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The Rock-Si-Chord (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Rocksichord or Roxichord)[citation needed] is an electronic keyboard invented in 1967 to approximate the sound of the harpsichord.[1]

As its name suggests, it was intended primarily for use in rock music, where a standard acoustic harpsichord would be drowned out.

The Rock-Si-Chord, manufactured by Rocky Mount Instruments (RMI), a division of Allen Organs Inc, was a solid-state instrument using one or two transistor oscillators per key, and was the first example of a type of instrument generally known as the electronic piano (contrast electric piano). Later RMI instruments also included piano sounds.

The prototype Rock-Si-Chord gave the Philadelphia psychedelic rock band The Mandrake Memorial their signature sound.[citation needed]

Composer George Crumb specifies the use of an electric harpsichord in his 1968 composition "Songs, Drones, and Refrains of Death";[citation needed] however, he does not specifically call in the score for a Rock-Si-Chord, and thus it could also refer to a Baldwin Combo Harpsichord, an electromechanical instrument dating from the same era.

Around the same time Terry Riley used a Rock-Si-Chord, among other keyboard instruments, in his piece "A Rainbow in Curved Air" (1969).[citation needed]

Orchestrator Jonathan Tunick used a combined Rock-Si-Chord/Electric Piano in the Stephen Sondheim musical Company (1970). He considers the instrument now obsolete and recommends the use of a current electric keyboard.[citation needed]

Later notable examples include the 1990s band Quasi, but it has also been used in jazz (by Call Cobbs, Jr. and Sun Ra).[citation needed]

Artists and groups using a Rock-Si-Chord[edit]


  1. ^ "RMI Rock-Si-Chord does the whole bit". Billboard. Vol. 79 no. 40. Billboard Publications, Inc. October 7, 1967. p. 16.