A Brief History of Musical Synths


It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the synthesizer was invented.

That’s because of the blurred lines between synthesizers and other early electronic instruments.

But I will do my best to give you a brief understanding of the roots of the synthesizer.

Emergence of Musical Telegraph

Among the earliest electric instruments is the Musical Telegraph.

It was invented way back in 1876, by an American electrical engineer whose name was Elisha Grey.

That instrument was considered the first electronic synthesizer.

The story of how Elisha discovered this instrument is quite interesting.

It was an accident!

Can you believe that he unwittingly discovered one of the best electric musical instruments?

Elijah invented a basic single-note oscillator by discovering the sound generated from a self-vibrating electromechanical circuit.

The Background Story and Details

You may be wondering why the first synthesizer was called a Musical Telegraph.

Well, that’s because the oscillations made by electromagnets were transmitted over a telegraph line.

Hence the name Musical Telegraph.

Even though the Musical Telegraph had no sound-synthesis function, it is still considered to be the first synthesizer.

To Conclude

The Hammond Novachord was the first commercial musical instrument that used waveform synthesis and was introduced to the world in 1939.

Up until then, experimenters invented a variety of different synths in the early 20th century.

However, none of these instruments were manufactured for commercial purposes. 


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  • Arda
  • a couple of years ago
Arda
 

Hi there, my name is Arda! I started this website to share my experiences and opinions about a number of synths. I hope you enjoy my content!