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Article

Ableton  

Brandon Smith

Music production software company based in Berlin, with a branch in New York. Ableton (Ableton AG) was founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf. Its main product is a computer program called Live, which was released in 2001. This is a digital audio workstation (DAW) environment for recording audio and MIDI with an emphasis on working in real time, essentially allowing the user to play the software as an instrument. Practically any operation can be controlled via MIDI. Since its introduction, Live has become popular among electronic music artists for its ability to allow spontaneous manipulation of audio in a performance situation. Many manufacturers of MIDI controllers have developed control surfaces for Live, bridging the gap between software and hardware....

Article

Hugh Davies

An Electronic organ designed by Jerome Markowitz (1917–91) between 1937 and 1939, and manufactured from 1939 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and from 1953 in nearby Macungie. The Allen Organ Co. was founded in 1945; besides many models of the organ, it has manufactured two electronic harpsichords (introduced in ...

Article

Hugh Davies and Anne Beetem Acker

Microcomputer designed by Steve Jobs (b San Francisco, 25 Feb 1955; d Palo Alto, 5 Oct 2011) with Steve Wozniak (b San Jose, CA, 11 Aug 1950) and manufactured in various versions from 1977 until 1993 by Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, California. It has been widely used in musical and other contexts. The Apple II consists of a single box for the logic circuitry (based on the MOS 6502 microprocessor) with an integral alphanumeric keyboard, and attached peripherals typically including a visual display unit, two disc drives, a printer, and joysticks. The original Apple II included a monophonic speaker and one-bit sound capability that could be made to sound like two or three simultaneous voices....

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Coleman County, TX, March 18, 1899; d at sea nr Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 1941). American inventor of musical instruments. He was co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation and the Rickenbacker guitar company. He played the violin and the lap steel (‘Hawaiian’) guitar in vaudeville before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked with John and Rudy Dopyera to develop an acoustically amplified guitar, probably inspired by Stroh models. An early model with a Victrola horn failed, but trials using conical aluminium resonators within a metal guitar body (a prototype of the three-cone Dobro guitar) proved successful and attracted investors. Production of metal-body guitars under the name National soon involved Adolph Rickenbacker’s nearby tool and die shop....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Synthesizer module manufacturer founded by John Blacet (b 1946) in 1978 as Blacet Music Research in Lakeview, Oregon. Blacet initially made kits for analogue modules including a digital pattern generator, a voltage-controlled clock with event arranger, a phase filter, and a frequency divider, followed by analogue delay modules, the ‘Dark Star’ (a mini noise module) and the ‘Syn-bow’, a self-contained wand-controlled synthesizer. With the popularity of digital synthesizers in the 1980s Blacet’s business plummeted, but renewed interest in analogue synthesis in the 1990s enabled him to produce a full line of kit and assembled analogue synthesizer modules in the Frac format. These modules are noted for fitting a large amount of functionality into very small modules. In spring ...

Article

Carvin  

Matthew Hill

Firm of musical instrument manufacturers and distributors, primarily of electric guitars, amplifiers and sound-reinforcement equipment. The company was founded in 1946 in Los Angeles, California by Hawaiian guitarist Lowell C. Kiesel (b Eustis, NE, 22 Feb 1915; d San Diego, 28 Dec 2009) as the L.C. Kiesel Company. In the late 1940s the company relocated to Gothenburg, Nebraska. In ...

Article

Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in ...

Article

Kyle Devine

American manufacturer of electronic keyboards and drum machines. The company was founded in Upland, California, by Harry Chamberlin in the late 1940s. Instead of the electronic circuits and digital processors used to generate sound in most synthesizers, Chamberlins replay the sounds of existing instruments and effects recorded to electromagnetic tape. In using prerecorded sound, Chamberlins are considered forerunners of digital sampling techniques and technologies....

Article

Clavia  

Brandon Smith

Swedish producer of virtual analogue synthesizers and digital organ and electric piano emulations. The company was founded in 1983 in Stockholm by Hans Nordelius (b1949) and Mikael Carlsson, and it sells its products under the brand name Nord. Clavia’s first product, the Digital Percussion Plate 1, introduced in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

Electronic organ originally designed by Earle L. Kent (who later developed the electronic music box) and manufactured in a large number of models by C.G. Conn of Elkhart, Indiana, from about 1947. It was known until the mid-1950s as the Connsonata. The organs were later made in Carol Stream, Illinois, and from about ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Brand name for a 41-note electronic piano accordion and for electronic organs and pianos and amplifiers. These were manufactured by CRB Elettronica of Ancona, Italy, from about 1960 into the 1970s and distributed by Chicago Musical Instrument Co. (CMI). While there are similarities with electronic instruments made by Farfisa (also distributed by CMI), the Cordovox schematic diagrams are clearly marked with CRB’s logo. Most models of Cordovox organ have one manual, but the CDX has two. An unusual feature of this model is the ‘Arpeggio/Glissando’ switch which when set to ‘Arpeggio’ allows the player to hold a chord on the lower manual, and the chord will arpeggiate using the sustain voices. Similarly, the ‘Glissando’ setting will cause a chromatic sustained glissando. The two-manual CDX-0652 ‘White Elephant’ is a Cordovox organ with a built-in Moog Satellite monosynth, designed by Thomas Organ, which bought the rights to the Moog Satellite. The synthesizer voices play only from the upper manual, the organ on both. The CDX-P425 and CRD-P423 are 60-key electronic pianos....

