Let’s start with the concept of synthesis (not the synthesizer itself just yet; that’s for later!). In essence, sound synthesis makes use of electronics to produce electrical signals that, ultimately, we hear as sound. There is a great number of different methods of synthesis. Early analogue synthesizers date back to the 1960s and 70s, with some of the most famous designs being created by synth pioneers Robert Moog and Don Buchla. Among the many other types of synth methods are wavetable synthesis, frequency modulation, physical modelling and sample-based synthesis. Sample-based synthesis is, perhaps, one of the most widely used synth methods employed in modern digital keyboard instruments, and it works exactly as its name implies – the sounds of real instruments are captured (or rather, sampled) and stored within the instrument, ready for the musician to play from the keyboard. Because of its ability to faithfully reproduce sounds in very high quality, sample-based synthesis forms the basis for many keyboards, digital pianos, stage pianos and, of course, synthesizers. So, if the synthesis technology can be common to all of these instruments, what exactly is the difference between them? Let’s examine each type.