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date: 18 November 2019

Sal-Mar Constructionlocked

  • Hugh Davies
  • , revised by Gilbert Chase
  •  and Jean Geil


Hybrid digital-analogue electronic instrument, developed from 1968 to 1971 at the University of Illinois in Urbana by a team led by the composer Salvatore Martirano (1927–95; after whom the instrument was named) and including Sergio Franco. In its early stages it was called the Mar-vil; a later version (1987–8) was called the yahaSALmaMAC. In the Sal-Mar Construction an interactive control panel carries 291 touch-sensitive switches (without moving parts) that connect through the player’s body to a source of electrical current. By means of these controls the performer can select from a large reservoir of programmed material and modify and reshape every aspect of it by dialling number sequences representing various intervals and durations. A sequence can bypass, address, or join other sequences. The control interface allows all output data parameters to be managed manually or digitally during performance. Any one of four ‘orchestras’ (including two ‘percussion ensembles’) can be selected at a time. The music is spatially distributed over 24 lightweight loudspeakers suspended above and around the audience. Martirano gave many solo performances on the instrument in the USA and abroad. In ...

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Perspectives of New Music