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.


Keith Lo Bue said...

Excellent to see this up here. I own this, but it is in a 33rpm 12" format. For those who'd like to download the alternate packaging, you can pick it up (hi-res jpeg's) from me here:


This has always been one of the gems of my electronic collection, glad to see more people tuning in to it. I've got the date as 1955.

Keep up the simply fantastic blog, Adam. I hope to be able to contribute someday.

In fact, I've got an excellent companion recording to this one, an ep by Bell Labs called "Hee S Aw Dhuh Kaet (He Saw the Cat): Computer Speech" from 1963.

I'll be checking back often to find more pearls.

Unknown said...

awesome site dude ,
ivan from men without hats

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your site. Amazing stuff! It's great to be able to discover the hidden gems of early electronics. Thanks!

D-Zoom Banda said...

great blog!
thank you for this post.


Anonymous said...

Thank You for all the Great Music
you SHARE!!Excellent Taste in Sounds

Anonymous said...

Hi, just discovering your blog. Two words: Bravo and Thanks. Keep going with your incredible work, a lot of people do appreciate.


Mr Fab said...

Wow, where has this blog been all my life? Danke!