Chronology of synth DIY

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This chronology of synth DIY shows a sequence of groundbreaking events and related circumstances in the history of DIY electronic music instrument creation, concentrating on electrically produced sounds and excluding electromechanical musical instruments.

Timeline

For more depth on a subject most external links go to a Wikipedia article. Usually only the first occurrence is shown.

Year Synth DIY Background
1816 First working electrical telegraph (UK)
1837 Charles Grafton Page observes what he later calls "galvanic music" (USA).
1863 On the Sensations of Tone book by Hermann von Helmholtz (Germany)
1876 Telephone by Alexander Graham Bell (USA)
1896 Telharmonium by Thaddeus Cahill (USA)
1898
1900 William Duddell demonstrates his singing arc. (UK)
1906 Audion invented by Lee de Forest (USA)
1908 Hugo Gernsback publishes first hobby electronics magazine Modern Electrics (USA)
1885
  • On the Sensations of Tone translated to English (UK)
1905 Helmholtz sound synthesizer by Max Kohl (Germany)
1912
1913
1915 Audion piano (USA)
1919
1921 RadioShack retailer, until 2015 (USA)
1924 The Staccatone project in Practical Electrics (USA)[2]
1925 Bell Labs (USA)
1928
1929
1930 Trautonium by Friedrich Trautwein (Germany)
1934 Invention of the ring modulator by Frank A. Cowan (USA)
1935 Hammond organ (USA)
1937 Warbo Formant Organ by Harald Bode (Germany)
1938
1939 Novachord by Laurens Hammond (USA)
1941
1942
1944 Ta'abir al-Zaar, (The Expression of Zaar) musique concrète by Halim El-Dabh (Egypt)
1945 Hugh Le Caine's Electronic Sackbut (Canada)

Wide availability of war surplus electronics.[3][4]

1946

  • Raymond Scott establishes Manhattan Research (USA)
  • Magnetic tape recorder mass produced (USA)[5]

1947

1948

1949

14 year old Bob Moog builds a theremin from plans printed in Electronics World. (USA)

1950

1951 Studio für elektronische Musik des Westdeutschen Rundfunks (Germany)
1952 Raymond Scott begins to develop the Clavivox, patented in 1959. (USA) A la recherche d’une musique concrète book by Pierre Schaeffer (France)

1954

Bob Moog sells theremin kits by mail order. (USA)

1955

1956

Forbidden Planet soundtrack by Bebe and Louis Barron (USA)

1957

1958

1959

  • Modular synthesizer by Harald Bode of the Wurlitzer Organ Co. (USA)
  • MOSFET (USA)

1960

Dermatron by Bruce Haack (USA)[note 1]
  • Elektuur magazine (The Netherlands)
  • Audio System Synthesiser demonstrated at the AES convention by Harald Bode (USA)
  • Rhythm Synthesizer by Raymond Scott (USA)
  • Pitch Sequencer by Raymond Scott (USA)

1961

DIY Theremin by Dan Horowitz, Electronics Illustrated magazine (USA)

1962

Herb Deutsch assembles a theremin from a Bob Moog kit. (USA)

1963

1964

Practical Electronics magazine (UK)

Moog Synthesizer by Herb Deutsch and Bob Moog (USA)

1965

µA709 first commercially successful monolithic IC op-amp (USA)

1966

Good Vibrations hit single by The Beach Boys (USA)

1967

1968

Switched-On Bach studio album by Wendy Carlos (USA)

1969

1970

Bruce Haack meets Raymond Scott (USA)[9]

1971

Psych-Tone by Don Lancaster in Popular Electronics magazine (USA)

1972

Electronotes Newsletter by Bernie Hutchins until 2020 (USA)

While still at high school Hal Chamberlin builds an analog music synthesizer (USA)[note 2]

1973

  • Atem studio album by Tangerine Dream (Germany)
  • Buchla 300 hybrid analog/digital synthesizer (USA)

1974

Serge (USA)

1975

1976

Synapse: The Electronic Music Magazine until 1979 (USA)

1977

  • Elektor Formant synthesizer project by C. Chapman (The Netherlands)
  • Uli Behringer DIY builds the UB-1 (Switzerland)
  • Gristleizer by Chris Carter from Phonosonics kit (UK)
  • Nueva Generacion de Instrumentos Musicales Electronicos book by Juan Bermudez Costa (Spain)
  • Apple II computer (USA)
  • TRS-80 computer (USA)
  • Yamaha CS-80 (Japan)
  • SSM 20x0 synthesizers ICs (USA)
  • CMOS cookbook book by Don Lancaster (USA)
  • IC Op-Amp Cookbook book by Walter G. Jung (USA)
  • Techniques for computer music article by Hal Chamberlin in Byte magazine (USA)[10]
  • I Feel Love hit song (Germany)

