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Electronic and Computer Music$
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Peter Manning

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746392.001.0001

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From Analog to Digital: The Evolution of MIDI Hardware

From Analog to Digital: The Evolution of MIDI Hardware

Chapter:
(p.279) 15 From Analog to Digital: The Evolution of MIDI Hardware
Source:
Electronic and Computer Music
Author(s):

Peter Manning

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746392.003.0015

In 1981 the Japanese electronics manufacturer Casio launched a miniature all-digital synthesizer known as the VL-1, costing less than $100. This consists of a tiny keyboard of just over two octaves, a bank of five voices controlled by a set of pushbuttons, a one-hundred-note sequencer, and a rhythm unit offering a choice of ten different patterns. This commercial device provided a major stimulus to two manufacturing sectors with broadly similar interests. The first of these concentrated on the design of basic electronic keyboards, products that used an electronic means of sound production, but specifically engineered to function as simple instruments with a fixed repertory of voices. The second focused on the development of more accessible and versatile resources, allowing composers and performers to engage proactively with the underlying functional characteristics, embracing facilities for audio synthesis and also the shaping and processing of sounds, including in addition those sampled from acoustic sources. The birth of the MIDI communications protocol in 1983 revolutionized the development of these products, leading to a prominence that materially shaped and influenced the creative development of the medium for more than a decade.

Keywords:   Chapter keywords: electronic keyboards, hardware, MIDI, sequencer, synthesizer

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