Electronic keyboard
Overview
 
An electronic keyboard (also called digital keyboard, portable keyboard and home keyboard) is an electronic or digital keyboard instrument
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

.

The major components of a typical modern electronic keyboard are:
  • Musical keyboard
    Musical keyboard
    A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument, particularly the piano. 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...

    : The plastic white and black piano-style keys which the player presses, thus connecting the switches, which triggers the electronic note or other sound. Most keyboards use a keyboard matrix circuit
    Keyboard matrix (music)
    Most electronic keyboards used in synthesizers, electronic organs, and digital pianos use a keyboard matrix circuit to connect the switches for each key. In this matrix circuit, the rows and columns are made up of wiring...

     to reduce the amount of wiring that is needed.
  • User interface software: A program (usually embedded in a computer chip) which handles user interaction with control keys and menus, which allows the user to select tones (e.g., piano, organ, flute, drum kit), effects (reverb, echo, telephones or sustain), and other features (e.g., transposition, an electronic drum machine)
  • Rhythm & chord generator: A software program which produces rhythms and chords by the means of MIDI electronic commands.
  • Sound generator: An electronic sound module
    Sound module
    A sound module is an electronic musical instrument without a human-playable interface such as a keyboard, for example. Sound modules have to be "played" using an externally connected device...

     typically contained within an integrated circuit or chip, which is capable of accepting MIDI commands and producing sounds.
  • Amplifier and speaker: a low-powered audio amplifier and a small speaker that amplify the sounds so that the listener can hear them.

Electronic keyboard is combination of processes of pressing mechanical keys and producing sounds by means of electric circuitry.

In the 12th century clavichord
Clavichord
The clavichord is a European stringed keyboard instrument known from the late Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. Historically, it was widely used as a practice instrument and as an aid to composition, not being loud enough for larger performances. The clavichord produces...

 and harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

 were developed.
Encyclopedia
An electronic keyboard (also called digital keyboard, portable keyboard and home keyboard) is an electronic or digital keyboard instrument
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

.

The major components of a typical modern electronic keyboard are:
  • Musical keyboard
    Musical keyboard
    A musical keyboard is the set of adjacent depressible levers or keys on a musical instrument, particularly the piano. 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...

    : The plastic white and black piano-style keys which the player presses, thus connecting the switches, which triggers the electronic note or other sound. Most keyboards use a keyboard matrix circuit
    Keyboard matrix (music)
    Most electronic keyboards used in synthesizers, electronic organs, and digital pianos use a keyboard matrix circuit to connect the switches for each key. In this matrix circuit, the rows and columns are made up of wiring...

     to reduce the amount of wiring that is needed.
  • User interface software: A program (usually embedded in a computer chip) which handles user interaction with control keys and menus, which allows the user to select tones (e.g., piano, organ, flute, drum kit), effects (reverb, echo, telephones or sustain), and other features (e.g., transposition, an electronic drum machine)
  • Rhythm & chord generator: A software program which produces rhythms and chords by the means of MIDI electronic commands.
  • Sound generator: An electronic sound module
    Sound module
    A sound module is an electronic musical instrument without a human-playable interface such as a keyboard, for example. Sound modules have to be "played" using an externally connected device...

     typically contained within an integrated circuit or chip, which is capable of accepting MIDI commands and producing sounds.
  • Amplifier and speaker: a low-powered audio amplifier and a small speaker that amplify the sounds so that the listener can hear them.

History

Electronic keyboard is combination of processes of pressing mechanical keys and producing sounds by means of electric circuitry.

In the 12th century clavichord
Clavichord
The clavichord is a European stringed keyboard instrument known from the late Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. Historically, it was widely used as a practice instrument and as an aid to composition, not being loud enough for larger performances. The clavichord produces...

 and harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

 were developed. As technology got developed more sophisticated and standard keyboard got developed with 12-tone keyboard. In the 18th century, the piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 was adopted which allowed a new way of controlling volume by varying the force of the press.

The next step was to develop electronic sound technology. The first musical instrument was Denis d'or which was built by Vaclav Prokop Dovis in 1753. It was incorporated with 700 strings temporarily electrified to enhance their sonic qualities. In 1760 Jean Baptiste Thillaie de Laborde developed clavecin electrique. This was keyboard instrument incorporated with plectra and activated by electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

.

