10 materials about unusual musical instruments and unusual methods of sound extraction

    As a weekend reading, we would like to offer you the most popular materials from our “ Hi-Fi World ”. Today's top 10 is about unusual musical instruments.

    There are historical analyzes and articles about technologies that anticipated modern samplers, neural networks in the service of art and the creative use of radio waves.

    MaxPixel / PD Photo

    The history of musical instruments

    "The sound of a length of 8 seconds": the story of Mellotron

    The material about the predecessor of modern samplers is mellotron. Outwardly, the mellotron resembles an electronic organ. But, in fact, this is just a big tape recorder.

    Each tool key corresponds to a piece of magnetic tape with a short audio recording. When you press a key, it is played, allowing the performer to imitate the sound of acoustic instruments or entire ensembles.

    Due to its grandiose sound, the instrument was in demand by such rock bands as Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and King Crimson. In the article, we talked about the history of mellotron, its role in music for films and TV series, as well as the fate of the instrument in the 1990s and 2000s.

    "How the screen became speaking": the history of the shorinofona

    In the best Soviet traditions, Shorinofon bears the name of its creator - engineer Alexander Shorin. This device allows you to record sound on film, changing its relief.

    Shorinofon was one of the first portable recording devices, which is why he was in demand among both professionals and ordinary consumers, and the stationary version of the device was used in the dubbing of Soviet films of the 1930s.

    The material tells in detail about how the technology gained popularity and what led to her death. You will also get acquainted with the concept of "sound photogenic".

    “Between Vinyl and Cassette”: The History of Tefiff

    Teffon is an unusual recording device, invented in pre-war Germany. Like a vinyl player, he read the sound with a stylus. But the record was stored on a tape placed in a cartridge - like on cassette recorders.

    In using the device was more convenient than analogs. However, for several reasons, the teffon “did not take off”. This article tells about the invention and development of tefiffon, the author of the technology and why popular performers did not accept the new recording format.

    Music from paper and cardboard: the story of variophon and “hand-drawn sound”

    Recording technologies, which appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, stirred the imagination of Soviet avant-garde composers. In search of a new expressive language, work began on devices that can turn visual information into timbre.

    This idea was embodied in “Nivoton”, “Vibroexponentier” and variofon, with which they sounded several cartoons and motion pictures in the 1930s and 1940s.

    In this material - about the history of devices, and how they are associated with the first synthesizers.

    Hacken Continuum: an electronic instrument with acoustic responsiveness

    “Continuum” is a synthesizer that combines the simplicity of keyboard instruments with the flexibility of the string instruments. The role of the keyboard is performed by a flat rubber surface, which allows making smooth microtonal transitions in the same way as violinists do.

    The instrument with strings is related and its expressiveness. The material tells about this unique synthesizer, its inventor and the community of fans of "Continuum", which holds its own annual conference.

    An example of the game on the Haken continuum

    Unusual instruments: Hammond organ, Vako Orchestron and Synclavier

    The text is about three unusual keyboard instruments: an electromechanical organ that defined hard rock, a prototype of modern workstation synthesizers, conquered pop charts and an optical sampler, without which German techno would be completely different.

    We will explain what was the innovation of these tools and why they are relevant to this day. Also tell about the decision of one of the inventors to abandon the money Henry Ford.

    Hammond Organ Sample

    Unusual portable acoustics - sports car, retro radio and "audio boots"

    Overview of non-standard portable speakers. Some differ in original design - for example, speakers, similar to the exhaust system of a racing car. Others are unusual in their functions. Among them are “transformers” speakers, the power of which increases with their number and acoustics for outdoor recreation, capable of driving an SUV. In the material you will find these and other examples of unusual portable speakers.

    Unusual ways to extract sound

    How to turn a computer into a radio

    If you specifically program the computer system bus, it can be used to transmit radio signals. In the 1970s, game developers resorted to this method, wishing to incorporate sound effects and musical accompaniment into their products. You can repeat the experiment at home, on any modern laptop. We talk about this and other unusual ways to turn a computer into a sound source.

    How to turn graphics into sound, and why?

    The material tells about the technologies of sonification, or sound representation of data. Sonification helps to perceive information both to visually impaired people and to see: changes in basic sound characteristics, such as volume and pitch , make it possible to describe the dynamics of complex processes.

    The article describes several examples of data sonification. Among them - the development of NASA, biological research, as well as projects at the intersection of science and art.

    "Machine Sound": synthesizers based on neural networks

    This article focuses on musical machine learning algorithms and programs that use them. Let's talk about the services that make music or help the user to do it. Let's evaluate the synthesizer of Google, which algorithmically "mixes" the sounds of different instruments. Finally, we will listen to the songs created by the programs - both in collaboration with people and independently. Among them is a composition in the style of The Beatles, written by the laboratory algorithm Sony.

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