A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument played using a keyboard, a row of levers which are pressed by the fingers. The most common of these are the piano, organ, and various electronic keyboards, including synthesizers and digital pianos. Other keyboard instruments include celestas, which are struck idiophones operated by a keyboard, and carillons, which are usually housed in bell towers or belfries of churches or municipal buildings.
The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.
Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneon are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family. The instrument is played by compressing or expanding the bellows while pressing buttons or keys, causing pallets to open, which allow air to flow across strips of brass or steel, called reeds.
A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. It consists of expanding and contracting bellows, with buttons or keys usually on both ends, unlike accordion buttons, which are on the front.
A synthesizer or synthesiser is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals that may be converted to sound. Synthesizers may imitate traditional musical instruments such as piano, flute, vocals, or natural sounds such as ocean waves; or generate novel electronic timbres. They are often played with a musical keyboard.
The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic tape replay keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England, in 1963. It evolved from a similar instrument, the Chamberlin, but could be mass-produced more effectively. The instrument is played by pressing its keys, each of which presses a length of magnetic tape against a capstan, drawing it across a playback head. Then as the key is released, the tape is retracted by a spring to its initial position. Different portions of the tape can be played to access different sounds.
In music, the organ is a keyboard instrument of one or more pipe divisions or other means for producing tones, each played with its own keyboard, played either with the hands on a keyboard or with the feet using pedals. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria 285–222 BC, who invented the water organ.
The mbira is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tines with the thumbs. The mbira is usually classified as part of the lamellaphone family and part of the idiophone family of musical instruments.
The bandoneon is a type of concertina particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay. It is an essential instrument in most tango ensembles from the traditional orquesta of the 1910s onwards.
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. This activates a row of levers that turn a trigger mechanism that plucks one or more strings with a small plectrum.
The clavichord is a European stringed rectangular keyboard instrument that was used largely in the Late Middle Ages, through the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras. Historically, it was mostly used as a practice instrument and as an aid to composition, not being loud enough for larger performances. The clavichord produces sound by striking brass or iron strings with small metal blades called tangents.