Mike John, Content Explorer, MCA, Los Angeles, California, USA
Answered Aug 10, 2018
Believe it or not, the first electric keyboard was invented in 1874 by an inventor named Elisha Gray. Gray obtained a patent for his invention in 1875, calling it the “Electric Telegraph for Transmitting Musical Tones." His instrument had “a two octave keyboard and transmitted the sounds over telegraph wires.”
Not much happened with Gray’s invention until about 45 years later when the first electric organs would be developed. Then, it wasn’t until 1970 until the electric keyboard became popular as a result of Bob Moog adding a keyboard to a synthesizer.
It’s not surprising that digital pianos and keyboards are similar but different. A digital piano was designed to feel, look, and sound like a traditional piano and to give the player a more authentic playing experience. Digital pianos were also designed to be portable, have digital effects, and computer connectivity. They are available in standard, upright and stage type pianos.
In contrast, keyboards were not designed to imitate or look like real pianos. Instead, a keyboard is much lighter in weight and focuses on creating many different “electronically devised and synthesized sounds”.