The ‘Triadex Muse’ Edward Fredkin & Marvin Minsky, USA, 1971

Triadex Muse
The Triadex Muse

The Triadex Muse was an idiosyncratic sequencer based synthesiser produced in 1972. Designed by Edward Fredkin and the cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky at MIT, the Muse used a deterministic event generator that powered by early digital integrated circuits to generate an audio output. The Muse was not intended as a musical instrument per-se but as a compositional tool (as well as an artificial intelligence experiment), therefore the audio output was left purposefully simple; a monophonic square-wave bleep. The Muse was designed to be connected to a number of other Triadex units  –  an Amplifier and speaker module, a Multi-Muse Cable (used to link multiple Muses together), and a Light Show module; a colour sequencer whose 4 coloured lamps blink in time to the Muse’s signals, using Triadex’s own proprietary standard (therefore they were unable to connect to any other voltage controlled instrument)

Triadex Muse and Amplifier/Speaker module
Triadex Muse and Amplifier/Speaker module

The Muse had no keyboard control but a series of eight slider each with forty set positions. Four of the sliders controlled the interval between notes, and the other four controlled the overall sequence ‘theme’. Visual feedback was provided by a series of displays next to the sliders showing the status of the logic gates. Another set of sliders control the volume from the internal speaker, the tempo of the sequence, and the pitch. Additional switches allow you to start the sequence from the beginning, step through it note-by-note, or substitute a rest point in place of the lowest note.




4 thoughts on “The ‘Triadex Muse’ Edward Fredkin & Marvin Minsky, USA, 1971”

    1. Hi Bob, If I’m not mistaken they are highly sought after instruments. I can’t find one on ebay or anywhere else for that matter.

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