120 Years Of Electronic Music.


120 Years of Electronic Music* is a project that outlines and explores the history and development of electronic musical instruments from around 1880 onwards. This project defines ‘Electronic Musical Instrument’ as an instruments that generate sounds from a purely electronic source rather than electro-mechanically or electro-acoustically (However the boundaries of this definition do become blurred with, say, Tone Wheel Generators and tape manipulation of the Musique Concrète era).


'120 Years of Electronic Music' has always been and hopefully always will be a free and open resource. The site has been hosted for free for many years by SPC London ; Please consider a donation towards the hosting costs to keep this project free for everyone:

Thank You!
Simon Crab – 120 Years of Electronic Music

The focus of this project is in exploring the main themes of electronic instrument design and development previous to 1970 – and therefore isn’t intended as an exhaustive list of recent commercial synthesisers or software packages. As well as creating a free, encyclopaedic, pedagogical resource on the History of Electronic Music (and an interesting list for Synthesiser Geeks) my main interest is to expose and explore musical, cultural and political narratives within the historical structure and to analyse the successes and failures of the electronic music ‘project’, for example;

Modes of interaction for performers and composers: Atonality and just intonation as a theme in instrument design.

The ideas put forward in Ferruccio Busoni’s ‘Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music’ (1907) inspired a generation of composers to explore micro-tonal and varied intonation and Hermann von Helmholtz’s ‘On the Sensations of Tone’ (1863) provided an understanding of the physics of sound suggesting the possibility of creating an unlimited palette of tones and shapes beyond the restriction of traditional instrumentation. This lead directly to the design of several new instrument; Thadeus Cahill’s Telharmonium (1897) and Jörg Mager’s Sphäraphon (1920s) amongst many other, that explored new forms of interaction freeing the composer and musician from the ‘tyranny’ of the fixed tempered Piano keyboard (which at the beginning of electronic music instrument design was a fairly recent standard). Though this experiment was ultimately doomed due to commercial pressure on instrument designers to provide simulations of existing instruments on a fixed tempered scale for popular music, the concept survived into the 1960s in ‘serious’ experimental music with the era of the Electronic Music Studio; GRM, Milan, WDR, Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center etc. and even Moog (in the original instruments) and Buchla’s modular synthesisers. More recently interest in atonality and non-manual control has re-surfaced with software synthesis and audio computer languages.

New composition tools: Musician-free composition

As well as developing new physical interface models another channel of exploration was to use electronic musical instruments to free the composer from problems associated with performers and performance; removing the musician from the process of musical production allowing the composer to create pure unadulterated music concepts. When this was first proposed – first proposed in Russia in the 1930s by Avraamov and later Hanert’s ‘Electric Orchestra‘ (1945), Percy Grainger’s ‘Free Music Machine’ (1948) and Murzin’s ANS Synthesiser ) this concept was considered extreme, utopian and unachievable and met considerably hostility from traditionalists This goal has mostly been achieved through digital software but what has been the effect on composition?

An exploration of the dichotomy between radical culture and radical social change: the role of the avant-garde in political movements

After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia, a utopian avant-garde movement inspired by Futurism and Anarchistic ideas developed which included radical new music and performance. New, atonal, music was written, new types of theatre evolved and new instruments invented to bring about this utopian age; Arseney Avraamov conducted a huge symphony of sirens involving warships, factory hooters and artillery and proposed the destruction of all pianos to free music of fixed tonation. It was proposed that a new scientific culture replace the old archaic cultural order– brought about by new electronic instruments and scientific investigations into audio and visual perception (this period is covered in some detail in Andrei Smirnov’s excellent book ‘Sounds In Z’). The Bolshevik government, traditionalists at heart and worried at their lack of control of this anarchic movement, suppressed it replacing it with manageable propaganda based culture of uplifting, popular socialist realism; many of the former avant-garde were murdered, imprisoned or sidelined for the rest of their lives.

