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date: 18 November 2019


  • Hugh Davies


Electronic keyboard instrument (not a piano) designed by Hugo Gernsback and constructed in 1926 at the Radio News Laboratories in New York by Clyde J. Fitch. The name conflates ‘piano’ and ‘radio’. Apparently it evolved from Gersback’s Staccatone. It had a two-octave polyphonic keyboard (cc″) in a console the size of a harmonium. The keyboard controlled 25 oscillators which produced virtually sinusoidal waveforms; each note had its own loudspeaker diaphragm, and all 25 diaphragms were mounted on a single large loudspeaker horn on top of the console. The Pianorad was used for some time in broadcasts from New York. An 88-note version was planned but apparently not completed.

C.J. Fitch: ‘How to Build the “Pianorad”: Construction of the Instrument Combining the Piano and Radio’, Radio News, vol.8 (1926–7), 655–6 H. Gernsback: ‘The “Pianorad”: a New Musical Instrument which Combines Piano and Radio Principles’, Radio News, vol.8 (1926–7), 493...

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Contemporary Keyboard