1978

1979

1980

1981

1982

Electronic Music Circuits by Barry Klein (USA)

1983

1984

Roland Juno-106 (Japan)

1985

Digital Polyphonic Keyboard project by D. G. Greaves, Wireless World (UK)

1986

Electronic Synthesiser Construction book by R. A. Penfold (UK)

Internet (USA)

1987

1988

1989

1991

1992 Analogue Heaven mailing list (USA)

1994

J. Donald Tillman publishes till.com (USA)

Analogue Systems (UK)

1995

Synth-diy mailing list (The Netherlands)[11]

1996

Doepfer creates the Eurorack format with the A-100 (Germany)

1997

1998

MOTM by Paul Schreiber (USA)

1999

  • Synth Secrets series by Gordon Reid, Sound On Sound, May 1999, until 2004 (UK)
  • VSTi specification by Steinberg (Germany)
2000

2003

Ray Wilson publishes Music From Outer Space website (USA)

electro-music.com[14] (USA)

2005

Yves Usson publishes Yusynth website (France)

2006

  • Mod Wiggler forum (Canada)
  • Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking book by Nicolas Collins (USA)

2008

2010

Befaco (Spain)

2011

synthCube (USA)

2012

Synth DIY Wiki (UK)

2013

Bastl Instruments (Czech Republic)

  • Korg Volca series (Japan)[17]
  • Make: Analog Synthesizers book by Ray Wilson (USA)

2015

Modular Addict (USA)

2016

ALFA RPAR AS produces IC for synth and audio (Latvia)

2018

Sound Semiconductor (USA)

2019

  • Modular Station Internet radio & web portal (France)
  • Synthesizer: So funktioniert elektronische Klangerzeugung book by Florian Anwander (Germany)
2020 Global chip shortage

Notes

  1. ^ Can't find better dates for Bruce Haack's electronic creations.
  2. ^ Exact year uncertain.

References

  1. ^ First Radio Hams / Amateurs, Electronics Notes
  2. ^ The ‘Staccatone’. Hugo Gernsback & C.J.Fitch. USA, 1923, 120 Years of Electronic Music
  3. ^ The Death Of Surplus by Brandon Dunson, Hackaday, 7 December 2015
  4. ^ Government surplus sales after Second World War by Neil Cryer
  5. ^ Electronic and Experimental Music by Thom Holmes, 5th edition, Routledge, Nov 2015, ISBN 1-138-79273-X
  6. ^ Remembering The Engineer Who Created Rock's Unmistakable Fuzz by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, 10 June 2018
  7. ^ a b Buchla 200e: Part 1 by Gordon Reid, Sound On Sound, December 2005
  8. ^ The History of Electronic Drum Sets – 1960s to the 2020s by Mike O'Connor, Electronic Drum Advisor, 10 September 2020
  9. ^ Biography Bruce Haack
  10. ^ A sampling of techniques for computer performance of music by Hal Chamberlin, Byte, September 1977
  11. ^ synth-diy archive by Rick Jansen, 7 July 1999
  12. ^ Circuit Board Update 4/23, Gene Stopp, Synth-diy mailing list, 23 Apr 1996
  13. ^ ASM-1 Homepage release note, Magnus Danielson, Synth-diy mailing list, 23 Oct 23 1996
  14. ^ Thanks For A Great Year, electro-music.com, 28 Dec 2003
  15. ^ Mini Wiki Getting Started Guide, Mod Wiggler forum, Nov 2008
  16. ^ Getting Started – A Mini Wiki Tutorial, Muff's Modules Wiki, Nov 2008, (archived)
  17. ^ Korg Volca Beats, Bass & Keys, Sound On Sound, October 2013

Further reading

  • The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide To Understanding, Programming, Playing, And Recording The Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument by Mark Vail, 2014 – despite the title it's mainly about the history of synthesizer development.
  • Electronotes edited by Bernie Hutchins – the early and influential electronic music DIY mailing list would be a useful resource for tracing the development of synth DIY.

External links

Video

Wikipedia

Timelines