Similarly, in the early period of Nazi Germany (1933 onwards), Hitler’s government made moves to embrace Futurism and Modernism (for example; Marinetti’s Berlin Futurist Exhibition of 1934, Sponsored by Goebbels and the Nazi Kdf organisation and the final Berlin Bauhaus before it’s exile to the USA). Modernism was a key component of Fascism and early National Socialism; technology was promoted as a National Socialist principle; the Volkswagen (‘Peoples Car’), Autobahn’s, Film, Mass-entertainment (Controlled through the Kdf ‘Strength through joy’ organisation) and electronic music; the first every electronic music orchestra ‘Das Orchester der Zukunft’ at the Nazi-sponsored Berlin IFA in 1933. Again, this avant-garde movement was finally suppressed in favour of conservative fascist popular culture during the late 1930s.

’120 Years Of Electronic Music’ is an ongoing web project initiated in 1995 by the author and musician . The project is completely non-commercial and self-funded. The aim is to make the information available on a free/open source basis i.e. you can use content in any way as long as the content owners are credited and it would be courteous if you could acknowledge the source by linking or referring to the site.

Simon Crab, Hastings, UK. 2021

*The name: ‘120 Years of Electronic Music’ project was begun in 1996; considering electronic music started around 1880 this was quite an accurate title for the time. Almost twenty years later it’s a bit out of date but it’s become something a bit of a brand-name and hard to change

161 thoughts on “Introduction”

    1. this site is unbelievable,i research music/telegralph 5-6 hours day two great books, read play music loud and the victorian intornet the later is tom standage

    2. this site is great,.i research music/telegraph 5-6 hrs day read play it loud and the victorian internet tom standee

        1. Hello, Simon Crab, after doing some research on How to emulate Hammond organs in some softsynths, i crossed on this amazing site of yours and it actually altered my direction of searching. I want to open a blog/site with your contents, since it is meant open source and I translate it into my own language. The categories will be organized slightly different, more like the different forms of electronic sound generations and the evolution of the usage up untill now. Off course also searchable through the years. Most glad I will be if i could use an export of your contents… Links to your site also as required for the open source lisence . Thanks

        2. I was a student of John Eaton at IU and own one of the first 6 Syn-Kets, which I played in many concerts of John’s and at the Darmstadt festivals in the 70’s, then for several years in Europe while I lived in Belgium on a Fulbright grant. I am retired and want to sell it now. I hope you can give me some advice as to how to proceed. Thanks, Dr. Linda Pointer

  1. I am using your work as a source on my DMA dissertation. Could you please tell me your location for my bibliography citation?

  2. Dear Simon,
    Your site is great. Thanks a lot for doing it
    I have been referring to it and using it four my course in the last years. I am happy it is available again.
    Best regards

  3. I found you site some years ago. I teach Organology and History of music in a conservatory in Spain i always recommend your web to the students: it’s fantastic.
    There are few books about electrophones and this site is the most complete and attractive source about electrophones…

    Thanks a lot

  4. Wonder why I keep seeing a faint imprint of M. L. Severy and G. B. Sinclair behind every page viewed? Tech problem at my end or yours?

    Good work, some pictures I’ve actually not seen.

    Wonder also if you’ve seen some 50 or so of my columns in Keyboard Magazine in ‘seventies popularizing this history; and my Ph.D. Dissertation on the topic (1972) which is cited in New Harvard Dictionary of Music and New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments?

    Your site would be immeasurably improved if you cited your sources for both photos, quotes, and commentary, just thinking like an academic!

    Best Regards,

    Tom Rhea
    Electronic Production and Design Department
    Berklee College of Music
    Boston, MA

    1. Hi Tom,
      Thanks for your comments and visiting the site – I’m honoured! I am planning to cite all my references…it’s quite a job! and the faint imprint; that’s ‘design’ maybe I’ll take it out?

      I’ll reply to the rest via email

      all the best


      1. Ah Mr Rhea! An honour indeed! I just mentioned that I have a printout of the original webpage in my archive. I am quite sure you’re name can also frequently be found in there.

