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Keyboard instrument

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A "keyboard instrument" is a musical instrument played with a musical keyboard. Keyboard instruments can generally be classified as wind instruments, string instruments, percussion instruments, or electronic instruments. The most common ones are probably the piano and the synthesizer.

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Types of keyboard instruments

Keyboard instruments are usually divided into four categories, listed below:

Strings

Winds

Electronic/electromechanical

Percussion

History of keyboard instruments

Among the earliest keyboard instruments are the organ, the clavichord, and the harpsichord. The organ is doubtlessly the oldest of these, appearing in the 3th 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 didn't 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 earliest. During their development, a B-flat key was added to the keyboard in order to remedy the tritone between F and B, and the other semitones were added later. The harpsichord and the clavichord were both very common until the invention of the piano in the 18th century, after which their popularity decreased. Early electromechanical instruments, such as the ondes Martenot, predecessors of the synthesizer, appeared in the early 20th century.

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