doesn’t have any strings or hammers to produce the sounds since it is electronic. There are many types of synthesizers with different features and capabilities. The most popular type, by far, is the analog synthesizer which consists of a set of oscillators and amplifiers which generate a wide range of sounds and tones.

How Electronic Keyboards Changed Pop Music

An electronic keyboard is an instrument that is played by pressing buttons, which triggers different tones. It has the capability to play a wide range of sounds and tones.

It wasn’t until the 1930s when the first electronic keyboard was invented. The invention of this device gave musicians freedom with their music.

The most famous name in pop music, Michael Jackson, used an electronic keyboard for his single “Thriller” in 1983. This provided the opportunity for him to experiment with different sounds and musical techniques that would have been difficult on acoustic instruments like drums or guitars.

Additionally, artists like Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie helped popularize the use of keyboards in pop music in the 1980s. They were able to create new sounds that had never been heard before with just one instrument.

Some of the most iconic songs in popular culture are known because they were played on an electric keyboard, including “Don McLean’s American Pie” and “Despacito”.


Electronic keyboards have been a part of music since the 1940s, when the theremin was the first electronic instrument to be controlled with electronic waves. Since then, it has transformed into an instrument that is played by digital technology, which has had a huge impact on popular music.

The invention of the synthesizer in the 1970s furthered the development of electronic keyboards, and today, there are many models of keyboards that are used in both the recording studio and on stage.

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