    2. Dear Lord Rhea

      I read your comment with great surprise and even grew bigger when I saw your signature. It is clear from the context that you are a person of great experience and a position both in Berkeley and in the scientific community. I wonder what is preferable; Provide knowledge to young people related to the subject or irrelevant without discrimination, titles, bibliographies, etc. or, ultimately, to remain from which sign is the subject of knowledge we are reading; You know, I come from a country (Greece) where in the fields of science, philosophy and arts we have spread the most all over the world without pandering, for example, paternity in medical terminology which is almost entirely in Greek. Whatever your project is worth and it is our honor to receive your knowledge even though through the website of Mr. Crab, which I find excellent not only for its object but for the trouble it has had to gather data on each instrument but also because without any remuneration, advertising offers its knowledge unselfishly.
      Best Regards
      Vangelis K.
      Sound Engineer
      Prof. of Applied Digital Audio Technology

  5. I’m so glad I’ve finally found a complete documentation of the progress of electronic music through time (as near to complete as it can possibly be). Will definitely post about this on my blog in the near future! Massive thank you!

  6. It’s awesome! This is for ‘Collective Intelligence’ to make better worlds i believe.
    There ‘s lot of works to record and set of things from history.

  7. All very nice, but not a word about Russia, which gave the world such men as Leon Theremin, inventor of the well-known theremin, Evgeny Murzin, the creator of the optical synthesizer ANS where is Russian musicians

  8. Wow, that came just at the right moment. I am preparing a talk about electronic music and i am developing a software for creating new sounds and compositions of electronic music. Thanks you so much!

  9. Thank you very much for your amazing work in collecting and putting it out there! The first time i came across your work, it was in the shape of a pdf – its still on the webs somewhere. then this page that i used and loved lots. It was differently designed back then though, very simple. i was wondering wether you put your knowledge from a daytime job here? this is such a mountain of work for being a side-project!

  10. Hey great site and resource
    i think something is wrong with your subscription feature
    i get an error message

  11. What about the manifesto “The Art of Noises” (1913) by Italian futurist Luigi Russolo and the invention of his Intonarumori?

    1. Hi Peter,
      Well, strictly speaking Russolo’s ‘Intonarumori’ were mechanical instruments not electronic so not really within the scope of this project. But of course the work of Russolo had a huge impact on how (much later) electronic music included noise and ‘non musical ‘ sound – musique concrète, Cage etc.



    1. Thanks – ah, think that page isn’t finished yet. I’ve removed the link until it’s ready! better get writing…

  12. Absolutely great that this is back. A hardware copy of the original site has been in my archive for years. I just looked it up and it turns out I printed it in 2002!
    One idea / tip / advice: Why no take it further? Of course not to mention every synthesizer fad but some stuff that is available by now (like physical modeling, additive resynthesis and new controller concepts) fits perfectly in the stream of thought of all these inventors. I am sure that people like Thermen, Martenot and Trautwein would have drooled over such stuff.
    The biggest pity however is that so few people are aware of how beautiful and expressive the music from these instruments can be. We simply live in a trigger and forget culture of electronic music. Well, maybe tweak a filter pot now and then but I am sure you catch my drift.
    I actually condensed my personal view on the subject into a hardware setup that I call Starship One. Information about it (including pictures, written articles and even music composed on it) can be found on my website at
    In other words: The dream is still alive!

  13. the entry for “Minshall Organ” does not seem to have a URL
    and also Philips developed many special neon tube dividers for the Philicorda

  14. Thank you for this! I did my social studies fair on the earliest electronic instruments (up to 1899) and used this for a lot of citation and information. Thank you for having this so readily available.

  15. Hello, this is a great site and reference resource! Kudos to you for all the hard work.

    I did note two key omissions.

    (1) the “electro-theremin,” invented in the late 1950s by session player Paul Tanner for use in film and TV work after having watched a theremin player “sweat bullets” trying to play the instrument in tune.

    Tanner and his instrument (referred to back then as “Paul’s Box”) was sought after very greatly. He did many TV shows including “Dark Shadows” and “My Favorite Martian.” But surely his greatest and most famous work was on the Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations,” which many people to this very day insist was a “real theremin” even though though the truth is now widely known.

    (2) In 1999, Tom Polk devised a more efficient version of the electro-theremin and called it the “Tannerin,” fondly named after Paul Tanner.


  16. Hello Simon!

    Congratulations to such a beautiful website.

    Do you know the great Max Brand synthesizer? Max Brand conceived it in the late 1950s and Bob Moog helped him building it. The IMA in Hainau (Austria) hosts the only existing model. In this context you might be interested in the book/exhibition “Zauberhafte Klangmaschinen” curated by Elisabeth Schimana of the IMA. Max Brand can also be found there:

    I think it’s a great supplement to your website.



  17. Hi,
    I have recently been in direct contact with AT&T historians at the AT&T Archives about the VODER. At my urging, they have uncovered two original ‘practice’ equipment racks and a good deal more documentation. There is more on the VODER on my website (, and will be adding more as it is legally cleared.
    You’ve got a great site here and I’d love to chat sometime. 908-910-9551.

  18. As always, great work! I hope to nominate the work of George Breed, brilliant inventor and creator of several musical devices. At patent search will turn up not only his 1890 Electric Guitar, but the Lyrachord or Lyrachord-Symphonia piano, which seems to have some great features.

  19. hi simon,

    it’s great to see this work alive and kicking 🙂

    I still have somewhere the panel we made for the exhibition in Naples.

    we should meet somewhere somehow



  20. Great article! It was a pleasure to read it. Very informative. Thanks.
    I have a few links to contribute to this awesome project, that i think relevant to the independent and experimental, open expression/source, art movement.

    In January 1996, coincidentally, i have co-founded Idiosyntactix Strategic Arts & Sciences Alliance, with a series of what we called the IDIO-AUDIO Mighty Mono 99.1 FM Pirate Radio shows broadcast live on 25 watt transmitter setup on the rooftop of the TransForum gallery (Queen St. and Bathurst) in downtown Toronto. The IDIO-AUDIO Independent and Experimental Music Online email list was set up by Dmytri Kleiner at that time followed by a series of first in Toronto live webcasts from different venues by the IA team. Eventually the Industry Canada, after three and a half months, has shut the pirate radio party down. However the community formed during that time has moved on to host and broadcast more IA shows on other SW/FM/AM frequencies and online, including the licensed stations. also later

    The Idiosyntactix Strategic Arts & Sciences Alliance has created its own art manifesto, rather, the Incidentalist Manifestos, plural, the reason being since it is always in a draft version, the latest being Draft 11.

    In 1997 Idiosyntactix has organized a three-day festival of cultural appropriation and intellectual property freedom, culminating with the live concert at the Lees Palace attended by David Bowie.

    While Plunderpalooza ’97 was widely reported in the Toronto and Canadian media, the New York Times has also mentioned Idiosyntactix once thus far in connection with our hosting of the Italian art group online project.

    As a web designer, since the beginning of it in 1993, i have designed all the above websites, at a time the ASCII design elements were essential for fast download, i have also designed the first website for a great experimental musician from Winnipeg, Canada Diana McIntosh. She performed on a few occasions, from what i remember, in the Music Gallery concert series organized by Ron Gaskin. It was great!

    Anyway, that’s my two incidentalist cents. God Speed! Live! Prosper! Be Well! Happy Trails! Cheers!!! 🙂

  21. Fantastic references! – Sadly though it looks like the images for the Wobble Organ from 1951 seem to have been moved or removed.

  22. An amazing endeavor. The research, analytical, sociopolitical and musical approaches could prove one of the most important projects for understanding contemporary mainstream and substream electronic music. Is there some kind of crowdfunding initiative where people can contribute?

  23. I would like to thank you very much for this demanding and highly informative project. As a pipe organ builder and electronic musician myself I could retrieve a whole treasure of additional knowledge. It would be great if you could extend your timeline and include also newer tools like i.e. the evolution and relevance of sampling, or the highly important developments of IRCAM (Max!) or Native Instruments (Reaktor!) etc. But again: Thanks so much for your fantastic work so far!

  24. Nice but very, incomplete!
    Misses RAI Milan’s Studio, IRCAM, CCRMA and the all the composers who actually have developed fundamental concepts without whom no electronic music would actually exist. It’s not just the gear, it’s, before all, the music ideas behind them.

    1. Hi Tobor,

      Thanks for your comment;

      RAI is here:

      and IRCAM is covered in:

      Whilst I agree that it’s ‘not just the gear’ – this project IS specifically about exploring electronic music through the technology first. I think there are plenty of musical resources that tackle music and ideas as a starting point.

