Broadly speaking, the term electronic keyboard or just a keyboard can refer to any type of digital or electronic keyboard instrument. These include synthesizers, digital pianos, stage pianos, electronic organs and digital audio workstations. However, an electronic keyboard is more specifically a synthesizer with a built-in low-wattage power amplifier and small loudspeakers.
Electronic keyboards are capable of recreating a wide range of instrument sounds (piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, pipe organ, violin, etc.) and synthesizer tones with less complex sound synthesis. Electronic keyboards are usually designed for home users, beginners and other non-professional users. They typically have unweighted keys. The least expensive models do not have velocity-sensitive keys, but mid- to high-priced models do. Home keyboards typically have little, if any, digital sound editing capacity. The user typically selects from a range of preset "voices" or sounds, which include imitations of many instruments and some electronic synthesizer sounds. Home keyboards have a much lower cost than professional synthesizers. Casio and Yamaha are among the leading manufacturers of home keyboards. An electronic keyboard may also be called a digital keyboard, portable keyboard, or home keyboard referring to their digital-based sound generation, light-weight and portable build. In China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia (particularly Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand), electronic keyboards were often mistakenly referred to as an organ, due to popularity of home electronic organs in those countries and keyboards/synthesizers being considered a similar instrument.
The white and black piano-style keys which the player presses thus connect the switches, which trigger the electronic circuits to generate sound. Most keyboards use a keyboard matrix circuit to reduce the amount of wiring necessary. Electronic keyboards often use un weighted synthesizer-style keys to save costs and reduce the weight of the instrument. In contrast, stage piano and digital pianos typically have weighted or semi-weighted keys, which replicate the feel of an acoustic piano.