Meaning of KEYBOARD INSTRUMENT in English

any musical instrument on which different notes can be sounded by pressing a series of keys, push buttons, or parallel levers. In nearly all cases in Western music the keys correspond to consecutive notes in the chromatic scale, and they run from the bass at the left to the treble at the right. This large group of instruments has assumed great importance because the keyboard enables a performer to play many notes at once as well as in close succession. This versatility enables the modern pianist or organist to play, in transcription, any work of Western music, whether it involves chordal harmonies, independent contrapuntal parts, or only a single melody. The capabilities of keyboard instruments have influenced the composition of music for other media, because virtually every major composer from William Byrd (c. 15431623) to Igor Stravinsky (18821971) and beyond has been at least an accomplished keyboard performer, if not a renowned virtuoso. The evolution of an idiomatic keyboard compositional style has been linked to technological and theoretical developments within Western urban culture; keyboard instruments are not normally associated with folk music, and only during the 20th century has their use spread widely outside the Western world. Moog electronic sound synthesizer In its broadest sense, the term keyboard instrument may be applied to any instrument equipped with a keyboard and thus may be used to refer to accordions, percussion instruments such as the celesta and the carillon, and many electronic instrumentsfor example, the Moog synthesizer (see photograph) and the Ondes Martenot. In a narrower sense, such as is employed in this discussion, the term is restricted to instruments in which sound is produced from strings, whether by plucking, striking, or rubbing, or from pipes or reeds. musical instrument that produces sounds in response to the touching of keys, push buttons, or parallel levers arranged in a row before the performer. In nearly all cases in Western music these sounds are consecutive notes in the chromatic scale, and these consecutive notes run from the bass at the left to the treble at the right. Although the term keyboard instrument can be broadly applied to any instrument with a keyboard, including small hand-held organs such as the accordion and percussion instruments such as the celesta and the carillon, it is generally understood to refer to such instruments as the organ, the piano, the harpsichord, and the clavichord. Most organologists, however, would probably not group these instruments together, preferring to classify instruments according to the method of sound production (rather than according to the playing method). Keyboard instruments would then fall into three basic groups: aerophones, in which sound is produced by vibrating a column of air (e.g., organ, melodeon, harmonium); chordophones, in which sound is produced by vibrating a string, whether by plucking (e.g., harpsichord) or by striking (e.g., clavichord, piano); and electrophones, in which sound is produced by electric or electronic means (e.g., electronic organ, music synthesizer). Keyboards of some kind appear to have been known in antiquity, but information is sketchy; there are also only a few instances of rudimentary keyboard instruments developed outside Europe. The keyboard is, therefore, a characteristic of Western music, on which it has had a powerful influence. It is hard to imagine that Western harmony could have reached its vast complexity without instruments capable of sounding many notes at once and without the system of equal temperament (where intervals between each key consist of semitone units, each set at a 12th of an octave) that keyboard instruments encouraged. The earliest keyboards were applied to the organ and were usually diatonic (including five whole tones and two semitones, as in the C-major scale). Chromatic keyboards were introduced by the 14th century. At this stage, however, the keys were usually several centimetres wide, and so the instruments were capable of only the most simple harmony, preferably in a slow tempo. The development of keyboard music did not take off until the 16th century, when keyboards began to be built according to specifications that have since remained standard. An octave was made to span a distance of about 6.5 inches (16.5 cm), making it possible for the interval to be covered by one hand; and the diatonic keys were given a white finish, the chromatic keys set back and given a black finish, though sometimes the colour coding was reversed. This modernization of the keyboard proceeded hand in hand with the development of new instruments of the plucked-string type, notably the harpsichord, the spinet, and the virginals. All these instruments were first mentioned in the 15th century, but no examples survive from before the early 16th; and certainly it was during the latter century that the harpsichord and its relatives became common. Naturally, keyboard music began to appear in much greater quantities, and the possibilities of keyboard technique began to be exploited. Composers discovered such effects as broken chords, trills, and other ornaments that were much more natural with keyboard instruments than with other instruments. Development of keyboard instruments and keyboard music continued during the 17th century and the early part of the 18th without essential change, but gradually during the 18th century the harpsichord gave way to the piano, or pianoforte. The piano's special feature was that it did not pluck the strings but hammered