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Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...

Article

Daewoo  

Anne Beetem Acker

(Korean: ‘great Woo’)

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital pianos. Founded in 1967 as Daewoo Industrial, the large conglomerate Daewoo International Corp. is named for its founder, Kim Woo-jung. In 1977 the Daewoo Precision Industries division purchased the Sojin musical instrument factory of Yeoju, Korea. Sojin had been making guitars; it added upright pianos in 1976. Between 1980 and 1991, Daewoo exported Sojin pianos as well as pianos under the names Royale, Daytron, Daewoo, Schafer & Sons, Sherman Clay (until 1987), and Cline, in addition to private labels. These pianos were of inconsistent and relatively low quality. Starting in 1989, Daewoo began to manufacture digital pianos. In 1990 they produced 13,452 uprights, 2,364 grands, and 2,120 digital pianos.

In 1991, Daewoo purchased a 33% share of the German piano maker Ibach, selling the Sojin equipment to a Chinese firm and replacing it with copies of Ibach’s machinery. Thereafter, instead of Sojin pianos, Daewoo produced Ibach brand instruments to a higher standard, using components such as Renner actions and Delignit wrestplanks. However, the parent Daewoo International Corp., stressed by the Asian financial crisis, went bankrupt in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Line of MIDI-based reproducing player pianos introduced by Yamaha Corporation in 1982 (1986 in North America). The Disklavier system combines an acoustic piano with an electromechanical player-piano system. As in other such systems, fibre-optic sensors register the movement of keys, hammers, and pedals during performance, while the digital controller operates a bank of solenoids installed under the piano’s key bed; one solenoid is positioned under the tail of each key, with additional solenoids connected to the pedal rods. Performance information is stored digitally on CD-ROM, floppy discs (still used for many accompaniments for instructional piano material), or a hard drive. Disklavier systems can be connected to sequencers, tone modules, and computers via MIDI and Ethernet. A built-in speaker system attached to the case under the soundboard is used to play back optional digital piano sound and especially for playback of accompanying orchestral or vocal tracks.

Unlike other electronic player systems, the Disklavier is only installed in new Yamaha pianos and only at the factory. It cannot be installed in older Yamahas or other brands of pianos. Compared with other systems, the Disklavier’s recording capability is generally regarded to be of the highest quality and sophistication. Of the Disklavier models available in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Chinese piano manufacturer. An outgrowth of the government-owned Shanghai Piano Factory, founded in the 1920s, the Dongbei Piano Factory was established in 1952 in Yingkou City in Liaoning province of northeastern China (dongbei means ‘northeast’) to take advantage of the high quality of local wood. For many years, the firm made only upright pianos. In 1988, after the Swedish firm Nordiska went out of business, Dongbei purchased the designs and equipment for the Nordiska Model 116, an upright superior to Dongbei’s. Dongbei formed an agreement in 1991 with the Korean firm Daewoo whereby Daewoo helped Dongbei produce uprights. This arrangement was extended in 1996 to include grand piano production and ended with Dongbei buying most of Daewoo’s equipment and designs after the latter ceased piano manufacture in 1997; some of Daewoo’s designers and technicians then went to work for Dongbei. In 1994 Dongbei began to export their Sagenhaft uprights to the USA....

Article

(Jap.: Hoshino Musical Instruments)

Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments. Matsujiro Hoshino founded the company in 1908 as a book and sheet music store (Hoshino Shoten) that from 1929, as Hoshino Gakki Ten, also sold guitars by Salvador Ibáñez imported from Spain. Under direction of Hoshino’s son Yoshitaro Hoshino, the company began manufacturing Ibanez-brand guitars in 1935, after Ibáñez’s workshop had been destroyed in the Spanish Civil War and the brand sold to Hoshino. In turn, the Japanese factory was destroyed in 1945, and in 1955 the Hoshino company moved to Nagoya. From that time most of their products were exported, including, from 1957, a line of newly-designed Ibanez guitars. Under Yoshitaro’s son, Junpei Hoshino, the company opened the Tama Seisakusho factory in 1962 to produce amplifiers and electric and acoustic guitars, including copies of classic American guitars that eventually led to lawsuits. Star-brand drums were added to the Tama product line in 1965, and from ...

