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This collection profile describes electronic and electrical musical instruments in the Museum's collection. Electrical devices have been used to build musical instruments since the 1890s when electricity was first widely available for residential use. Many of the instruments in the collection are the work of Hugh Le Caine, Canadian physicist, inventor, composer and pioneer in the design of electronic instruments.

Hugh Le Caine demonstrates the 1945 Sackbut in his lab at the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa, ca 1954 (National Library of Canada)

Because of the importance of his contributions, Le Caine is included in the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame. The collection also represents the work of other inventors, and instruments that were commercially manufactured. We present here two inter-related sections, the first dealing with keyboard instruments and synthesizers, the second with instruments for electronic music studios. Together they show the changing contexts of music instruments from early in the twentieth century.

Gayle Young, 1998