A keyboard instrument is a
Today, the term keyboard often refers to keyboard-style
Another important use of the word keyboard is in historical musicology, where it means an instrument whose identity cannot be firmly established. Particularly in the 18th century, the harpsichord, the clavichord, and the early piano were in competition, and the same piece might be played on more than one. Hence in a phrase like "Mozart excelled as a keyboard player" the word keyboard is usefully noncommittal.
The earliest known keyboard instrument was the Ancient Greek
The clavichord and the harpsichord appeared during the 14th century—the clavichord probably being earlier. The harpsichord and clavichord were both common until widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century, after which their popularity decreased. The piano was revolutionary, because a
Keyboard instruments were further developed in the early twentieth century. Early electromechanical instruments, such as the