Article

Laurence Libin

[Kong Hsue Sheh]

Manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments, headquartered in Taiwan. The company, part of a conglomerate that also includes K. H. S. Investing Co., Ltd, K. H. S. Trading Co., K. H. S. Audio Co., Ltd, Aeolus Music Corp., and Musix Co., Ltd, was founded in 1930 by Chien-Chung Hsieh and his brothers in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The company, originally named Wan-Wu (‘everything available’), was renamed Kong Hsue Sheh (‘contribute to schools and society’) after World War II; it was registered in Taipei in 1950. K. H. S. has operations in Taiwan, Japan, China, the Netherlands, and the USA (Mt Juliet, Tennessee), and a worldwide distribution network for products ranging from motorcycles to wind and string instruments and drums, mostly of student grade. In 2010 the parent company of K. H. S. had about 4200 employees and declared corporate revenue of about US$590 million, some US$295 million from instrument production and sales. Among its brands is M. Hohner, of which K. H. S. bought a majority share in ...

Article

Korg  

Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in 1968. In 1986 Yamaha bought a 40% stake in Korg.

The range of Korg instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers (such as the Polysix), synthesizer modules, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), string synthesizers, home keyboards, electronic percussion units, guitar synthesizers, samplers, electronic tuners and a vocoder. Its most successful product has been the M1 work station (...

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic instrument manufactured by Suzuki in Hamamatsu, Japan, from 1981. It resembles a zither or autoharp, both visually and in playing technique. The instrument offers 27 chords, selected by pushbuttons that are ‘strummed’ in arpeggiated form on a touch-plate. It also incorporates ‘walking bass’ and electronic percussion units. In 1983...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Chinese instrument manufacturer, based in Guangzhou. The government-owned firm was formed in 1956 from several piano-making facilities. In the 1950s they were producing four upright pianos per month for the Chinese market. In the mid-1980s the firm was granted import and export rights. By the 1990s, liberalized economic policies coupled with relatively inexpensive raw materials and very low labour costs allowed for rapid expansion.

Under the leadership of Tong Zhi Cheng beginning in 1992, the firm pursued a goal of becoming a world leader in piano sales. They invested in a climate-controlled, 93,000 m2 factory and CNC (computer numerically controlled) machinery from Germany. Foreign industry executives were hired as consultants. By the 2000s, the factory had expanded to 260,000 m2. With its own foundries, lumberyards, and sawmills, Pearl River produces nearly every part of each piano, using Chinese wood exclusively, including veneers. By 2010 the firm employed more than 4000 workers with a capacity of making 100,000 pianos per year....

Article

Roland  

Hugh Davies

Japanese company of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Osaka in 1972 by the electronics designer Ikutaro Kakehashi (who had co-founded Ace Electronic Industries in Osaka in 1955, marketing rhythm machines and Ace Tone electronic organs); it was named after the legendary medieval French hero. Expansion was rapid, and by the early 1980s the company employed over 500 people in Osaka alone. During the period 1988–90 Roland bought three foreign electronic keyboard manufacturers: Siel, Rodgers and Rhodes.

The range of Roland instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers, synthesizer modules, remote keyboard controllers, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), a digital harpsichord, home keyboards, guitar synthesizers, samplers, vocoders, sequencers and many electronic percussion devices and effects units, some under the names of Roland’s offshoots, Boss and Amdek. The company also manufactures a variety of sound equipment as well as a teaching system designed for use with Roland electronic keyboard instruments....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital instruments. The name Samick (‘three benefits’) refers to benefits to the company, its customers, and the national economy. Founded in 1958 by Hyo Ick Lee (d 1990) as a Baldwin piano distributor, the Samick Piano Co. began building uprights from imported parts under the name Horugel in 1960. In 1964 Samick became the first exporter of Korean pianos and in 1970 manufactured the first Korean grand. Guitar production began in 1965, eventually expanding to acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, banjos, and mandolins under the names Samick, Abilene, Silvertone, and the Greg Bennett Signature series. In 1973 the company was incorporated as Samick Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. In 1983 Samick engaged the German piano designer Klaus Fenner. Fenner introduced European-style scale designs and three-ply ‘surface tension’ soundboards, which are claimed not to crack or lose their crown and to suffer only a slight tonal disadvantage compared with solid spruce soundboards....

