Portable piano keyboard – what is it?
Electric Piano Keyboard is an electro-mechanic musical instrument that is played by the use of keys placed in a row in a particular series. The keys are of two colors, black and white, arranged in a way that is concerned with the production of the sound and for an easier way to play it. The sounds from the Electric Piano Keyboard are produced mechanically and they are converted into electrical which is called “Pickups”. Its, unlike a synthesizer which is full Electronic and has the capabilities to produce a sound similar to the Electric Piano Keyboard without any mechanical movements.
The Electric Piano Keyboard was first found in the earlier 1920s and had a steady growth of its popularity amidst the 1950s and reaching the peak during the 1970s. The size and weight of the stage pianos, they were eventually replaced by the Electric Piano Keyboards due to their contemporary design and portability. They were widely used in schools and homes. However, In 2009, Rhodes Music Corporation started producing a new line of electro-mechanical pianos, known as the Rhodes Mark 7.
The tone from an Electric Piano Keyboard depends on many aspects and features. And they are as follows: Struck strings, Struck Reeds, Struck tuning-forks, and Plucked reeds and they vary depending on the models from one another.
In an Electric Piano Keyboard of struck strings type, the sound is produced due to the vibration of the strings that are built in this model of piano, and this vibration of the strings is converted from the mechanical movement to an electrical signal by piezoelectric pickups under the bridge of the piano. These types of pianos are grand and upright with strings and hammers.
An Electric Piano Keyboard with struck reeds type uses flat steel reeds struck by felt hammers. The reeds fit within a comb-like metal plate, and the reeds and plate together form an electrostatic or capacitive pickup system. This system produces a very distinctive tone – sweet and vibraphone-like when played gently, and developing a hollow resonance as the keys are played harder.
Electric Piano Keyboards based on struck tuning-forks, has two struck elements having two vibrating parts. The two parts are stiff steel wire called tine and the other one is a tone bar, which is a sturdy steel bar acting as a resonator and adds sustain to the sound. The tine is fitted with a spring that can be moved along its length to allow the pitch to be varied for fine-tuning.
Electric Piano Keyboard designed with the plucked reeds, uses adhesive pads made from foam rubber and leather impregnated with viscous oil to pluck metal reeds. When the key is released, the pad acts as a damper and with the base of the electrostatic system, the tone is produced with less sustain.
The sound produced by the Electric Piano Keyboards is considerably different from that of the acoustic instruments and thus acquiring a musical identity of its own due to its portability and simplicity embedded inside.