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f  r  o  m    a  n  a  l  o  g  u  e    t  o    m  i  c  r  o
Since this site is not intended as a reference to the development of musical instruments and/or technical developments, documentation is therefore kept basic. On the other hand it is necessary to follow it only to understand what it means for the music.

In chapter six, the Moog, VCS 3, Buchla and others were reviewed. All of them were analogue machines and most of them monophonic (one note at the time). Of course they couldn’t compete with keyboard instruments like the piano, but technical developments meant that they were hard on their heels. Musicians asked for polyphonic and touch sensitive keyboards and they got it all. In the early seventies duophonic keyboards came onto the market (e.g. the Moog Sonic Six and ARP 2600). In 1970 Hugh Le Caine introduced his first touch sensitive and polyphonic synthesizer. It was followed by the Polymoog in 1975 and Korg PS-3300 and Roland’s Jupiter range.

But inside all these instruments there was a revolution going on. If you look at the Sound Synthesizer it measures about the size of a room. The Korg, just to pick one out, could stand on a medium sized table already.
Technicians all over the world were delving into the world of small-mini-micro. Around 1957 Max Mathews (1926-2011) at Bell Labs used for the first time a DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) and the first musical programming language: MUSIC I.

After that, developments came thick and fast. A summary of some (not all) dazzling facts:
integrated circuits (1958) and transistorized computers (1959). Max Mathews produced MUSIC III in 1960, existing of the first modular unit generator music synthesis language. In 1962 Bell Labs established the first mass production of transistors and professional amplifiers. In 1964 BASIC, the first computer language is developed and in the same year the computer mouse was prototyped.
TEAC build the first consumer multi track tape –deck (1968). 1970 gave birth to Intel’s First Random Access Memory (RAM) circuit and the year after that they developed the microprocessor. TCP, the network protocol, introduced the world to internet (1974). In 1975 Microsoft started and in the same year Commodore (MOS Technology) built KIM-1, the first microcomputer. 1975 was also the year Synclavier prototyped the first working all digital synthesizer.
In 1976 the KIM-1 was used by Dave Behrman for a performance of On the Other Ocean. One year later Apple was set up in 1976. The same year Roland launched their System-700 modular analogue synthesizer; Japan’s first commercial modular system. Atari produced the 800 microcomputer in 1978 and 5.25 inch floppy disks became the standard. Digital multi track became possible in 1980 and the TCP/IP protocol for internet was accepted as the industry standard. 1982 was a special year: the Commodore 64 computer was launched, the first CD was released, E-mu built the first commercial sampler synthesizer and just one year after that the first MIDI synthesizers appear on the market. Yamaha’s DX7 is the first with MIDI, In 1984 already the first multi-touch screens were developed (Bell Labs). One year later there was Windows 1.0 (1985) and a year after that DAT (digital audio recorders) were established and became popular.

More and more computerised systems were used in favour of the old tape-decks, hand build oscillators and other machines. The new systems were smaller and cheaper. But there was another development: the new machines were used by all kinds of musicians and people with an interest in electronic music. The elite-culture (all the official electronic music studios with highly educated people) felt the pressure of this new culture. Positively though electronic music became very popular, thus developed a basic condition for growth.

1987 saw the Apple Macintosh II. Korg showed the M1, the first music workstation in 1988, which was also the first year in which CD sales were greater than LP’s.
The 1990s saw Windows 3.0; the writable CD (Sony); MP3 as a new standard, QuickTime (Apple) and in 1991 the first WWW (World Wide Web) software released with HTTP protocol (it became common in 1994).
 In 1992 IBM built its first ThinkPad laptop. Yamaha introduces the first consumer friendly mixer and Windows it’s 95-version. Don Buchla, still alive, develops the Lightning II controller. In 1997 the first DVD was introduced as the new standard. 1998 was the year of the portable MP3 players, Pentium II and Windows 98. One year later SACD (super audio cd) was launched by Sony/Philips.
A new age (2000) with new toys: the Apple iPod and Windows XP. In 2001 JMSL (Java Music Specification language) music programming released. In 2003 Apple introduced iTunes and the iPod becomes the most popular music player. One step further and the same Apple releases Garageband, consumer software with the possibility to create your own music on a computer. By 2008 Multicore computers are common, music can be downloaded and more and more touch-instruments are seen (phones).

Now we have Windows 8, the iPAD from Apple and most music is downloaded. Over 1000 computer music studios exist in universities and official institutions, not to mention the amateur studios and personal studios. Using faster and smaller machines and highly developed software, almost everybody can make (electronic -) music now. But is it worth listening to? That’s the question!

* most facts on this page come from: A Chronology of Electronic and Computer Music and related events (Paul Doornbusch - www.doornbusch.net)

Klaus Schulze
with the KORG PS-3300 in the yellow circle

KIM-1 from MOS (later on Commodore)

Yamaha DX 7

15th Birthday of IBM ThinkPad
IBM Thinkpad

Software for everybody?