Keyboard instrument

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A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument in which the sound is indirectly generated by depressing one or more keys on a keyboard . By moving the key, a mechanism is set in motion, the mechanics, which then causes the actual sound generation. The instrumentalist does not have his fingers in direct contact with the sound-producing element.

The sound generation can be very different for acoustic keyboard instruments. A distinction is made between striking ( piano , celesta , dulcimer ), plucking ( harpsichord ) or blowing ( organ , accordion ). Keyboard instruments have a special position in the groups of percussion instruments , plucked instruments and wind instruments . Electronic keyboard can be used as a master keyboard external or integrated synthesizer , sampler or computer via MIDI or USB - interface drive.

White and black keys on a keyboard are common for acoustic instruments used in western and western music . Other arrangements are found in the button accordion or bandoneon , where buttons are used instead of buttons.

With most keyboard instruments, the playable tones are fixed in their pitch by the keyboard ; a seamless gliding from one tone to another is not possible. Electronic keyboard instruments are an exception.

What all keyboard instruments have in common is that the duration of the tone can be precisely controlled from the moment the key is pressed until it is released (however, on the piano and harpsichord, the end of the string is a natural limit for the duration of the tone). Depending on the design of the specific keyboard instrument, further musical parameters can be influenced by playing:

  • On the piano , the volume can be influenced by the touch dynamics and, to a limited extent, the tone color by the pedals .
  • With organs and harpsichords , the volume and timbre can be influenced indirectly, namely through the registration.
  • With the harmonium as well as with hand-drawn instruments such as the accordion , the pressure to play is under the direct control of the player and is one of the essential means of expression.

Most keyboard instruments can play several tones at the same time, so they are harmony instruments .

In the 17th century, the instrument name clavier stood for any keyboard instrument.


Keyboard instruments are found in the following classes of instruments:

Web links

Wiktionary: Keyboard instrument  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Keyboard Instruments  - Collection of images, videos and audio files