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Keyboard instruments

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Piano

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings. The word piano is a shortened form of pianoforte, the Italian term for the early 1700s versions of the instrument, which in turn derives from gravicembalo col piano e forte and fortepiano. The Italian musical terms piano and forte indicate "soft" and "loud" respectively, in this context referring to the variations in volume produced in response to a pianist's touch or pressure on the keys: the greater the velocity of a key press, the greater the force of the hammer hitting the strings, and the louder the sound of the note produced and the stronger the attack. The name was created as a contrast to harpsichord, a musical instrument that doesn't allow variation in volume. The first fortepianos in the 1700s had a quieter sound and smaller dynamic range.

 
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Harpsichord

A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard which activates a row of levers that in turn trigger a mechanism that plucks one or more strings with a small plectrum.

 
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Organ (music)

In music, the organ is a keyboard instrument of one or more pipe divisions or other means for producing tones, each played with its own keyboard, played either with the hands on a keyboard or with the feet using pedals. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria, who invented the water organ. It was played throughout the Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman world, particularly during races and games. During the early medieval period it spread from the Byzantine Empire, where it continued to be used in secular (non-religious) and imperial court music, to Western Europe, where it gradually assumed a prominent place in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Subsequently it re-emerged as a secular and recital instrument in the Classical music tradition.

 
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Pipe organ

The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through organ pipes selected via a keyboard. Because each pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass. Most organs have multiple ranks of pipes of differing timbre, pitch, and volume that the player can employ singly or in combination through the use of controls called stops.

 
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Pump organ

The pump organ, reed organ, harmonium, or melodeon is a type of free-reed organ that generates sound as air flows past a vibrating piece of thin metal in a frame. The piece of metal is called a reed.

 
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Electronic keyboard

An electronic keyboard or digital keyboard is an electronic musical instrument, an electronic or digital derivative of keyboard instruments. Broadly speaking, the term electronic keyboard or just a keyboard can refer to any type of digital or electronic keyboard instrument. These include synthesizers, digital pianos, stage pianos, electronic organs and digital audio workstations. However, an electronic keyboard is more specifically a synthesizer with a built-in low-wattage power amplifier and small loudspeakers.

 
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Clavichord

The clavichord is a European stringed keyboard instrument that was used largely in the late Medieval, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. Historically, it was mostly used as a practice instrument and as an aid to composition, not being loud enough for larger performances. The clavichord produces sound by striking brass or iron strings with small metal blades called tangents. Vibrations are transmitted through the bridge(s) to the soundboard.

 
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Player piano

A player piano is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music recorded on perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls, with more modern implementations using MIDI. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in the late 19th and early 20th century. Sales peaked in 1924, then declined as the improvement in phonograph recordings due to electrical recording methods developed in the mid-1920s. The advent of electrical amplification in home music reproduction via radio in the same period helped cause their eventual decline in popularity, and the stock market crash of 1929 virtually wiped out production.

 
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Clavinet

The clavinet is an electrically amplified clavichord that was invented by Ernst Zacharias and manufactured by the Hohner company of Trossingen, West Germany from 1964 to the early 1980s. Hohner produced seven models over the years, designated I, II, L, C, D6, E7 and Duo. Its distinctive bright staccato sound has featured most prominently in funk, jazz-funk, reggae, rock, and soul songs.

 
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Electric piano

An electric piano is an electric musical instrument which produces sounds when a performer presses the keys of the piano-style musical keyboard. Pressing keys causes mechanical hammers to strike metal strings, metal reeds or wire tines, leading to vibrations which are converted into electrical signals by magnetic pickups, which are then connected to an instrument amplifier and loudspeaker to make a sound loud enough for the performer and audience to hear. Unlike a synthesizer, the electric piano is not an electronic instrument. Instead, it is an electro-mechanical instrument. Some early electric pianos used lengths of wire to produce the tone, like a traditional piano. Smaller electric pianos used short slivers of steel to produce the tone. The earliest electric pianos were invented in the late 1920s; the 1929 Neo-Bechstein electric grand piano was among the first. Probably the earliest stringless model was Lloyd Loar's Vivi-Tone Clavier. A few other noteworthy producers of electric pianos include Baldwin Piano and Organ Company and the Wurlitzer Company.

 
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MIDI keyboard

A MIDI keyboard is typically a piano-style electronic musical keyboard, often with other buttons, wheels and sliders, used for sending MIDI signals or commands over a USB or MIDI 5-pin cable to other musical devices or computers connected and operating on the same MIDI protocol. The basic MIDI keyboard does not produce sounds by itself, as it lacks an onboard sound engine. Instead, MIDI information on keys or buttons the performer has pressed is sent to a receiving device capable of creating sound through modeling synthesis, sample playback, or an analogue hardware instrument.

 
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Ondes Martenot

The ondes martenot or ondes musicales is an electronic musical instrument invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. It is controlled by moving a ring along a wire, which creates wavering, theremin-like sounds; later models can also be played with a keyboard. Martenot was inspired by the accidental overlaps of tones between military radio oscillators, and wanted to create an instrument with the expressiveness of the cello.

 
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Spinet

A spinet is a smaller type of harpsichord or other keyboard instrument, such as a piano or organ.

 
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Wanamaker Organ

The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, in Philadelphia, is the largest fully functioning pipe organ in the world.. The Wanamaker Organ is located within a spacious 7-story court at Macy's Center City and played at least twice a day Monday through Saturday, and more frequently during the Christmas season. The organ is featured at several special concerts held throughout the year, including events featuring the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ Festival Chorus and Brass Ensemble.

 
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Prepared piano

A prepared piano is a piano that has had its sound altered by placing objects on or between the strings.