    2. Hi Tabor, I dont think so. It is both. The instrument builder should be rated higher. We should overcome the paradigm of genius composer and his imagination as the primary force. Western ideology….Never seen studio bosses exploiting engineers´ creativity?

  25. can I suggest that, given the importance of the technology in this history and the growing recognition of its instrumentality that you also include the portable recorder at least & indeed other forms of ‘recorder’ & playback device, which have formed an important aspect of music created using electronic means.

  26. Felicitaciones desde Chile por tu trabajo y este sitio cuya utilidad es enorme e ilumina distintos ámbitos de la cultura, la ciencia, la tecnología y el arte sonoro.

  27. Congratulations from Chile for your work and this site whose utility is enormous and illuminates different spheres of culture, science, technology and sound art.

  28. Fantastic site! The references and vast knowledge is soooo appreciated. From a long-time radio guy in public radio and beyond. I started a new music/electronic music art radio show called “Earwaves” on KUNM-FM in Albuquerque in 1979…and so many years later, streaming a version of it on which is a multi-channel streaming service based in San Francisco, CA. Thanks again. This is a great reference site and knowledge base!

  29. Thanks for your wonderfully inspiring project! Now about the Helmholtz synth: according to professor David Pantalony “It was invented in the late 1850s by Helmholtz. Actually, he talks about its invention several times in Sensations of Tone (1863)”. Also: “The earliest known (surviving) Helmholtz Synthesizer (c. 1860) is possibly somewhere in Moscow, but I have never seen it or confirmed that it survives.”

    It seems that Helmholtz is both the oldest synthesizer and also the oldest electronic instrument that has been properly documented. As your article mentions, it’s not strictly speaking a musical instrument but an overtone synthesizer. The University of Toronto has a perfectly working one , and it was just recently recorded for our project.

    We also managed to track down Elisha Gray’s Musical Telegraph(s): they (3) are located at the Smithsonian. Unfortunately they can not be played, and apparently they have never been recorded either.

  30. This is a fantastic site, and congratulations.

    I wonder why the BBC radiophonic workshop is not mentioned? The work of Delia Derbyshire on the Dr Who theme in 1963 surely counts as one of the most potent and popularised ‘musique concrete’?

    1. Hi Ed,

      Thanks for your comment – I think it is mentioned ‘somewhere’ but yes, it does need it’s own entry!

      all the best

  31. Hi man,
    I just wanna share with you the fact that you have a completely random person, from a completely different country (Brazil), who is fascinated by electronic music and is completely mesmerized with how awesome this project of yours is! I just discovered and can’t believe how interesting this is. I honestly hope you turn this all into a book later.

  32. Wow, this is so fantastic. Do you plan to produce a book? This would be really nice …

    Very well done, keep going your good work!

  33. Thank you very much for the valuable information available on this site. I would like to share a series of articles in Spanish related to this topic:
    Hopefully they will be useful.
    Greetings from Buenos Aires!
    Martin Matus Lerner
    Hola! Les agradezco mucho la valiosa información disponible en este sitio. Me gustaría compartir una serie de artículos en español relacionados con este tema:
    Ojalá les sean de utilidad.
    Saludos desde Buenos Aires!
    Martín Matus Lerner

  34. You should chat with Wally de Backer about his Jean-Jacques Perrey / Ondioline project. He’s an incredibly open and affable fellow who would be on your wavelength. I’ve put his bandcamp link in as my website.

  35. Thanks so much for compiling all this information. I’ve read every single entry now, great work! Donated!

  36. found this site from ENO tweet…
    very cool, simon.
    thank you for sharing, giving, defining a history.
    please continue.

  37. Thanks.

    Moog isn’t on the list on the left. Neither is the Hugh Le Caine “Poly”. See Gayle Young’s book, Sackbut Blues, for details.

