Electronic music instruments weren't called synthesizers until the 1950s, but their lineage began in 1919 with Russian inventor Lev Sergeyevich Termen's development of the Etherphone, now known as the Theremin. From that point, synthesizers have undergone a remarkable evolution from prohibitively large mid-century models confined to university laboratories to the development of musical synthesis software that runs on tablet computers and portable media devices.
Throughout its history, the synthesizer has always been at the forefront of technology for the arts. In The Synthesizer: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Programming, Playing, and Recording the Ultimate Electronic Music Instrument, veteran music technology journalist, educator, and performer Mark Vail tells the complete story of the synthesizer: the origins of the many forms the instrument takes; crucial advancements in sound generation, musical control, and composition made with instruments that may have become best sellers or gone entirely unnoticed; and the basics and intricacies of acoustics and synthesized sound. Vail also describes how to successfully select, program, and play a synthesizer; what alternative controllers exist for creating electronic music; and how to stay focused and productive when faced with a room full of instruments. This one-stop reference guide on all things synthesizer also offers tips on encouraging creativity, layering sounds, performance, composing and recording for film and television, and much more.
More a sales pitch than a book
While I enjoyed Mark's first book, years ago, which had a tragicomic underlying narrative about the history of the synthesizer industry (basically: most businesses are likely to fail, for an almost infinite variety of unexpected reasons), this one, sadly, turns too quickly into, first, a comparatively disorganized and breezy re-hash of the first book, and then, into an outdated sales pitch for Mark's Fave Eurorack Modules.
It would have been better if more effort had been put into getting out of sales pitch mode, and more into analysis.
I'm sure it will serve as an interesting collection of disorganized notes for the novice synth hunter.
Me, though, I wish I could get my money back. Caveat Emptor.
This is the ultimate book for the synth lover! It has it all from a very thorough history to sound creation principles. Whether you are into vintage analog, digital software or the newest iPad synth, or all points in between, this book is required and highly entertaining reading. The best book on the subject by far.