But both instruments was not using electricity to produce sound. Elisha Gray invented first analog electronic synthesizer called musical telegraph. It was making sound from electromagnetic circuit's vibration. He incorporated basic single note oscillator.Next he added loudspeaker consisting of diaphragm
Diaphragm
-Optics and photography:* Diaphragm , a stop in the light path of a lens, having an aperture that regulates the amount of light that passes* Diaphragm shutter, a type of leaf shutter consisting of a number of thin blades in a camera-Acoustics:...

 to make data audible.

In 1906, Lee de Forrest invented the triode
Triode
A triode is an electronic amplification device having three active electrodes. The term most commonly applies to a vacuum tube with three elements: the filament or cathode, the grid, and the plate or anode. The triode vacuum tube was the first electronic amplification device...

 electronic valve. In 1915 he invented the first vacuum tube
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

 instrument the audio piano. Then until the invention of transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

, the vacuum tube was essential component in electric instruments.

In 1935, the hammond organ
Hammond organ
The Hammond organ is an electric organ invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company. While the Hammond organ was originally sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, in the 1960s and 1970s it became a standard keyboard...

 was introduced. It was capable of producing polyphonic sounds.Next development was Chamberlin Music Maker in late 1940's and Mellotron
Mellotron
The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. It superseded the Chamberlin Music Master, which was the world's first sample-playback keyboard intended for music...

 in early 1950s.

The first step towards the electronic piano was by Rhodes with the pre-piano. It was a three and a half octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

 instrument. The next generation was capable of doing self-amplification. In 1955, the Wurlitzer Company released first electric piano ,the 100.

The invention of the musical synthesizers in the 1960's was a step ahead towards the modern keyboard. As technology became more developed, huge synthesizers evolved into portable instruments that could be used in live shows.

This began in 1964 when Bob Moog produced his moog synthesizer
Moog synthesizer
Moog synthesizer may refer to any number of analog synthesizers designed by Dr. Robert Moog or manufactured by Moog Music, and is commonly used as a generic term for older-generation analog music synthesizers. The Moog company pioneered the commercial manufacture of modular voltage-controlled...

. It did not have the same keyboard but its next generation was equipped with a built-in keyboard. The keyboard was able to produce only one tone. Some instruments such as the EML 101, ARP Odyssey, and the Moog Sonic six could produce two different tones at once when two keys were pressed. The next number of electronic keyboards produced which were combination of organ circuits and synthesizer processing. These were Moog’s Polymoog, Opus 3, and the ARP Omni.

The invention of the musical instrumental digital interface(MIDI) as a standard for digital code transmission digital technology development caused great development in keyboard technology. Manufactures such as Casio, Yamaha, Korg, Rolland, and Kurzweil are producing well built, lightweight, cheap, and clear sounding instruments.

Classification

Some manufacturers and retailers (for example: Yamaha) divide their keyboard products into the following categories:
  • Digital Pianos
    Digital piano
    A digital piano is a modern electronic musical instrument, different from the electronic keyboard, designed to serve primarily as an alternative to a traditional piano, both in the way it feels to play and in the sound produced. It is meant to provide an accurate simulation of a real piano. Some...

     - "Full-sized keyboards that sound and feel like an acoustic piano".
  • Stage Pianos
    Stage piano
    A stage piano is an electronic keyboard designed for use in live onstage performances by professional musicians. While stage pianos share some of the same features as digital pianos designed for in-home use and electronic synthesizers, they have a number of features which set them apart...

     - "Professional performance for the studio and stage".
  • Synthesizers
    Synthesizer
    A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

     - "Unlimited creative potential for any style of music".
  • Digital keyboards - "Hundreds of voices and sounds … interactive tutorials … Portable".


Compared to digital pianos or stage pianos, digital keyboards are usually much lower in cost, have unweighted keyboards but have a great many ancillary controls and usually feature on-board loudspeakers. Unlike synthesisers, the primary focus is not on detailed control of sound synthesis parameters.

Concepts and definitions

  • Auto accompaniment: Auto accompaniment is used on programmed styles to trigger specific chords that will sound when a single key is pressed on the keyboard. For example, when the auto accompaniment feature is on, and the performer presses a "C" note in the low range of the keyboard, the auto accompaniment feature will play a C Major chord. In many keyboards, the auto accompaniment feature will play the automatic chords in a rhythm and style that is appropriate for the musical style (e.g., rock, pop, hip-hop) selected by the performer. When the on-board rhythm track is turned on, the auto-chords will be played automatically in the tempo of the rhythm track.

