Different Types of Musical Keyboards

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Different Types of Musical Keyboards
There is a variety of different types of keyboards on market, from digital pianos to MIDI controllers. (keyboard image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com)

There are many different musical keyboards on the market, allowing you to have a variety of choices and to pick one that best suits your musical talent level as well as your personal preferences. Before buying a keyboard, it is important to know the different types that exist so that you can make sure your money is well spent, and you can invest in a keyboard that is practical and caters to your musical needs.

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Digital Pianos

Digital pianos are keyboards designed to mimic the sound of a classic grand piano. Like a grand piano, the digital piano has 88 weighted keys and is best suited for those who are seeking an authentic piano sound, but are looking for something portable and compact. Other advantages of the digital piano are that, unlike a grand piano, it does not require tuning or maintenance, and it can be used with headphones.

Arrangers and Workstations

While arrangers and workstations were traditionally two different types of keyboard, nowadays they are often combined into one instrument that is called a hybrid. A hybrid keyboard is one that has a collection of default rhythm tracks in a variety of styles, including jazz, rock and techno, that can be accessed at the push of a button. These tracks can then serve as backing tracks to whatever is being played with the keys. The keys on a hybrid keyboard, unlike those on the digital piano, can be changed to sound like a variety of instruments, including drums, organ and guitar. This type of keyboard is best suited for producers or composers who want to hear what their songs would sound like with a full backing band or who want to hear a particular song in a variety of styles.

Synthesizer Music Keyboards

Synthesizer keyboards are keyboards that give the user the ability to adjust pitch and create new, unique sounds from scratch using a variety of tone generators or pre-created, default tones. The synthesizer keyboard has many built-in technologies such as analogue and vocal modelers, filters, and other effects that can be used to create just about any sound the user desires.

Organ Keyboards

An organ keyboard is one that has the ability to mimic the sound of a pipe organ. Pipe organs are very large and ornate, so the organ keyboard provides a great alternative to those seeking the sound of an organ in a small, portable form. Many organ keyboards, particularly those manufactured by Roland, also have functions similar to those found in the hybrid keyboards.

The MIDI Controller

The MIDI controller is a keyboard that can be connected to a computer and allows the user to control audio and editing software. It can be used to mix and record audio as well as play software instruments from the computer through its speakers. The MIDI controller can perhaps be considered the least musical of the different types of keyboards as it cannot produce its own sounds, but instead allows for an easier and more fun way to make music on the computer instead of just using the computer's mouse.

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