For piano players, other musicians & music lovers. A distillation of 46 Years work in the Music Industry.
Definition of an Electric Piano.
An electric (electro-mechanical) piano is a touch sensitive keyboard instrument, in which the tone sources are struck or plucked mechanical resonators. In principle it thus resembles an acoustic piano, but a sound board is usually dispensed with. Electrical transducers are used to pick up resonator vibrations, the output being amplified and/or directly recorded.
For completeness, electro-mechanical clavichords & harpsichords are also included.
Electronic pianos use electronic means of sound generation & are not the subject of these pages.
In theory it may be possible to build a piano using purely electrical means of sound signal generation. With no mechanical resonators or electronics. No practical instrument of this type has yet been devised (see Telharmonium).
There are a variety of ways in which electronic piano synthesis can be accomplished. Early types were analogue, mostly subtractive: Individual oscillators, as in the RMI piano or a divided master oscillator in most other efforts. Early digital designs include the Yamaha PF series, using FM synthesis, a more interesting sound than subtractive analogue.
Most current electronic pianos produce sound by playing short recordings (samples), of genuine acoustic or electro-mechanical instruments. These are usually more realistic than analogue types & are getting better. They currently still fall short of the performance capabilities & feel of the originals that they imitate.
Ron Lebar. Edited: 28-8-10. Loaded: