The History of Synthesizers in Electronic Music

Gyuha Lee

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The synthesizer has given a huge contribution to the  development of contemporary music. This article will discuss the basic history of synthesizers in the  music field. Before we go into the history, it is important to know the definition of a synthesizer. The common definition of the synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument that generates electric signals that are converted to sound through instrumental amplifiers and monitors. It is considered more advanced than the average electronic keyboard or piano. The main function of the synthesizer is to combine many kinds of electronic sounds, creating new pitch tones, and it is commonly used in performances or the production of music.

Then we can assume that a synthesizer is more suitable for professionals who fully comprehend the theory of the electric circuit signals and the progress of sound synthesis. Since the first development of the synthesizer was developed during the 1950’s by RCA(Radio Corporation of America) , who produced a machine called the “Electronic Music Synthesizer,” the development of sound synthesizers began. However, it was more accurately a composition machine, because it did not produce sounds in real time. After much trial and error, the synthesizer was successfully marketed to the public.

To continue the development of the synthesizer, Dr. Robert Moog created the first voltage-controlled subtractive synthesizer to utilize a keyboard as a controller and demonstrated it at the AES (Audio Engineering Society) convention in 1964. This was the first step of developing modern synthesizers like we have today. Founding his own music company and inventing many outstanding modular synthesizers, he was called a true pioneer of electronic music. In 1970, Moog introduced his Minimoog, which brought his value to the summit. His achievements are still celebrated today.



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