  • Demonstration: Most keyboards have pre-programmed demo songs. As the name "demo" implies, one usage of these pre-programmed songs is for a salesperson to use to demonstrate the capabilities of the keyboard, in terms of its different voices and effects. The demo songs can also be used for entertainment and learning. Some keyboards have a teaching feature that will indicate the notes to be played on the display and wait for the player to press the right one.

  • Touch sensitivity (also found under the keyword velocity in some manuals): While the least expensive keyboards are simply "on-off" switches, mid-range and higher-range instruments simulate the process of sound generation in chordophone
    Chordophone
    A chordophone is any musical instrument that makes sound by way of a vibrating string or strings stretched between two points. It is one of the four main divisions of instruments in the original Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification....

    s (string instruments) which are sensitive to the pressure (or "hardness") of a key press. Mid-range instruments may only have two or three levels of sensitivity (e.g., soft-medium-loud). More expensive models may have a broader range of sensitivity. For implementation, two sensors are installed for each key: the first sensor detects when a key is beginning to be pressed and the other triggers when the key is pressed completely. On some higher-end electronic keyboards or digital pianos, a third sensor is installed. This third sensor allows the player to strike a key and still sound a note even when the key has not yet come to its full resting position, allowing for faster (and more accurate) playing of repeated notes. The time between the two (or three) signals allows a keyboard to determine the velocity with which the key was struck. As the key weight is constant this velocity can be considered as the strength of the press. Based on this value the sound generator produces a correspondingly loud or soft sound. The least sophisticated types of touch sensitivity cause the keyboard to change the volume of the instrument voice. The most sophisticated, expensive types will trigger both a change in volume and a change in timbre, which simulates the way that very hard strikes of a piano or electric piano cause a difference in tone--as well as an increase in volume. Some sophisticated touch-sensitivity systems accomplish this by having several samples of an acoustic instrument note per key (e.g., a soft strike, a mid-level strike, and a hard strike). Alternatively, a similar effect can be accomplished using synthesis-modelling of the ASDR envelope or digital modelling (e.g., for the hard strike, the keyboard would add the timbres associated with a hard strike--in the case of a Fender Rhodes voice, this would be a biting, "bark" sound.

  • After-touch: A feature brought in the late 1980s (although synthesizers like the CS-80
    Yamaha CS-80
    The Yamaha CS-80 was a polyphonic analog synthesizer released in 1977. It supports true 8-voice polyphony as well as a primitive settings memory based on a bank of micropotentiometers , and exceptionally complete performer expression features, such...

     extensively used by artists like Vangelis
    Vangelis
    Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou is a Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock and orchestral music, under the artist name Vangelis...

     featured after-touch as early as 1977) whereby dynamics are added after the key is hit, allowing the sound to be modulated in some way (such as fade away or return), based upon the amount of pressure applied to the keyboard. For example, in some synth voices, if the key continues to be pressed hard after the initial note has been sounded, the keyboard will add and effect such as vibrato or sustain. After-touch is found on many mid-range and high-range synthesizers, and is an important modulation source on modern keyboards. After-touch is most prevalent in music of the mid to late 1980s, such as the opening string-pad on Cock Robin's
    Cock Robin (band)
    Cock Robin is an American pop rock band, mostly popular in the 1980s, particularly in continental Europe where they became famous. The band was founded by singer-songwriter Peter Kingsbery in 1982, disbanded in 1990, and reformed in 2006.-History:...

     When Your Heart Is Weak, which is only possible with the use of after-touch (or one hand on the volume control). After-touch is not normally found on inexpensive, beginner-level home keyboards.

  • Polyphony
    Polyphony (instrument)
    Polyphony Instruments that are not capable of polyphony are monophonic.-Synthesizer:Most of early synthesizers were monophonic musical instruments which can play only one note at a time, and are often called monosynth as opposed to polysynth...

    : In digital music terminology, polyphony refers to the number of notes that can be produced by the sound generator at once. Polyphony allows significantly smoother and more natural transitions between notes. Inexpensive toy electronic keyboards designed for children can usually only play one note at a time. Many low priced keyboards can perform four or five notes at a time. Better-quality keyboards can perform over ten notes at a time with 32 or 64 notes being common.

  • Multi-timbre: The ability to play more than one kind of instrument sound at the same time. Such as with the Roland MT-32's ability to play up to eight different instruments at once.

  • Split point: The point on a keyboard where the choice of instrument can be split to allow two instruments to be played at once. In the late 1980s it was common to use a MIDI controller to control more than one keyboard from a single device. The MIDI controller had no sound of its own, but was designed for the sole purpose of allowing access to more sound controls for performance purposes. MIDI controllers allowed one to split the keyboard into two or more sections and assign each section to a MIDI channel, to send note data to an external keyboard. Many consumer keyboards offer at least one split to separate bass or auto-accompaniment chording instruments from the melody instrument.

