Synthesizers and The History of Gestural Control - Part 4

This week we'll look at another significant development in the world of electronics that would set the stage for all future synthesis. We will look at Lee Deforrest and his journey beginning as far back as 1908. 

Lee de Forest built an instrument that used a Triode Tube. This instrument used regenerative feedback which works in much the same way we experience feedback from a mic through a PA system causing an audible pitch. In this case, the tube creates the pitch, and energy is added via a tank circuit to create continuous oscillations through the amplifier. Also, using charged capacitance via turning a knob on a capacitor or putting your hand or finger close to or on a circuit, changes could be made quite easily to the sound as well.   A key would trigger the tube to create the notes with one tube per octave. A scale could be created by using a graphite pencil to create resistance paths as well. Thus timbre and pitch could be controlled to create imitative as well as sound "never heard before".

This was way ahead of it's time in terms of gestural control and even predates the Theremin we looked into a few weeks ago. He also put speakers around the room to create the first ever "surround sound" and called his setup music of the lamps.  Plans for the Audion Piano were made but seem to never be realized. 

This was one of the first synthesizers. Using both audio and radio frequencies, he paved the way for future designs of oscillators, amplifiers, synthesizers and sound projection. 

1 comment

  • Jaea
    Jaea Poland
    Since you mentioned the name already, I am so happy to know that Lee de Forest is starting to be recognized for something it must be known in the first place. In terms of musical instruments, we can say that not all people are familiar with it. But that's okay as long as there are people who are keeping their interest into such thing. To know more about this, I guess you need to visit https://www.resumehelpaustralia.com/ to see more stuff about it!

    Since you mentioned the name already, I am so happy to know that Lee de Forest is starting to be recognized for something it must be known in the first place. In terms of musical instruments, we can say that not all people are familiar with it. But that's okay as long as there are people who are keeping their interest into such thing. To know more about this, I guess you need to visit https://www.resumehelpaustralia.com/ to see more stuff about it!

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