Monophonic Goes Polyphonic!
A strong German flavour prevails this month with reports on Wersi Electronics, PPG and Kraftwerk. Not surprising really, when you consider the amount of German electronic music available - much of this now coming from specialist recording companies.
During the early 70's many musicians playing organ and piano were tempted away from recording homophonic layers of music in order to exploit the different sounds of the new monophonic synthesisers that were fast appearing. At least a four-track recorder was then required to mix these down to a homogeneous harmonic background.
Of course, many composers kept their existing poly-keyboards close by until the arrival of the polyphonic synthesiser. Meanwhile, forward-looking companies had ensured their products would be able to interface with other instruments through the provision of control voltage and trigger inputs and outputs. Unfortunately, one main difference in this interfacing came with Yamaha and Korg (also EMS), who did not choose, for good reasons, the one volt per octave relationship for CVs and also used differing trigger thresholds. This can be overcome, however, by using linear and logarithmic converters, so the possibility of linking up mono synthesisers of all kinds has existed for some time.
Now we can offer a very cheap way of producing sophisticated polyphonic music through our Alphadac 16 project. An enormous number of control possibilities come from its microprocessor and EPROM and it points to the direction that new musical instruments are taking, from the Casio VL-Tone to the PPG Wave 2 and the Yamaha GS-1.
The electronic drum machine can now be micro-controlled and even the new guitar synthesisers from Roland employ the concept that polyphonic outputs are another step forward.
Joining this polyphonic band come the home computers that have a strong selling potential simply from their music-making qualities.
The Atari 400 and 800 are the latest home computer additions and offer four-part polyphony from a plug-in cartridge.
Now, perhaps we have (besides electronic project construction!) a different theme for the TV, video and computer in our home — Let's Make Music!