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Museum : Buchla Room

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. Buchla Instruments
100 Modular Synthesizer
Series 200 Modular Synthesizer

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In the early 1960's, Don Buchla was approached by Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender, early composers of musique concrète (mostly tape splicing and electronic effects), to create an electronic device for composing. With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Buchla started designing his modular synthesizer in early 1963. He calling it the "San Fransisco Tape Music Center", the name of the musique concrète center that Subotnick and Sender had founded. Sender and Subotnick called the synthesizer the "Buchla".

With a more open control design (due to the experimental nature of the music for which it was designed), the Buchla used capacitance-sensitive (or, in some cases, resistance-sensitive) touch-plates. These plates were pressure-sensitive and could be tuned individually.

Buchla was also the first to develop the analog sequencer. Like his synthesizer, it was developed to duplicate a process that was used in musique concrète, the looping of a sequence of tape splices with different pitches recorded onto them.

In 1969 Buchla made a deal with CBS (Fender) to manufacture his instruments. According to Buchla, they did not want to fund his research into instrument design, so he and CBS parted ways amiably. Today, Buchla is still designing instruments, this time MIDI controllers such as the Thunder and the Lightning.

[paraphrased, with permission, from the book Vintage Synthesizers by Mark Vail, copyright Miller Freeman, Inc]

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