Article

Crumar  

Hugh Davies and Anne Beetem Acker

Italian manufacturer of electronic keyboard instruments, founded in the early 1970s in Castelfidardo, near Ancona. The firm was named after its founder, Mario Crucianelli, and his partner F. Marchetti. The Crucianelli family already owned a large accordion firm that had designed the first electronic accordion, but disputes led Mario and his brother Vincenzo to leave and form Crumar. Mario’s son Sante worked as sales manager and as a marketing/engineering liaison. Crumar’s early range (produced from about ...

Article

Cwejman  

Anne Beetem Acker

Swedish producer of analogue synthesizers, founded and solely operated in Kungälv by the Polish engineer Wlodzimierz (Wowa) Cwejman (b 1949). Cwejman began building the analogue synthesizer ‘Synthra’ to custom order in the 1970s, but dropped out of the field to work in industrial electronics when digital synthesizers came on the market. In ...

Article

Brandon Smith

American manufacturer of synthesizer modules, based in Glendale, California. The company was founded in 2002 by Cynthia Webster, an electronic music artist and synthesizer module designer. While in high school in the 1970s, Webster bought an ARP 2600 synthesizer and soon thereafter went to study with Jim Michmerhuizen (author of the ARP 2600 user’s manual) at the Boston School of Electronic Music; she then studied electronic music at San Francisco State University and Mills College. In ...

Article

Daewoo  

Anne Beetem Acker

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital pianos. Founded in 1967 as Daewoo Industrial, the large conglomerate Daewoo International Corp. is named for its founder, Kim Woo-jung. In 1977 the Daewoo Precision Industries division purchased the Sojin musical instrument factory of Yeoju, Korea. Sojin had been making guitars; it added upright pianos in ...

Article

Dimi  

Hugh Davies

A digital synthesizer developed by the Finnish composer and electronic designer Erkki Kurenniemi (b Hämeenlinna, 1941), with Jukka Ruohomäki (b 1947), and manufactured by Digelius Electronics in Helsinki between 1971 and the late 1970s. An early example of the digital synthesizer, the Dimi resembles neither more recent digital instruments nor the analogue synthesizers of its own period. On a small tablet (40 × 40 cm) a printed circuit is laid out in a fan shape, with 46 terminations; a stylus is used to make all interconnections and operate all controls through the tablet (though the tablet and stylus may be replaced by an alphanumeric keyboard). The system also includes a television screen, which can receive input from a television camera; the graphic images shown on the screen can then be converted into sound, in a manner analogous to the techniques of graphic sound. The Dimi contains a range of modules similar to those on a small modular synthesizer, as well as a memory, which can be used as a rhythm generator. A recording ‘DIMI 1’, featuring Ruohomäki as performer in works by Bach, Kurenniemi, and Ruohomäki, was released in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Line of MIDI-based reproducing player pianos introduced by Yamaha Corporation in 1982 (1986 in North America). The Disklavier system combines an acoustic piano with an electromechanical player-piano system. As in other such systems, fibre-optic sensors register the movement of keys, hammers, and pedals during performance, while the digital controller operates a bank of solenoids installed under the piano’s key bed; one solenoid is positioned under the tail of each key, with additional solenoids connected to the pedal rods. Performance information is stored digitally on CD-ROM, floppy discs (still used for many accompaniments for instructional piano material), or a hard drive. Disklavier systems can be connected to sequencers, tone modules, and computers via MIDI and Ethernet. A built-in speaker system attached to the case under the soundboard is used to play back optional digital piano sound and especially for playback of accompanying orchestral or vocal tracks....

Article

Hugh Davies

A polyphonic digital synthesizer developed by Dean Wallraff in the late 1970s and manufactured by his company Digital Music Systems of Boston, MA (originally Brooklyn, NY) beginning in 1980. The DMX-1000 was designed to be controlled by a master computer, such as the PDP 11 made by the Digital Equipment Corporation (which also forms part of the DMX-...

Article

Brandon Smith

German manufacturer of electronic music products, particularly MIDI controllers and modular synthesizers. The company was founded in Munich by Dieter Doepfer in 1977. The first products were modules for other companies’ systems, such as Formant and PMS (Polyphonic Modular System). In the late 1980s and early 90s the focus shifted mainly to MIDI controllers and MIDI-to-CV converters (devices that create analogue voltages from a MIDI input). In ...

Article

British firm of Synthesizer and electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Putney, London, by Peter Zinovieff in 1969, and subsequently owned by Datanomics of Wareham, Dorset (from 1979), the composer Edward Williams (from 1982), and Robin Wood (from 1995). Since the 1980s it has been based near Truro, Cornwall. The company’s best-known product is the Putney or VCS-3. ...