Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Sounds and Music of the RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer [external link]

"The Sounds and Music of the RCA Electronic Synthesizer" (RCA Victor, unknown date)
posted at The Reverse Time Page

A while ago our reader Dave pointed us to an exciting link containing a copy of this rare RCA Electronic Music Synthesizer demonstration record, issues in the 50s or 60s on RCA Victor. RCA? Yes, the giant vacuum tube beast even bigger than the TONTO featured here previously (size matters...). Many many thanks Dave!! (also to seasob for offering this record to me recently!!)

Mark from The Reverse Time Page, your trusted source for "early radios, vacuum tubes, electric clocks, and unusual technological debris of the past" ( posted all eight sides of this obscure record. Many many thanks Mark!
  • Side 1: The Synthesis of Music-The Physical Characteristics of Musical Sounds (7:13, 3.3 mb)
  • Side 2: The Synthesis of Music-Synthesis by Parts (Part 1) (5:55, 2.7 mb)
  • Side 3: The Synthesis of Music-Synthesis by Parts (Part 2) (4:37, 2.1 mb)
  • Side 4: Excerpts from Musical Selections (Part 1) (6:05, 2.8 mb)
  • Side 5: Excerpts from Musical Selections (Part 2) (3:28, 1.6 mb)
  • Side 6: Complete Selections-Bach Fugue No. 2, Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 1 (4:47, 2.2 mb)
  • Side 7: Complete Selections-Oh Holy Night (Adam), Home Sweet Home (Bishop) (6:42, 3.1 mb)
  • Side 8: Complete Selections-Stephen Foster Medley, Nola (Arndt), Blue Skies (Berlin) (7:49, 3.6 mb)
Please go to Mark's site to access the music:

You can find more music realised on the RCA synthi here:
Charles Wuorinen: Time's Econium (available as audio stream; CD released on Tzadik)
Also look for early records by Vladimir Ussachevsky, Milton Babbitt, Otto Luening and other members of the Columbia-Prineton Electronic Music Center where the RCA was the main synthesizer for some time.

Here's some substantial information on this mechanical beast:

A million thanks both to Mark for preserving this & to Dave for pointing me to this remarkable resource.