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Early Synthesizers, Keyboard and Performance Instruments

The Paramus

While the Polyphone was being completed in the early 1970s, work began at the National Research Council (NRC) on one of the first computer music systems, the Paramus (870023), that combined digital and analogue technology. This type of instrument became commercially available in the early 1980s as a "hybrid synthesizer." The instrument combined the best of analogue and digital techniques, providing the more pleasant tone colour, stability and adaptability of the analogue technology and the memory and speed of computation of the digital technology. The computer was used to control all the rhythms and time lengths, to organize pitch material and to control, by graphic means, the changing volumes and tone colours of the sounds. By 1973 when work stopped on the Paramus, one of its designers, Dave Rocheleau, had completed the design of a digital oscillator that could provide a high degree of stability and waveform flexibility, but because the NRC's electronic music lab was not continued after Le Caine's retirement in 1974, the oscillator was never incorporated into the instrument.

The Paramus (870023) was an early hybrid synthesizer,
using both analogue and digital controllers. (CSTM)