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Largest Chinese manufacturer of traditional instruments. Located in the Minhang district of Shanghai, the corporation was founded in 1958 through the consolidation of 86 small workshops. Huifang Ren led the company from its inception through 1962; Guozhen Wang has served as its director since 1998. The firm produces more than 60,000 erhus (including about 100 of top professional quality) and 40,000 guzhengs annually, and also makes pipas, ruans, yangqins, Chinese flutes, and a few non-Chinese instruments, notably marimbas. Proprietary subsidiaries of the corporation include Dunhuang Musical Instruments Company, Shanghai Guibao Musical Instruments Company, and Lankao Shanghai Musical Instruments Company in Lankao. The firm has manufactured instruments under the Dunhuang brand since 1962. In 1999 the firm signed a cooperative agreement with the Central Chinese Orchestra in Beijing, under which instruments in that orchestra have gradually been replaced with Dunhuang instruments. The firm also maintains a close relationship with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Many instruments bearing the Dunhuang brand are exported, particularly through Eason Music in Singapore....

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Manufacturer of Chinese instruments, located in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Founded in 1954 the firm nowadays produces approximately 60,000 erhus and 10,000 pipas annually. It also produces ruans, guzhengs, qins, yangqins, suonas, dizis, xiaos, paixiaos, shengs, bianqings, bianzhongs, yunluos, and several types of traditional percussion instruments, as well as some Western-style instruments, such as timpani and harps. The firm also manufactures a few specialty instruments that are essentially enlargements of traditional instruments, intended primarily for use in Chinese traditional orchestras. Among these are the laruan, which resembles a large ruan, but bowed like a cello rather than plucked; and various forms of sheng with metal pipes rather than bamboo, including a bass sheng and a large sheng with a keyboard. The firm’s main factory in Suzhou produces mostly semi-finished instruments, which are sent to a subsidiary factory, also in Suzhou, for painting and other finish work. In 2012 Tian Yongyi was the company’s director and legal representative....

Article

Ernst Heins

revised by Andrew C. McGraw

[tanji]

Ensemble of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is an acculturated band whose music was heard formerly at festive occasions and processions in the streets of Jakarta, but by the 1970s only in the outskirts to the south and in the adjacent regions of Krawang (where it is also called orkes kompeni), Bekasi, and Tangerang. Similar ensembles have appeared in Palembang (South Sumatra) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan). The instruments of the tanjidor band are the Western clarinet, trumpet, cornet, euphonium (or tuba), trombone, bass and side drum (both called tambur), a small hand cymbal (kecrek) and large crash cymbal, both struck with metal beaters, and sometimes a small gong (kenong). The drums are typically struck with sticks, or by the hands when imitating Sundanese kendang. A helicon, tenor horns, saxophones, and violin may be added. The horns sometimes include locally constructed mouthpiece extensions that lower the fundamental pitches of the instruments. A singer may join when performing adapted ...

Article

Teisco  

Anne Beetem Acker

Brand of inexpensive musical instruments owned by Kawai since 1967. Teisco grew from a firm originally called Aoi Onpa Kenkyujo, or Hollyhock Soundwave Laboratories, founded in 1946 by the guitarist Atswo Kaneko and electrical engineer Doryu Matsuda. The name was changed to Nippon Onpa Kogyo Co. in 1956 and to Teisco Co. in 1964. The Teisco brand name, first used in 1948, initially covered microphones, amplifiers, and a lap steel guitar. In 1952 the firm produced an acoustic Spanish guitar modelled after that of Gibson, with a microphone pickup. In 1954 Teisco introduced their first solid-body electric guitars, copied from a Les Paul design. The guitars were sold under various names at discount stores in the USA (as Teisco Del Rey, Kingston, Silvertone, Kent, Beltone, Duke, World Teisco) and the UK (as Arbiter, Sonatone, Audition, Kay, Top Twenty). In the early 1960s Teisco released the EB-1 bass electric guitar and began making electric guitars with unusual shapes. In ...