Musical toys are some of the most sought-after audio equipment in avant garde music genres. This phenomenon has made primitive, electronic instruments into collectibles. In addition to the sheer novelty of collecting poor quality, low-fi objects, the idea of toy keyboards from the eighties as collectibles speaks to the high-speed rate of progress in audio. It also highlights an increasingly popular fun-loving approach to collectibles. What was a child’s toy twenty years ago is now a novel relic from the past; even though that past might be a part of the collector’s own recollection. Because audio technology has grown eons since the first electronic keyboards, a working toy Casio (or one of its knock-offs) can be quite collectible.
Casio was a Japanese electronics company and put out professional synthesizers from 1980 to 1992. They also made toy pianos that ran on batteries and were the stripped-down-versions of their adult counterparts. Toy Casios had synthesized drum beats – accessible at the push of a button and with tempo changes. The pianos also had limited recording capability and horn and guitar synth’ sounds. They had playback and “pitch bending” capabilities.
Toy keyboards are a popular, new collectible that can be used for recordings as well as for show. They speak to a time when mobile electronic audio was in its nascent stage; when playing a synthesizer was great fun for children and adults alike. Now those same children who gained in musical aptitude from playing with their toy casios have grown up and enjoy collecting!
Here’s a video of a music duo that combines a classical musical instrument, the harp, with the stylings of the retro piano: