Electronic instruments

History and classification

First of all I would to talk about the history of the electronic instruments. Probably, the ‘Telharmonium’ was the first instrument to appear. It’s so big, approximately 200 tons and it composes differents objectes to make sounds.The sounds of the telharmonium are similar to the sounds of the piano or the organ.Also are other instruments that make history like the ‘Theremin’. It’s the first instrument of the history played without touch it (1919-1920). A few years later, was the ‘Ondes Martenot’ an instrument that revolutioned the musicians of the time.

Ondes Martenot

Ondes Martenot / Google

Before the synthesizers, that appears between 50’s and 60’s, the ‘Organ Hammond’ was a very important electric instrument also in our time, because inspired synthesizer, specially the analogue.

Between the 50’s and 80’s it’s time for the analogue synthesizer.

The Synthesizers

Produces artificial sounds with electric currents. There are a kind of different synthesizers, like wavetable synthesis, additive synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, but the most important are:

Analogue: Use analogue circuits to make electric current to make sounds. Also are important components and software to simulate the original and electric sounds.

In this link to Youtube can see an example of analogue synthesizer.

Digital: The signals are digital. It uses a binary code that make a result to transform the signals to analogue signal and make electronic sounds.

Basically, the most important difference of the synthesizer analogue and digital is that today, the digital are more completed that the analogue. Also the digital uses digital processors and analogue, analogue circuits.

An example of digital synthesizer / Google

An example of digital synthesizer / Google

In this picture we can see the operation of such synthesizer. The sound enter throguh the keyboard and passes for the mixers to convert the first sound to electric sound.


Robert Moog was the inventor of this type of synthesizer. Also called ‘Moog modular’, this instrument create an infinite sounds and imitate a lot of tradicional and electric instruments. The synthesizers are often controlled by keyboards but are other ways to control it like guitar synthesizers or electronic drums.

Google search paid tribute to Robert Moog with this doodle on the occasion of 78th Robert Moog birthday.



The samplers are an electric instruments that can record external sounds to convert and edit in other sounds. Later the sounds are reproduced with, for example, a keyboard or a sequencer.

There are two types of samplers:

‘One Shot’:

The ‘One Shot’ basically consists in ‘one sound for one touch’.

In the first video, we can see this other type of sampler. When the musician touch one pad reproduced only one sound. Only one sound for every pad, every touch.

‘Spread Out’: It’s more ‘natural’. The musician use simples sounds before being perpare and edite. Include the possibility to incorporate an external keyboard, like other platforms. However, are disavantages like the acceleration or disacceleration of the ‘loops effects’.

In the this second video, we can see this type of sample. The sound preparation are more complet and every pad have more sounds for each one. Also this type can include other instruments like an acustic guitar.


The sequencers basically are ‘applications software’. Is the principal tool of the programation of other electric instruments like synthesizers, rhythm box…

There are different types or fixtures of sequencers:

  • MIDI: Implemented normally as a hardware.
  • CV Gate: Basically in the analogue sequencers
  • Automation: Used for musical applications and plug-ins. Sequencers functions and software and effects instrument.
  • Audio: Musical software loop-based, etc.

In this link we can see a virtual sequencer simulator.

This video are an example to work with a sequencer.

Also a sequencer can be analogic. This sequencer reproduced the musical notes designed with a serial of knobs or sliders. This type of sequencer have the possibility that made time-interval between each musical note that can be independently adjustable.

The step sequencers, the musical notes are rounded into the steps of equal-time interval. The users can enter each musical note without exact timing. There are some different ways to design the step duration:

·On the drum machines

·On the bass machines

·On the several ome keyboards

The step sequencers usually have sixteen buttons or steps.

Finally, the digital sequencers that are a great advance for these electronic instrument to produced digital music. In 1971, Electronic Music Studios group released one of the first digital sequencer products. Now, the digital sequencers are practically disappeared.


Obviously at the actuality the electronic instruments have a great influence against the actual music. A lot of musicians include in their compositions electronic instruments, because enable new ways to express themselves musically.

The evolution of the technology in recent years has determinated the productions of, for example, the musical productions. Their are more completed, with more musical effects and more amazing for the public.



·Wikipedia: General information of the themes ( http://www.wikipedia.org/ )

·Youtube: For the video examples ( http://www.youtube.com )

·Synthesizers information: ( http://www.synthesizers.com/ ) and ( http://www.juliusdobos.com/the-philosophy-behind/analog-vs-digital-synthesizers-debate/ )

·Electric instruments history: ( http://rateyourmusic.com/list/TheScientist/history_of_the_synthesizer_and_key_electronic_instruments/ )


Link to prezi:



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