  38. Thank you for your continued research and hard work, providing such a wonderful resource and electronic music history lesson for everyone. This resource is VERY appreciated. 🙂

  39. I do enjoy this resource, and every year point a new cohort of students to it, as an antidote to their prevailing opinion that a) all the innovation is happening now, at ever-increasing pace, and b) that music technology started somewhere around 1980.
    What strikes me, looking at the evolution of music technology ideas, is that so often, innovation comes from outside the ‘musical sphere’ – from engineers, scientists and crackpot inventors.
    It also strikes me that often, an idea that is ahead of its time can fail to ‘take root’ because the surrounding infrastructure simply isn’t there. I suppose this is ever the case with any evolutionary story.
    But the inference one can draw is that, sometimes, it’s worth revisiting history and the failed experiments for inspiration and to see if any of the ideas can now currently be implemented. An example is ambisonics, which was an early (1970s) record-and-play technology capable of full surround (with height). It languished for years in remote academic departments until computers caught up and make simple what had been clunky and expensive in the analogue domain. Now, it’s resurfacing, at the BBC and on youtube (etc) as a format, but also composers are taking more interest and some engineer/musicians are developing esoteric 3d musical instruments. Most will be one-off special interest oddities, some will become fashionable for a period (rather like the Theremin, Ondes-martenot etc) and some might become staples.
    Thanks again!

  40. Hi
    I am working in a heritage centre in Ireland and at the moment I am going through our scientific apparatus and trying to identify what we have and their uses. I have a piece that is very similar to the object in your title photo. What is that object? I have been looking up Meidinger cells, arc lights and Geissler tubes but your photo is the closest in appearance to what we have here. I would be very grateful for any help you could give me. Thanks

  41. thank you so much for this data base
    being a heavy synth geek i found here so many new/old curiosities i was not even aware of.
    just their exotic names is worth the trip.
    i ‘ve just finished reading ” Les Fous Du Son “, a fantastic book about synthesis history by Laurent De Wilde.
    your respective works are parallel and complementary, both very well documented.

  42. Two things, the first, can pleas put the replay box on the top of the comments? Second, what about the instroument of the 90, 2000, 2010? Thanks, I very apreciate your job.

  43. A great resource, very interesting read. I noticed a few items for correction:-

    The section on the Hal Alles synthesiser should make mention of Laurie Spiegel, who actually programmed and composed on the instrument, and who also performed on it at the Talking Pictures 50th anniversary. Spiegel was also actively involved in the development of the GROOVE system.

    The Hal Alles section also erroneously refers to Atari as a Japanese company; it was founded in California in 1972 and remained in US ownership until its demise. Although the games division would later be split off and pass through various hands, the Sierra project was very much an initiative of the US parent company.

    The section on Buchla is attributed to the year 1970, but the article states that he was building systems as early as 1960 and released his first product in 1966. The section erroneously states that the Buchla Box was used to create the sounds of R2D2 for Star Wars; it’s common knowledge that Ben Burtt used the ARP 2600 for this, as recounted in numerous sources.

    Although the emphasis is on pre-1980, it would be nice to see a section on Wolfgang Palm’s systems such as the Wavecomputer (late 70s), Waveterm (1982) and Realiser…

  44. Having just heard the latest “99% Invisible” podcast, I wonder if there is a space for the here. Invented 1913, it scans printed texts and converts it to sound electronically. The intended audiences were blind people, but the output of the machine is often described as music (and it really is strikingly musical).

  45. Wow! I’m working on a study of major innovations over time. Electric instruments are one of them. I stumbled on this website while writing my entry and this site is truly amazing. Doing the same type of thing on my own I can appreciate how much work this is. Really exceptional.

  46. To whom it might belong,
    In the article concerning the multimonica, two publications (user manuals) are mentionned amongst the pictures (nos. “multimonica-I-20” and “1461823-nagy”). Can ayone tell me where I can find and consult them? Or anyone who has a digital copy of them?
    Thanks in advance!

  47. Brilliant work, epic depiction of the ideas. My one comment would be please continue the introduction for a more optimistic future, beyond the suppression of the avant- garde by the Nazis.

  48. I just found your site today. Impressive work, I must say!
    I will start reading all the posts right now, and it seems I will have the pleasure of many hours of informative and inspiring reading😊
    Best Regards

  49. Hello Simon!

    I am 24 years old. I’m French and I study the bassoon at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon.
    I had to do a memoir (mémoire de recherche) for my master degree. When I was young, my parents were listening a lot of songs of Jacques Brel, Jean Ferrat and Edith Piaf containing parts of Ondes Martenot.

