Electronic keyboards are digital or electronic instruments. They are also called digital keyboards, portable keyboards or home keyboards.
Components of Modern Electronic Keyboards
The components of modern electronic keyboards include:
- Musical keyboards: There are switches that connect to the black and white piano style keys that the player presses. It thus triggers the electronic note or sound. Electronic Keyboards usually use a keyboard matrix circuit to reduce the amount of wiring.
- User interface software: A program, embedded in a computer chip inside Electronic Keyboards which handles user interface with menus and control keys. Furthermore it allows the user to select tones, such as piano, flute, drum kit, organ, etc. It includes effects as well, such as echo, reverb, sustain or telephones. Moreover it consists of other features too, like an electronic drum machine, transposition, etc.
- Sound chip / sound generator: An electronic musical synthesiser or sound module is usually contained inside a chip or an integrated circuit. It is capable of accepting MIDI commands and producing sounds.
- Computerized musical arranger: A software program which produces chords and rhythms through computerized commands such as MIDI.
- Speaker and amplifier: A low to mid-powered audio amplifier and speakers that amplify the sounds so that the listener can hear them.
Electronic Keyboards Product Categories
Manufacturers and retailers divide their electronic keyboard products into the following categories:
- Digital piano: Electronic keyboards that are designed to sound and feel like an acoustic piano.
- Stage piano: A digital piano designed stage or use by a live band.
- Synthesizer: Electronic keyboards which use various sound synthesis to produce a vast range of sounds.
- Arranger: Electronic keyboards which can produce a range of sounds and also backing accompaniments in order to accompany the performer. It is usually played by the left hand. Hence an arranger keyboard player is usually called a one-man band.
When compared to stage pianos or digital pianos, digital keyboards are usually very low in cost and are much lighter. They have light weighted keys, have many ancillary controls, and usually come with on-board speakers.
Well-known manufacturers of electronic keyboards include Yamaha, Kawai, Rolland, Korg, Kurzweil, Technics, Hammond, Clavia, Casio, among many others.