Software

Speech recognition faster at texting

Smartphone speech recognition software gets a bad rap. Most users find the nascent technology to be frustratingly slow, and there are entire blogs dedicated to documenting examples of its biggest – and sometimes hilarious ...

Security

Some wireless keyboards may let snoopers have your numbers

(Tech Xplore)—Security research alert: There is something around called KeySniffer. Hang around with the wrong kind of keyboard, and you may find it has sniffed up personal identification and access numbers you really do ...

Consumer & Gadgets

Hand strap makes use of taps to get the message out

(Tech Xplore)—We need to send information including words and numbers across the wires but researchers are thinking about alternatives as to how we do so, and are pondering the future of the keyboard and mouse.

Consumer & Gadgets

Touch+ goes on sale, aims to make waving so yesterday

Touch+ announced yesterday that it is available on its makers' Ractiv website for $74.99: Ractiv is offering this product as an add-on for a computer, evolved from a crowdfunding campaign last year for Haptix. Touch+ is ...

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Keyboard instrument

A keyboard instrument is any musical instrument played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include various types of organs as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments. In common language, it is mostly used to refer to keyboard-style synthesizers.

Among the earliest keyboard instruments are the pipe organ, hurdy gurdy, clavichord, and harpsichord. The organ is doubtless the oldest of these, appearing in the 3rd century BC, although this early instrument—called hydraulis--did not use a keyboard in the modern sense. From its invention until the 14th century, the organ remained the only keyboard instrument. Often, the organ did not feature a keyboard at all, rather buttons or large levers which were operated by a whole hand. Almost every keyboard until the 15th century had 7 naturals to each octave.

The clavichord and the harpsichord appeared during the 14th century, the clavichord probably being the earlier. The harpsichord and the clavichord were both very common until the widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century, after which their popularity decreased. The piano was revolutionary because a pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound by varying the vigor with which each key was struck. The piano's full name is "gravicèmbalo con piano e forte" meaning "harpsichord with soft and loud" but can be shortened to "piano-forte", which means "soft-loud" in Italian.

Keyboard instruments were further developed in the 20th century. Early electromechanical instruments, such as the Ondes Martenot, appeared early in the century.

Much effort has gone into finding an instrument which sounds like the piano but lacks its size and weight. The electric piano and electronic piano were early efforts that, while being useful instruments in their own right, were not successful in convincingly reproducing the timbre of the piano. Electric and electronic organs were developed during the same period.

Significant development of the synthesizer occurred in the 1960s and has continued ever since. The most notable early synthesizer is the Moog synthesizer, which used analog circuitry. In time, digital synthesis, using actual piano samples, has become common.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA