Monday, May 23, 2016

The Synth Sound... and more

I started learning the piano when I was eleven. And quite enjoyed it. But as all good teachers do, my piano teacher insisted on practice. The nuns in the convent nearby offered us to come over there and practice if we wanted, but it was too cumbersome. We tried to hire a piano, but it refused to get out of the owners house. So back home we came.

And then the search began for an alternative. A young boy - a few years my senior in school - was the official accompanist for most of the school performances as well as performances from the parish children. That's where we first saw what would be my first synthesizer.




A family friend purchased it for us from abroad, and it cost a sum of around Rs. 3000/- quite a big sum at the time. With four rhythms and 9 voices, there was plenty of music you could create with this little Yamaha Portasound PS 3.

A good ten years later, the family was requested to sing for a wedding of a relative. We all went to work out the music and a cousin had this synthesizer with many many more functions... and Dad just loved it. It so happened that they had a friend who had the exact same keyboard for sale. So we went over to have a look, and it was a 'buy at first sight'. The Yamaha PSS 680


My third and current synthesizer was purchased when I was had just moved to Dubai. After a few months of staying with my sister, I decided to shift closer to the office in a studio apartment - that actually turned out to be my own personal 'music studio'. I could sit for hours working out songs and tunes, downloading and editing midis on Cakewalk on the Yamaha PSR 740. 


This synthesizer has been with me to many music performances, choir practices, retreats and more... in Dubai and Mumbai. Most of my music (including this instrumental) on my SoundCloud channel was programmed on this keyboard. And now even the kids use it for their own musical experiments.


Why this post on the synthesizer, you may ask...
That's because today we remember the 'Father of the Modern Synthesizer' on his #MusicalBirthday. Robert Moog built his first electronic instrument, a theremin - aged 14 and made the MiniMoog, "the first compact, easy-to-use synthesizer" in 1970. 




For the technically interested, here's the man himself presenting his creation...




And if you like that sound... here's an 'interesting' performance I remember watching and laughing to... from 'Friends'



"I was never worried that synthesizers would replace musicians. First of all, you have to be a musician in order to make music with a synthesizer."- Robert Moog



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