Electronically Created by Isao TomitaTwo kinds of loud sounds in the natural world have been growing on the earth since time immemorial. One is the roll of thunder, the other the sound of volcanic eruption. Both of them were feared by mankind for many centuries as the anger of God. However even the roll of thunder has been proved to be the sound caused by an electric phenomenon - that is, it is an electronic sound. Volcanic sound, on the other hand, is produced by the eruption, impact and rubbing of the substances involved; later such dynamic sounds were made by tools - hammers, bellows to make fire, etc. With the passage of time some of these tools were gradually transformed into musical instruments. At present the method of blowing, beating, rubbing, etc., are incorporated into many musical instruments in the symphony orchestra.
Produced by Plasma Music, Inc.
Cover Bas-Relief: Gene Szafran
Electric musical instruments, on the other hand, did not come into existence until the present century. In 1927 Leon Theremin devised the first electric musical instrument, whose pitch was controlled by placing the hand near to or away from its vertical rod. In 1928 Maurice Martenot, a French musician, invented the ondes martenot, which is considered the father of the present music synthesizer.
It has been said that electric sound is not expressive because it is not a natural sound but an artificial one made by a machine. However, I think that natural sound implies the rustle of the leaves by the wind, the murmur of a brook and the sound of the waves beating upon the shore. In pianos, violins, flutes and other instruments the determination of their musical scales and the methods of their resonance are made by the art of mankind, so their sounds are not intrinsically natural but mechanical.
Compared to the traditional instruments with a history of many centuries, electric musical instruments have a history of only 50 years. In addition, their shapes are not yet established, so the player is apt to become disorientated. Players of these instruments equivalent in ability to virtuosos of the piano or violin have not yet appeared. I think we must make more effort to study electric musical instruments for the future.
I have used a great variety of electrical sound producing and controlling devices, as in my previous album Snowflakes are Dancing. I have been encouraged to believe that my efforts have produced music that is truly expressive, evoking the emotions of a high musical experience. It is very rewarding.
- Isao Tomita