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(1) In musical instruments, the levers and keys arranged in a specific order; one of the main parts of a keyboard mechanism. It normally consists of keys, a frame, and middle (axial) and forward (guide) pins. It was first used in the 12th century in organs, which usually had a foot keyboard (pedals) in addition to the manuals. In reed keyboard instruments, such as the accordion, the keyboard consists of a row of buttons on fingerboards and on the body itself. In wind instruments the term is sometimes used to designate the valve mechanism.
(2) The keys on any mechanism (a typewriter, calculator, and so on).
Keyboards were originally part of terminals which were separate peripheral devices that performed both input and output and communicated with the computer via a serial line. Today a keyboard is more likely to be connected more directly to the processor, allowing the processor to scan it and detect which key or keys are currently pressed. Pressing a key sends a low-level key code to the keyboard input driver routine which translates this to one or more characters or special actions.
Keyboards vary in the keys they have, most have keys to generate the ASCII character set as well as various function keys and special purpose keys, e.g. reset or volume control.
keyboardThere are numerous entries for the types of keyboards used with computers and mobile devices in this encyclopedia, as follows:
Major CategoriesSubcategoriesModels computer keyboard PC keyboard PC/XT keyboard AT keyboard Enhanced keyboard Windows keyboard smartphone keyboard cellphone keyboard virtual keyboard KALQ keyboard SwypeKeyboard Layouts QWERTY keyboard Dvorak keyboard AZERTY keyboard Internet keyboard POS keyboard programmable keyboard thumb keyboardKeyboard Architectures physical keyboard chiclet keyboard mechanical keyboard membrane keyboard portable keyboard chorded keyboard ergonomic keyboard premium keyboardKeyboard Models Das Keyboard Avant Stellar keyboard Bat keyboard Maltron keyboard OmniKey keyboard Butterfly keyboard