  • Style: Pre-programmed "styles", usually depend on the chord given by the player, consist of a variety of genres for the player to use (e.g., pop, rock, jazz, country, reggae). The keyboard plays a chord voicing and rhythm which is appropriate for the selected genre. For example, if the "jazz" style is selected, the keyboard would play seventh and ninth chords in a characteristic jazz "comping" rhythm.

  • Synchronization: Usually, styles compose of two to four sections, so adding transition effects, called syncs, smooth the transition between sections and improve the rhythm of the effect.

  • Tempo: A parameter that determines the speed of rhythms, chords and other auto-generated content on electronic keyboards. The unit of this parameter is beats per minute. Many keyboards feature audio or visual metronome
    Metronome
    A metronome is any device that produces regular, metrical ticks — settable in beats per minute. These ticks represent a fixed, regular aural pulse; some metronomes also include synchronized visual motion...

    s (using graphics on a portion of the display) to help players keep time.

  • Auto harmony: A feature of some keyboards that automatically adds secondary tones to a note based upon chords given by the accompaniment system, to make harmony easier for players who lack the ability to make complex chord changes with their left hand.

  • Wheels and knobs: Used to add effects to a sound that are not present by default, such as vibrato
    Vibrato
    Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation and the speed with which the pitch is varied .-Vibrato and...

    , panning
    Panning (audio)
    Panning is the spread of a sound signal into a new stereo or multi-channel sound field. A typical physical recording console pan control is a knob with a pointer which can be placed from the 8 o'clock dial position fully left to the 4 o'clock position fully right...

    , tremolo
    Tremolo
    Tremolo, or tremolando, is a musical term that describes various trembling effects, falling roughly into two types. The first is a rapid reiteration...

    , pitch bending, and so on. A common wheel on contemporary keyboards is the pitch bend, adjusting the pitch of a note usually in the range of ±1 tone
    Major second
    In Western music theory, a major second is a musical interval spanning two semitones, and encompassing two adjacent staff positions . For example, the interval from C to D is a major second, as the note D lies two semitones above C, and the two notes are notated on adjacent staff postions...

    . The pitch bend wheel is usually on the left of the keyboard and is spring-loaded.

  • Keyboard response: Weighted or spring-loaded keys. The least expensive home keyboards have no keyboard response, and they use plastic keys that are mounted on soft rubber or plastic pads. This set-up, called "synthesizer action" is also used in synthesizers. "Weighted response" refers to keys with weights and springs in them, which give a "hammer action" feel similar to an acoustic piano. Most electronic keyboards use spring-loaded keys that make some kinds of playing techniques, such as backhanded sweeps, impossible, but make the keyboards lighter and easier to transport. Players accustomed to standard weighted piano keys may find non-weighted spring-action keyboards uncomfortable and difficult to play effectively. Conversely, keyboard players accustomed to the non-weighted action may encounter difficulty and discomfort playing on a piano with weighted keys.


Internal Circuitry

The Piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

 uses levers, hammers and strings to make sound at various pitches.But electric keyboard makes this possible by using Microprocessor
Microprocessor
A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit on a single integrated circuit, or at most a few integrated circuits. It is a multipurpose, programmable device that accepts digital data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and...

 and other signaling circuitry.Though electronic keyboard is very user friendly , its internal circuitry is very complex.

Various keyboards have number of keys. Musical keyboard has keys for various pitches. Computer keyboard has keys for alphabets, symbols. considering 61 keys there is need of 62 wires to send signal to integrated circuit. So Keyboard matrix (music)
Keyboard matrix (music)
Most electronic keyboards used in synthesizers, electronic organs, and digital pianos use a keyboard matrix circuit to connect the switches for each key. In this matrix circuit, the rows and columns are made up of wiring...

 is used.It has matrix of 8 rows and 8 columns. By using this there is need of only 16 wires to send signal instead of 62. When key is pressed Keyboard controller
Keyboard controller
Keyboard controller may refer to:* Keyboard controller , a computer hardware which connects a keyboard to the main board* In music, a MIDI keyboard with some additional controls...

 scans every column for pressed key and then it scans every row in that column.And determines which key is pressed. Then it sends appropriate signal to integrated circuit. This keyboard matrix can also be used for non musical keyboard.Keyboard matrix simplifies circuit greatly.

