A digital synthesizer is a synthesizer that uses digital signal processing (DSP) techniques to make musical sounds. Electronic keyboards make music through sound waves. The very earliest digital synthesis experiments were made with general-purpose computers, as part of academic research into sound generation.
An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces its sounds using electronics. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an electrical audio signal that ultimately drives a loudspeaker. An electronic instrument may include a user interface for controlling its sound, often by adjusting the pitch, frequency, or duration of each note.
The theremin, originally known as the aetherphone / etherophone or termenvox / thereminvox is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without contact from the player. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player's hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude with the other.
A vocoder (a combination of the words voice and encoder) is an analysis / synthesis system, mostly used for speech. In the encoder, the input is passed through a multiband filter, each band is passed through an envelope follower, and the control signals from the envelope followers are communicated to the decoder. The decoder applies these (amplitude) control signals to corresponding filters in the (re)synthesizer.
Zeta Instrument Processor Interface (ZIPI) was a research project initiated by Zeta Instruments and UC Berkeley's CNMAT (Center for New Music and Audio Technologies). Introduced in 1994 in a series of publications in Computer Music Journal from MIT Press, ZIPI was intended as the next-generation transport protocol for digital musical instruments, designed with compliance to OSI model.
The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical, polyphonic keyboard originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s. It superseded the Chamberlin, which was the world's first sample-playback keyboard. The heart of the instrument is a bank of parallel linear magnetic audio tapes, which have approximately eight seconds of playing time each. Playback heads underneath each key enable the playing of pre-recorded sounds.
The fifth group, electrophone category was added to the Hornbostel-Sachs musical instrument classfication system by Sachs in 1940, to describe instruments involving electricity. Sachs broke down his 5th category into 3 subcategories: 51=electrically actuated acoustic instruments; 52=electrically amplified acoustic instruments; 53= instruments in which make sound primarily by way of electrically driven oscillators, such as theremins or synthesizers, which he called radioelectric instruments.
The Denis d'or ("golden Dionysus") is, in the broadest sense, the first electric musical instrument in history. It was invented and constructed by the Czech theologian Václav Prokop Diviš (1698 - 1765) — his surname is pronounced "Deevish" and often spelled "Divisch" — at his parish in the Moravian town Přímětice near Znojmo in the south-east of what is now the Czech Republic.
An analog or analogue synthesizer (or analog synth) is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and analog computer techniques to generate sound electronically. The earliest analog synthesizers in the 1920s and 1930s such as the Trautonium were built with a variety of vacuum-tube (thermionic valve) and electro-mechanical technologies.
The Electro-Theremin, often called the Tannerin, is an electronic musical instrument developed by trombonist Paul Tanner and amateur inventor Bob Whitsell in the late 1950s to produce a sound to mimic that of the theremin. The instrument features a tone and portamento similar to that of the theremin (or thereminvox), but with a different control mechanism. It consisted of a sine wave generator with a knob that controlled the pitch, placed inside a wooden box.
The term Groovebox was originally used by Roland corporation to refer to their MC-303, but has since entered general use. It refers to a self-contained instrument for the production of live, loop-based electronic music, with a high degree of user control facilitating improvisation. A groovebox consists of three integrated elements.
The ondes Martenot (French for "Martenot waves"), also known as the ondium Martenot, Martenot and ondes musicales, is an early electronic musical instrument that Maurice Martenot invented in 1928. The original design was similar in sound to the theremin. The sonic capabilities of the instrument were later expanded by the addition of timbral controls and switchable loudspeakers. The instrument's eerie wavering notes are produced by varying the frequency of oscillation in vacuum tubes.
Ring modulation is a signal-processing effect in electronics, related to amplitude modulation or frequency mixing, performed by multiplying two signals, where one is typically a sine-wave or another simple waveform. It is referred to as "ring" modulation because the analog circuit of diodes originally used to implement this technique took the shape of a ring.
A digital piano is a modern electronic musical instrument designed to serve primarily as an alternative to a traditional piano, both in the way it feels to play and in the sound produced. Some digital pianos are also designed to look like an acoustic piano. While digital pianos may fall short of the genuine article in feel and sound, they nevertheless have many advantages over normal pianos: Compared to acoustic pianos, digital pianos are generally less expensive.
A music workstation is piece of electronic musical equipment providing the facilities of: a sound module, a music sequencer and (usually) a musical keyboard. It enables a musician to compose electronic music using just one piece of equipment.
A sampler is an electronic musical instrument similar in some respects to a synthesizer but, instead of generating sounds, it uses recordings of sounds that are loaded or recorded into it by the user and then played back by means of a keyboard, sequencer or other triggering device to perform or compose music. Because these samples are nowadays usually stored in digital memory the information can be quickly accessed.
FL Studio, formerly known as FruityLoops, is a digital audio workstation (DAW) developed by Belgian company Image-Line Software. FL Studio was originally the creation of Didier Dambrin, who is now the lead programmer at Image-Line responsible for its core development. FL Studio features a fully automatable workflow centred around a pattern-based music sequencer.
The Telharmonium (also known as the Dynamophone) was an early electronic musical instrument, developed by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897. The electrical signal from the Telharmonium was transmitted over wires; it was heard on the receiving end by means of 'horn' speakers. Like the later Hammond organ, the Telharmonium used tonewheels to generate musical sounds as electrical signals by additive synthesis. Cahill built three versions: The Mark I version weighed 7 tons.
The VCS 3 (an initialism for Voltage Controlled Studio with 3 oscillators) is a portable analog synthesiser with a flexible semi-modular voice architecture, initially made in 1969 by Peter Zinovieff's EMS company. The electronics were largely designed by David Cockerell and the machine's distinctive visual appearance was the work of electronic composer Tristram Cary.
The zanzithophone is the name given to an electronic MIDI saxophone, formerly produced by Casio as the Casio DH-100 (silver) or DH-200 (black). It produces a piercing, unearthly nasal tone. This instrument is most notably used by The Elephant 6 Recording Company based in Athens, Georgia. It looks like a whitish clarinet/saxophone hybrid, and can be played as such. Alternatively, it can be played with the "Casio system" which alters the fingering and allows for up to 4 octaves to be played.
Rompler is a nickname for an electronic musical instrument that plays back samples stored in ROM chips to generate sound. Romplers lack the ability to record such samples and have limited or no capability for generating original waveforms. This is in contrast to samplers, which let the user record samples as well as play them back.
The trautonium is a monophonic electronic musical instrument invented ca. 1929 by Friedrich Trautwein in Berlin at the Musikhochschule's music and radio lab, the Rundfunkversuchstelle . Soon Oskar Sala joined him, continuing development until Sala's death in 2002. Instead of a keyboard, its manual is made of a resistor wire over a metal plate which is pressed to create a sound. Expressive playing was possible with this wire by gliding on it, creating vibrato with small movements.
The Chamberlin is an electro-mechanical keyboard instrument related to the Mellotron. It was developed and patented by Iowa, Wisconsin inventor Harry Chamberlin from 1949 to 1956, when the first model was introduced. Various models and versions of these Chamberlin music instruments exist. While most are keyboard-based instruments, there were also early drum machines produced and sold. Some of these drums patterns feature Harry Chamberlin's son Richard on them.