Friday, April 30, 2010

Buchla's Vision Alive Again

When synthesizers first started to be used in a more commercial way outside the hallowed halls of universities that had thousands to invest in expensive synthesizers like Buchla's, the controller of choice for a synthesizer was not obvious at all. Robert Moog, in trying to make his technology more accessible, adopted the keyboard, pitch bend, mod wheel model that has dominated the market for many years now. This model was very effectively immortalized in the Minimoog.

Buchla, however, did not. If you go to the Buchla web site you will not even find a keyboard for the 200e but rather the "Multidimensional Kinesthetic Input Port" which if you read the description on Buchla's web site if pretty fascinating:

Lately, there has been an explosion of alternative controllers such as the Haken Continuum, the Eigenharp, the French Connection (a remake of one of the earliest controllers, the Ondes Martenot) and odd little circuit boards like the Bug Brand Weavel.

There is also the Korg Kaos Pad, the touch panel of Korg's M3 workstation and Roland's D-Beam and time trip pad for the V-Synth and yes, the pad on the Minimoog Voyager.

I could go on but my purpose here is not to catalogue all these devices but rather to suggest that perhaps, after a long period of keyboard, pitch bend and mod wheel combo is dying out. IMHO that's a very good thing. I am a big fan of Robert Moog but I also think that Buchla as well, had much to contribute to synthesisis. I think that electronic musical instruments can effectively combine east and west coast and bring us new ways to make music which is what it is all about.

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