    I later discovered that it was this instrument, I didn’t know the name before.
    I wanted to know more about this instrument, but also about other instruments of the same period. So I decided to do my master degree’s memoir about the origin of electronic musical instruments (why at the end of the nineteenth century? And with the amazing story of the telharmonium) and study the most famous of them (Ondes Martenot, Theremin, even the Trautonium and Mixturtrautonium).

    I discovered your website and I felt in love with it. You covered almost everything, it’s clear precise, well documented and easy to use.

    So.. I wanted to say thank you! I finished my work 2 weeks ago. I just did a donation on your website. I’d like to give more but times are hard for musicians.
    I hope you’ll continue your great work and keep your amazing website online for a long, long time.

    If I can do anything for you I’ll be happy to help you.

    Thanks again!
    Goodbye and greetings from France,


  50. Hello Simon,

    Great work. I had thought electronic music didn’t develop until after WW2. Now I know better.

    Just a couple of comments to fellow commenters: 1) Many have asked for a book. Why do we need a book when we have a website that can be continuously updated? 2) The project title says “120 years of music” – meaning 120 years back until the start, so I don’t think anything post-1981 should be added. Everybody already knows what happened post 1980. By 1980, electronic music was common-place and musicians routinely used electronic instruments. Musical recordings usually list the instruments used in the performance, so anyone who has interest in a specific electronic instrument can simply do an internet search for that instrument, which will likely return with the manufacturers website.

    Stephen, Australia.

    1. Dear Stephen,

      i kindly disagree with the second topic. I think this website is more than a great basis to paint a bigger picture. So much has happened past 1981. Samplers, digital synthesis, software and now we are in the second wave of Modular Synthesis with so many companies developing amazing Eurorack Synthesizer Modules. A central website that tells the story from the beginning to the present would be a wonderful resource for all people interested.

      Greetings from Germany,

  51. I just stumbled upon this site. Very interesting.

    An electronic piano is an instrument that is all electronic. An electric piano has an amplifier that picks up a mechanically produced sound. Synthesizers and organs are not pianos but may have a piano sound.

    This was sited in the Supreme Court. It is the difference that won the suit my father had to protect his patent for the first electronic piano.

    China infringed on his patent and began importing their replica to the US. The suit went on for years and eventually bankrupted my father. (He was a concert pianist with 16 stores.)

    By the time the suit over, the digital piano has made its debut and the electronic piano became history.

    His piano contained the first full touch-sensitive keyboard and full working pedals.

    The name of his piano was PianoNova.
    Today there is a company using that name producing digital pianos.

    The only surviving model is in a museum in Northport, NY.

  52. Does anyone know when this was originally published? I was trying to use it for a high school research project and can’t find the original publish date for citation.

  53. Thanks for the education Simon Crab, greatly appreciate all the hard work you did on this. Referenced you a lot in my college paper. Hats off to you good sir.

  54. Hello. I am creator of the MEB Museum of Brazilian and World Electronic Music (in process of editing and politics). I’m organizing an exhibition called Expo MEB for 2022 at the FAAP Museum in São Paulo, SP, Brazil. I would like to have your permission to show the texts, photos and videos (credit 120 Years fo Electronic Music – website) in this exhibition. It will be a great electronic adventure.

    Electronic hugs,
    professor Eric Marke (MEB Museum / Expo MEB, São Paulo, SP, Brazil)

  55. Thank you for the information, I’m a student of Guanajuato University from Guanajuato, Mexico. I have seen information of this kind of music for a investigation and this work is very great. In spanish there are a little information about this theme. This is a big and great work.

  56. The project title says “120 years of music” – meaning 120 years back until the start, so I don’t think anything post-1981 should be added. Everybody already knows what happened post 1980. By 1980, electronic music was common-place and musicians routinely used electronic instruments. I have read your writings and I have read articles on this topic in several articles from other sources. I got a lot of information from your writing, is there any other suggestions you can convey regarding the theme of your writing? so that I can get more and more complete information.

  57. I have read your writings and I have read articles on this topic in several articles from other sources. I got a lot of information from your writing, is there any other suggestions you can convey regarding the theme of your writing? so that I can get more and more complete information.

    I certainly thank you for writing this article well, hopefully it will become a reference in journals or other scientific writings and can help many people. thanks.

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