Many people learning how to play a musical instrument for the first time
begin with a music keyboard. Music keyboards are musical instruments
that have depressible keys that are tuned to produce musical notes in
specific frequencies. The most common types of musical keyboard
include traditional grand pianos, upright pianos, and pipe organs,
although digital pianos, electronic organs, and synthesizers are becoming
more popular as well.
The keys on a musical keyboard are arranged in octaves of twelve keys
apiece. Each 12-key octave consists of seven white keys and five
black keys. The traditional piano contains 88 keys; each manual on
an electronic organ usually has 61 keys. Portable synthesizers
often have 61 keys, and studio synthesizers normally have 76 or 88 keys.
Traditional keyboards are known for their rich, full tones; they are also
touch sensitive. This means that how hard you press the key will
affect the sound. Traditional keyboard pianos include spinets,
uprights, baby grands, and grands. Most pianos and organs are quite
large and heavy, and they are not very portable! A piano's weight
is largely due to its cast iron plate, which anchors the piano strings
under great tension.
A Piano Teacher and her Student Play a Duet on the Piano
Perhaps the most famous music keyboard is the Steinway grand piano, the
instrument of choice for most professional pianists. Steinway piano
cases are available in several traditional and exotic wood finishes, with
the veneers for each case carved from a single tree. Steinway pianos
are comprised of more than 12,000 parts; some of these parts help create
the musical sounds while others alter the quality of these sounds.
Digital pianos, synthesizers, and keyboard controllers use computer
technology and usually feature MIDI interfaces, so they can be combined
with digital sound modules and other digital instruments. They
usually allow users to compose their own music, overlay voices, or record
music to CDs. Digital music keyboards afford a bit of privacy,
as they can be used with headphones, and many are very portable.
MusicKeyboards.us features a directory of keyboard manufacturers and
online musical instrument dealers plus a historical overview of keyboard
instruments, tips for choosing a keyboard instrument, and an introduction
to the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI).
Freeth, N. (2007).
Learn to Play the Piano and Keyboard.
Bath, UK: Paragon.
Wade-Matthews, M. and Thompson, W. (2004).
The Encyclopedia of Music.
New York: Barnes & Noble.
Pinksterboer, H. (2004).
Keyboard & Digital Piano.
The Netherlands: The Tipbook Company.