In musical keyboard, when key is pressed ,
  • Alternating square wave signal is send to speaker.
  • This causes speaker cone(Diaphragm (mechanical device)) to vibrate to produce sound.

Pitch of the sound depends on frequency of square wave.Pitch is directly proportional to input frequency.Pitch is determine by the integrated circuit(LM324) and resistor,capacitor network.
When key is pressed
  • Capacitor
    Capacitor
    A capacitor is a passive two-terminal electrical component used to store energy in an electric field. The forms of practical capacitors vary widely, but all contain at least two electrical conductors separated by a dielectric ; for example, one common construction consists of metal foils separated...

     starts charging and LM324 output is 6V corresponding to positive part of square wave.
  • When it reaches its maximum value, it starts discharging and output is 0 V corresponding to negative part of square wave.
  • If still key is pressed then capacitor starts charging again.
  • And square wave of 6-0-6-0-6-0 occurs.

This square wave produces buzzing tone.
Thus pitch of tone depends on charging -discharging time. When charging is quicker then frequency is higher so the pitch and other way round.Charging time can be given by τ=RC.Thus frequency also depends on resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

 in series with key.

Another mechanism is using microprocessor chip. When key is pressed
  • Tiny metal tab under key get pressed.
  • This completes one electric circuit due to contact.
  • And this send signal to central circuitry.This circuitry consist of transistors, microchips,resistors. It has thousands of sounds store in its memory.
  • When it receives particular signal for particular key its job is to send appropriate signal to speaker circuitry to make particular sound.


In case of push button switches the main difficulty is switch bounces for substantial time period. Due to this bouncing there can not be correct detection of input data. So there is debouncing mechanism provided.There are two ways:
  1. Software mechanism- In this microchips are programmed to wait switch bouncing gets completed.
  2. Hardware mechanism-There is extra circuitry to debounce switch.


As digital technology is developing fast, keyboard technology is also using this technology nowadays. The invention of the musical instrumental digital interface(MIDI) as standard for digital code transmission digital technology development causes great development in keyboard technology. Manufactures such as Casio
Casio
is a multinational electronic devices manufacturing company founded in 1946, with its headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Casio is best known for its electronic products, such as calculators, audio equipment, PDAs, cameras, musical instruments, and watches...

, Yamaha
Yamaha
Yamaha may refer to:* Yamaha Corporation, a Japanese company with a wide range of products and services** Yamaha Motor Company, a Japanese motorized vehicle-producing company...

, Korg
Korg
is a Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures electronic musical instruments, audio processors and guitar pedals, recording equipment, and electronic tuners...

, Rolland
Rolland
-People:* Alain Rolland , former Irish rugby union footballer and current international referee* Colette Rolland , French computer scientist* Michel Rolland, French oenologist* Romain Rolland, French writer and dramatist...

, and Kurzweil are producing well built, lightweight,cheap,versatile,clear sounding instruments using digital technology.

MIDI controls

Electronic keyboards typically use MIDI signals to send and receive data, a standard format now universally used across most digital electronic musical instruments. On the simplest example of an electronic keyboard, MIDI messages would be sent when a note is pressed on the keyboard, and would determine which note is pressed and for how long. Additionally, most electronic keyboards now have a "touch sensitivity", or "touch response" function which operates by an extra sensor in each key, which estimates the pressure of each note being pressed by the difference in time between when the key begins to be pressed and when it is pressed completely. The values calculated by these sensors are then converted into MIDI data which gives a velocity value for each note, which is usually directly proportional to amplitude of the note when played.

MIDI data can also be used to add digital effects
Sound effect
For the album by The Jam, see Sound Affects.Sound effects or audio effects are artificially created or enhanced sounds, or sound processes used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media...

 to the sounds played, such as reverb, chorus
Chorus effect
In music, a chorus effect occurs when individual sounds with roughly the same timbre and nearly the same pitch converge and are perceived as one...

, delay and tremolo
Tremolo
Tremolo, or tremolando, is a musical term that describes various trembling effects, falling roughly into two types. The first is a rapid reiteration...

. These effects are usually mapped to three of the 127 MIDI controls within the keyboard's infrastructure — one for reverb, one for chorus and one for other effects — and are generally configurable through the keyboard's graphical interface. Additionally, many keyboards have "auto-harmony" effects which will complement each note played with one or more notes of higher or lower pitch, to create an interval
Interval (music)
In music theory, an interval is a combination of two notes, or the ratio between their frequencies. Two-note combinations are also called dyads...

 or chord
Chord (music)
A chord in music is any harmonic set of two–three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously. These need not actually be played together: arpeggios and broken chords may for many practical and theoretical purposes be understood as chords...