them, enabling the performer to vary the weight of attack and hence the volume of sound: the very name pianoforte (Italian: soft-loud) points out this distinction from the level-toned harpsichord. (The clavichord, an earlier instrument that sounded when its strings were struck by metal blades, also allowed players to vary volume; but, because of the way in which the instruments were constructed, the maximum loudness that they could produce was relatively soft.) Pianos were first made by Bartolomeo Cristofori in Florence about 1700, but they made little impression until the second half of the 18th century, when they were made in two basic shapes: either curved like the grand piano or rectangular like the square piano. The first successful low upright piano was introduced in 1800 by John Isaac Hawkins of Philadelphia. During the 19th century pianos became bigger and heavier, and the music written for them underwent a corresponding change; the harpsichord, meanwhile, virtually disappeared until it was revived early in the 20th century. Electronic keyboard instruments include the electronic organ (first marketed by Laurens Hammond in the United States in 1935), the electronic piano, and the music synthesizer in most of its forms. Even in this new world of sound, the presence of a keyboard ensures a close correlation with music as it has been known in the West since the 16th century. See electronic instrument. Additional reading Development of the keyboard, the clavichord, and the harpsichord Frank Hubbard, Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making (1965, reissued 1976), clarifies the history of the instrument and the techniques of earlier harpsichord makers; Raymond Russell, The Harpsichord and Clavichord, 2nd ed. (1973), offers a general history, less technical than Hubbard's, illustrated with excellent photographs; Donald H. Boalch, Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord, 14401840, 2nd ed. (1974), presents known data on all makers whose names have survived as well as the locations of their extant instruments; Edwin M. Ripin (ed.), Keyboard Instruments: Studies in Keyboard Organology, 15001800, 2nd rev. ed. (1977), collects articles on specialized topics, including Italian, Flemish, and English harpsichords, 15th-century instruments, and the Geigenwerck; Franz J. Hirt, Stringed Keyboard Instruments, 14401880 (1968; originally published in German, 1955; reissued with parallel English and German text, 1981), is a splendid picture book with interesting but not always reliable supporting text; Wolfgang Zuckermann, The Modern Harpsichord: Twentieth Century Instruments and Their Makers (1969), remains a standard work, though it is unreliable for historical information and technical aspects of instrument design and building; Willi Apel, Early History of the Organ, Speculum, 23(2):191216 (April 1945), gives an excellent account, especially useful for the details on the evolution of the keyboard; Edwin M. Ripin et al., The New Grove Early Keyboard Instruments (1989; also published as Early Keyboard Instruments), is a collection of previously published materials. See also Howard Schott, Playing the Harpsichord (1971); and John Paul, Modern Harpsichord Makers (1981). The piano Rosamond E.M. Harding, The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851, 2nd ed. (1978), is a standard work in the field, with excellent diagrams; Alfred J. Hipkins, A Description and History of the Pianoforte and of the Older Keyboard Stringed Instruments (1896, reprinted 1977), is a classic that has never been superseded as a brief account of the subject; Arthur Loesser, Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History (1954, reprinted 1990), surveys all keyboard instruments, their music, and their place in societythe author's bias in favour of the modern piano makes the book less reliable for details on instruments before 1840; Dieter Hildebrandt, Pianoforte, a Social History of the Piano (1988; originally published in German, 1986), is a much later similar work, focusing on the cultural imagery of the 19th century; Daniel Spillane, History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development, and the Trade (1890, reissued 1969), remains a standard work on American piano building; William Braid White, Piano Tuning and Allied Arts, 5th rev. ed. (1946, reprinted 1964), is the standard technician's manual in America; Cyril Ehrlich, The Piano: A History, rev. ed. (1990), is valuable for later developments; David Wainwright, The Piano Makers (1975), concentrates on British manufacturers. See also Edwin M. Good, Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand (1982). Edwin M. Ripin Laurence Elliot Libin The organ Austin Niland, Introduction to the Organ (1968), is, as its name implies, a good introduction to the subject from a British point of view; in a similar vein, very practical, but from a continental approach, is Hans Klotz, The Organ Handbook (1969; originally published in German, 7th ed., 1965). The classic work on the subject is Edward J. Hopkins and Edward F. Rimbault, The Organ, Its History and Construction, 3rd ed. (1877, reprinted in 3 vol., 1987); less complete, but more general and contemporary coverage is given in William Leslie Sumner, The Organ, 4th rev. ed. (1973, reprinted 1981). Peter Williams, The European Organ, 14501850 (1966, reissued 1978), is a thorough history of continental organs. Poul-Gerhard Andersen, Organ Building and Design (1969; originally published in Danish, 1956), emphasizes architecture and the organ's relation to it. National schools are discussed in Cecil Clutton and Austin Niland, The British Organ, 2nd rev. ed. (1982), post-revival; Fenner Douglass, The Language of the Classical French Organ (1969); and William Harrison Barnes, The Contemporary American Organ, 9th ed. (1971), heavy on mechanics with drawings. Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (1975, reprinted 1988), is a comprehensive study of American builders; Robert F. Gellerman, The American Reed Organ: Its History, How It Works, How to Rebuild It (1973), cites the most important patents; William H. Armstrong, Organs for America: The Life and Work of David Tannenberg (1967), deals with the 18th-century German immigrant builders. A fascinating book on portatives, positives, and regals is Michael I. Wilson, The English Chamber Organ: History and Development, 16501850 (1968). Peter Williams, A New History of the Organ from the Greeks to the Present Day (1980), covers the development of the instrument in all countries and over 2,000 years. Other informative monographs include Barbara Owen, The Organ in New England: An Account of Its Use and Manufacture to the End of the Nineteenth Century (1979); Robert B. Whiting (comp.), Estey Reed Organs on Parade: A Pictorial Review (1981); and John Allen Ferguson, Walter Holtkamp, American Organ Builder (1979). Cecil Clutton Laurence Elliot Libin The piano Principle of operation Although the basic principles of the piano's operation are simple, the refinements required in developing the powerful yet sensitive modern piano make it also the most complex of all mechanical instruments except the organ. The strings of the piano are struck by a felt-covered hammer that must rebound from the strings instantaneously or it will dampen their vibrations in the very act of initiating them. The hammer must thus be allowed to fly freely toward the strings. For the pianist to retain maximum control of loudness, the distance of the hammer's free flight must be as small as possible; but, if the distance is too small, the hammer will bounce back and forth between the strings and the part of the mechanism that pushed it, producing a stuttering sound whenever the keys are struck firmly. As a consequence, all truly simple piano mechanismsthose in which, say, a rigid rod at the back of the key simply pushes the hammer upward until the key is stopped by a rail and the hammer flies freemust be adjusted to provide a large distance for free flight and can therefore give the pianist only limited dynamic range and control. History Invention Piano mechanisms as unsophisticated as that described above continued to be devised and built throughout the 18th century. Nevertheless, the first successful pianomade in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristoforisolved the problems inherent in such simple mechanisms, as well as nearly every other problem facing piano builders until well into the 19th century. Cristofori reportedly experimented with a harpsichord with hammers in 1698. By 1700 one of these instruments, together with six of his harpsichords and spinets, was included in an inventory of instruments belonging to the Medici family in Florence. In 1711 the instrument was described in detail in the Venetian Giornale de' letterati d'Italia by Scipione Maffei, who called Cristofori's invention gravicembalo col piano e forte (harpsichord with soft and loud)whence the present names pianoforte and piano. In the three surviving examples of Cristofori's pianos, which date from the 1720s, the mechanism, or action, differs somewhat from that described and pictured by Maffei; however, rather than merely representing an earlier phase of Cristofori's work, Maffei's diagram may be in error. In the surviving instruments a pivoted piece of wood is set into the key. The pivoted piece (which in a modern piano would be called a jack and should not be confused with the jack in a harpsichord) lifts an intermediate lever when the key is depressed. The lever, in turn, pushes upward on the hammer shaft near its pivot in a rail fixed above the keys. When the key is pressed completely down, the jack tilts and disengages itself from the intermediate lever, which then falls back, permitting the hammer to fall most of the way back to its rest position, even while the key is still depressed. This feature, called an escapement, is the heart of Cristofori's invention; it makes possible a short free flight for the hammer, after which the hammer falls so far away from the string that it cannot rebound against it, even when the keys are struck firmly. Cristofori provided a check (a pad rising from the back of the key) to catch and hold the falling hammer. At the end of the key he included a separate slip of wood, resembling a harpsichord jack, to carry the dampers that silence the string when the key is at rest. Utilizing an intermediate lever to act on the hammer near one end of its shaft provides an enormous velocity advantage, and the hammer flies upward toward the string much faster than the front end of the key descends under the pianist's finger, adding to the crispness and sensitivity of Cristofori's action. In addition to his innovative mechanism, Cristofori also introduced a unique double-wall case construction that isolated the soundboard from the pull of the strings. The sound of his instruments is strongly reminiscent of the harpsichord. The dynamic range is surprisingly wide, but it should be emphasized that the instrument's loudest sounds are softer than those of a firmly quilled Italian harpsichord and do not begin to approach the loudness of a modern piano.

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