Every week at Synthtopia, we feature Sunday Synth Jams that capture artists doing unusual and creative things with synthesizers and electronic instruments.
One thing we’ve noticed in the last few years, though, is that these jams are expanding our idea of what a synthesizer is – well beyond the idea of a keyboard with lots of knobs on it or a modular synth.
Take this synth jam, Study for Tabletop, by percussionist Charles Martin:
A little piece I put together for a tabletop music interfaces workshop at Stanford CCRMA in July 2010.
The piece uses Lawrence Fyfe’s JunctionBox framework on top of Processing, SuperCollider and Reactivision.
Martin’s Reactivision table doesn’t fall into our traditional concepts of either percussion or electronic keyboards – but, instead, synthesizes elements of other instruments to create something new.
This seems to be the heart of the idea of what a synthesizer is: an instrument that mergest not just sounds – but ideas – to allow the creation of new types of music and musical performances.
Check out Martin’s video and let me know what you think! Can a tabletop be a synthesizer?