.

DSP effects can also be controlled on the fly by physical controllers. Electronic keyboards often have two wheels on the left hand side, generally known as a pitch bend and a modulation wheel. The difference between these is that the pitch bend wheel always flicks back to its default position — the center — while the modulation wheel can be placed freely. By default, the pitch bend wheel controls the pitch of the note in small values, allowing the simulation of slides and other techniques which control the pitch more subtly. The modulation wheel is usually set to control a tremolo effect by default. However, on most electronic keyboards, the user will be able to map any MIDI control to these wheels. Professional MIDI controller keyboards often also have an array of knobs and sliders to modulate various MIDI controls, which are often used to control DSP effects.

Most electronic keyboards also have a socket at the back, into which a foot switch can be plugged. These are often called "sustain pedals" by keyboardists, as their most common function is to simulate the sustain pedal
Sustain pedal
A sustain pedal or sustaining pedal is the most commonly used pedal in a modern piano. It is typically the rightmost of two or three pedals. When pressed, the sustain pedal "sustains" all the damped strings on the piano by moving all the dampers away from the strings and allowing them to vibrate...

 on a piano by turning on and off the MIDI control which adds sustain to a note. However, since they are also simple MIDI devices, foot switches can usually be configured to turn on and off any MIDI control, such as turning of one of the DSP effects, or the auto-harmony.

A partial list of manufacturers

  • Alesis
    Alesis
    Alesis is a company based in Cumberland, Rhode Island, that designs and markets electronic musical instruments, digital audio processors, audio mixers, digital audio interfaces, recording equipment, drum machines, professional audio and electronic percussion products...

  • Casio
    Casio
    is a multinational electronic devices manufacturing company founded in 1946, with its headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Casio is best known for its electronic products, such as calculators, audio equipment, PDAs, cameras, musical instruments, and watches...

  • Ensoniq
    Ensoniq
    Ensoniq Corp. was an American electronics manufacturer, best known throughout the mid 1980s and 1990s for its musical instruments, principally samplers and synthesizers.- Company history :...

  • E-mu
  • Kawai
    Kawai
    The of Japan is best known for its grand and upright pianos, electronic keyboards and electronic synthesizers. The company was established in August 1927, and has its headquarters in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka.-Pianos:...

  • Ketron
  • Korg
    Korg
    is a Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures electronic musical instruments, audio processors and guitar pedals, recording equipment, and electronic tuners...

  • Kurzweil Music Systems
    Kurzweil Music Systems
    Kurzweil Music Systems is a company that produces electronic musical instruments for professionals and home users. Founded in 1982 by Raymond Kurzweil, a developer of reading machines for the blind, the company made use of many of the technologies originally designed for reading machines and...

  • M-Audio
    M-Audio
    M-Audio is a business unit of Avid Technology that designs and markets digital audio and MIDI interfaces, keyboards and MIDI controllers, synthesizers, loudspeakers, studio monitors, digital DJ systems, microphones, and music software...

  • Moog Music
    Moog Music
    Moog Music is an American company based in Asheville, North Carolina which manufactures electronic musical instruments. The current Moog Music is the second company to trade under that name.-R.A. Moog Co. and the original Moog Music:...

  • Ne-Ko
  • Nord (Clavia)
    Nord (Clavia)
    Nord is a Swedish virtual analog synthesizer and organ manufacturer. Nord keyboards are handmade in Sweden by Clavia DMI AB.-The company:Clavia was founded in 1983 by Hans Nordelius together with Mikael Carlsson in Stockholm, Sweden...

  • Roland
    Roland Corporation
    is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972, with ¥33 million in capital. In 2005 Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Today it has factories in Japan,...

  • Technics
    Technics
    Technics may refer to:* Technics turntables, no longer in production.* Technics , a brand name of the Panasonic Corporation* An anglicization of the Ancient Greek term techne, used primarily in media theory...

  • Yamaha
  • Sonic


See also

  • Synthesizer
    Synthesizer
    A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

  • Keyboard instruments
  • Keyboard Magazine
    Keyboard Magazine
    Keyboard Magazine is a magazine that originally covered electronic keyboard instruments and keyboardists, though with the advent of computer based recording and audio technology, they have added digital music technology to their regular coverage, including those not strictly pertaining to the...

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