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MP3 Fredrick Hoffer - CD 19 Electric Piano Suite, Number one

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MP3 Fredrick Hoffer - CD
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This is an evocation of the great electronic sounds that were so popular back in the 70's and 80's when every group had at least one electric piano.

19 MP3 Songs

CD 19
Electric Piano Suite, Number one

This is an evocation of the great electronic sounds that were so popular in the 70's and 80's, when every group had at least one electronic piano. An electric piano is one of the early synthesuzers; a marriage of a keyboard with a small dedicated computer. They were the first real electronic instruments, progressing from the earlier beeps and peeps to sounds that were much more musical. They were analog machines and usually had only one sound available. Analog machines were controlled by voltage variations; almost all of the first computers were analog, as opposed to digital. On musical instruments usually one volt covered an entire octave; i.e. twelve notes were divided into one volt! Obviously that required precision electronics which were often affected by changes in temperature or by unstable supply voltages.

Analog synthesizers were notoriously difficult to keep in tune, often going off during a song. Still the sounds were gorgeous, making the difficulties in using them worthwhile.

Our syntheser, the Kawai K1R, is one of the first digital instruments so it stays in tune. The "R" shows that it is not a keyboard, but a sound module. It fits into a musical instrument rack in a space which is 1 3/4" high and 19" wide, so it is wide and thin. The sounds are triggered by a separate keyboard.

Instead of reproducing the sounds of acoustic instru-ments, our sound module copies, more or less successfully, the sounds of the early analog synthesizers, so we get the best of both worlds. I was fortunate enough to get one of the last of the K1R's at a final sale at Sam Ash's here in New York several years ago, and it has become one of my favorites.

You will notice that I have not actually named any of these songs. The titles are the names that the Kawai people have given to each one of their sounds.

1. "Hello"; The first song has various tuned bell sounds.

2. Indiatown; This has what sounds like an electric guitar accompanied by a sitar. It buzzes.

3. Stratus; Well, classic electric guitar sounds.

4. Reso Clav; A resonant clavier. A lot of electric pianos had this sound. It doesn't sound much like a clavier, maybe an amplified one.

5. Real Rhodes; Harold Rhodes was stationed at one of the American airfields in England during World War II. In his spare time he assembled an electric piano out of radio parts for the wounded soldiers to play when they were ambulant, but still in the hospital.
After the war he refined his design and founded a company to make his electric piano. The sound was clear and bell like, and they became very popular. To this day his instruments are still in demand.
At one point sales dropped off, and he became discouraged. He sold his company and his name to Roland of Japan who put out their own version of his sounds. When he wanted to start up again, he could no longer use his own name, although I believe Roland did finally relent. Bob Moog ran into the same problem when he sold his company, and has just been able to repurchase his rights.
Harold Rhodes died two years ago, one of the true pioneers of the new music.

6. Tenor Sax; A duet.

7. Quazy Moto; Bell sounds.

8. Jazz Harp; A very nice Harp sound, but after all they couldn't just call it a Harp; not cool enough.

9. Metallica; Sounds of various pieces of metal being struck.

10. Techno Base; Sometimes one of these sounds can be played way out of its normal range, giving us a related, but very different kind of sound. Here we have a plucked Base Viol, accompanied by a higher plucked instrument.

11, Voices; One of the innovations of the 70's and 80's was the imitation of vocal sounds. They could only sing "Oh's" or "Ah's", but the sound was used a lot intil people got tired of it.

13. Techno Base; Another duet.

14. "Hello"; Hello again.

15. Electric Tom; Slack drums being struck, giving a slight "boing" sound.

16. Voices; More pretty voices.

17. Kick Base; A Base Viol combined with a Base Drum sound.

18. Jan's Dog; This is a monophonic sound. At first synthesizers could make only one sound at a time, they were monophonic. The next sound would cut off the first one, which is what happens here, Then gradually they became capable of playing more than one sound at once; they became polyphonic. Now up to 128 sounds can be played, all at once.
One would think that being monophonic would preclude making any listenable music, but it doesn't really. The sounds are those of a piccolo flute.

19. Water Drama; Voices with bird sounds. Think of a lake in the North Woods in the fading light after sunset, with the loon and the other night birds starting to become active, each singing its own kind of song.

The lady on the cover is a fortune teller, who is holding a large glass ball which glows in the dark.

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