Electronic Music
Mr. Freebern
Oct. 27th/ 2009
Daniel Yun Shin



The Development of Synthesizer


Hello there, my name is Daniel, and I came out here to help you understanding the early era of the synthesizer. Well, let me tell you how a synthesizer is constructed. It has a VCO which generates the sound, a VCF that gives specific effect on the wave that is generated, a VCA amplify the sound and signal that come in to it, and a LFO gives little flavor by adding low frequency to each parts of. Each invention that many people made through the history of the electronic music has something to do with the formation of those basic parts of the synthesizer.
Let there be light! Edison first made Singing Arc, which generated sound through the arc, with voltage. The pitch of the sound was controlled by the voltage. As you can easily figure out, that was very first VCO that came out to the world. Also, across the Atlantic ocean, in the Italy, Group of people made other kind of VCO called Intonorumori. This machine that is basically a sound generating box with string in it, was also considered as VCO. The idea of making sound with electronic devices just begins with those very experimental inventions. Also, there were other VCOs around the time, such as the Musical Telegraph, and Telharphonium.
Now, it is time to amplify the sound. Triodes were used to amplify the sound in Audion Piano that Lee De Forest invented. Then very remarkable invention, Vacuum tube came out. It was used in various electronic instruments, such as the Theremin, the Rythmicon, and the Ondes-Martenot. Later, Transistor was invented, and instruments such as Ketoff could have advantage in size.
As many inventions were made, variety of ways to trigger the sound came out. While many instruments used conventional Keyboard, the Theremin was controlled by the change in distance, the Ondes-Martenot used Keyboard and polling cord with additional buttons, Vocoder used players’ Voice as the trigger, and RCA Mark II used Paper role. Even among just plain Keyboard Controlled, there are differences. While other electronic instruments were all monophonic-meaning that one pitch could be made at a time, Pianoradd started using Polyphonic Keyboards. And also, Melodium had a touch-sensitive keyboard which let players to control the magnitude of the sound with the pressure that they are applying to the keyboard.
Multimonica which had two keyboards was very first instrument to have an idea of the VCF. It subtracts specific harmonics from the original wave. Of course the original wave was saw tooth wave to give all the harmonics to start with.
As the technology gets advanced more and more, the magnetic tapes allow people to sample the sounds. Oramics and Synclavier are the examples of the sampler functioned synthesizers.
So now, most of important and necessary parts of basic the synthesizer is all gathered together. Then the legendary synthesizer of all time, the Moog comes out with all those parts together. Later, Digital technology advanced the synthesizer even more and synthesizer such as DX7 came out.
Of course, there are lots of synthesizers coming out until now, but the story above is how it came to previous form of synthesizer. And I am very interested to see further development on the world of electronic music.