Electronic Instruments

Hydraulis - one of the first major instruments, that pumped water to create the ability to play sound
The Musical Telegraph (Elisha Gray) - one of the first electronic music instruments. Assigned pitches to a telegraph to make sound
Telharmonium (Thaddeus Cahil) - very large instrument and considered the firat major electronic instrument. Weighted 200 tons and costed $200,000 to make
Optophonic Piano - played a notes and a colored lighted was emitted
Theremin - machine that uses your hand to adjust the frequencies and another to adjust the amplitude
Vacuum Tube- amplifies sound, lead to the VCA
Rhythmicon - a rhythmic instrument that did whole number multiples of whatever the first note was
Ondes-Martenot - had a string to control certain pitch and was played like a piano, like a theremin but with more control of the pitch
Musique Concrete - takes samples and cuts up music tape, then pastes them back together to make different noises
Hammond B-3 - first instrument that people were buying to put in their home
RCA Mark 2 - a bunch of oscillators put together and paper with holes is fed through and it triggers an oscillator when there is a hole
Moog Modular Synthesis/Mini Moog - can only play one note at a time
Polymoog - allowed you to play more then one note at a time, very portable
Yamaha DX7 - most important synthesizer. Had FM synthesis, digital algorithm


The Synket was was the first portable voltage controlled synthesizer. It was made in Rome, Italy in 1964, and created by Paul Ketoff for the composer John Eaton. Eaton used this instrument in many of his compositions.
The Synket has three small keyboards, each of which controlled a single tone, and connected to a different modulator. It had three LFO's, one to frequency of the square wave generator, a different frequency of the filter, and the third for amplitude.
It was designed after the Fonosynth, but could easily be used in a concert as a traditional instrument.
It was relatively small and convienent instrument.
It was monophonic and ment to be played in live performances.
The Synket came out a decade before the mini moog.
Could be controlled for vibrato and amplitude.
A filter with controllable frequency between 40Hz-20Hz
Touch sensitive keyboards, had aftertouch.

Paolo_ketoff_synket.jpg synket.gif synket.jpg

Class Instrument Research

Singing Arc - was discovered by William Duddell, arc lamps have an electrical hum which is from fluctuating the electric current. Duddell discovered a way to control the pitch of the hum thus creating the singing arc. Did not use telephone wires

Intinirumori - acoustic noise generators (that were cranked)

Audion Piano - made by Lee Deforest and combined two signals to create a third one, basically FM synthesis

Piano Rad - designed by Hugo Gemsback and was based on emptiness valves counted on 25 oscillating, and a loudspeaker was mooted in a platform on keyboard (polyphonic) (1923)

Wurlitzer SideMan - manufactured from 1959-1969, was the world's first drum machine, and could create drum patterns using a small electric motor inside, creating popular drum rhythms depending on your genre and specific instrument sounds

Mellotron - created in the 1960's and it uses magnetic strips with the recorded 8-second sample

EMS Synthesizer - invented by Peter Zinovieff, it was a small, compact synthesizer, it had a unique patch board matrix, used vector synthesis

Free Music Machine - made by Percy Granger in 1948 and it had 8 oscillators and 8 amplifiers, 4 on each side, they could all be played simultaneously, it had 7 different voices and could play any pitch in those 7 voices, you didn't actually play it, you would turn it on, it was chance music

Multimonica - created in 1940 and was produced by Hohner GmbH, one of the first mass produced electronic analog synthesizers, combination of a reed organ (lower) and a monophonic sawtooth synthesizer

Vocoder - generates synthesis from vocals

Documentary Questions

1. How was Moog’s original music and instruments received by the masses?
People thought that it wasn't natural.
2. Before 1968 how much electronic music was being heard?
Not much at all, just funny sounds sounds on commercials
3. The album that changed the view of electronic music was entitled _
Switched on Bach
4. Moog's original Synth modules were built in what year?
5. Vladamir Ussachevsky defined specific controls that shape the sound. The control was called the _
Envelope (ADSR)
6. How does Moog view the relationship between the circuit board and the human mind?
That the circuit board is like the human mind, and that the human mind can connect to the instrument
7. What technique does the musician use to accurately change pitch on the Theremin?
With your hand in relation to the Theremin; all proximity
8. What instrument was Moog initially obsessed with; served as the thread for most of his instrument creations?
The Theremin
9. What is moog’s thought on the most important aspect of music?
Musicians and listeners interacting
10. Why did he feel that his instruments were built for live performance?
Because live performances are the most basic form of music, and that studio recording is just an emulation of real music