Rare Russian ANS Synthesizer Demonstrated

The ANS synthesizer (named after Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin) is a photoelectronic musical instrument created by Russian engineer Evgeny Murzin between 1937 to 1957.

The synthesizers uses cinematography, which makes it possible to “photograph” a sound wave, as well as synthesizing a sound from a drawn sound wave.

The introduction is in Russian, but about 4:15 into the video, the ANS synthesizer is demonstrated.

Here’s a Googlish translation of the text that accompanies the video:

Synthesizer [ANS] photoelectronic musical tool is designed by Russian inventor by Eugene [Murzinym] in 1958. With the aid of [ANSa] the composer can create music of any colorings in the directly reverberating form, without the musicians of executors, he writes sounds on the glass, necessary to it, covered with the opaque nondrying paint, removing by cutters paint in the specific places. This glass- is the unique musical score of tool, working on the musical score of synthesizer, composer it becomes similar to artist, who records the picture: it tints, it retouches, it erases and new code figures are brought, achieving auditory control of the obtained result.

The freedom of work in this musical score conceals the inexhaustible possibilities.

Invention was named by the designer “OF [ANS]” in the honor of composer Alexander Nikolayevich [Skryabina]. The large part of the music to the films Andrey Tarkovsky [Eduard] [Artemev] wrote with the aid of [ANS].

Video demonstrates experiment; [ANS] reproduces the figure of the artist of Svetlana [Bogatyr] ” Unknown Of [miry]”. On October 21, 2009 [GTSMMK] [im]. OF [M].[I]. Of [glinki] concert [posvyashchennyy] to 95- anniversary from the birthday of Eugene Alexandrovich [Murzina].

If you can summarize the commentary from the video, leave a comment below!

Stanislav Kreichi explains the significance of this rare synthesizer:

“The ANS remains a unique apparatus available to only a limited circle of musicians: the single experimental model of the device in existence currently belongs to Moscow State University, where a general lack of space and technical support have prevented a widening of the circle of ANS users. Although the ANS has not achieved widespread fame, the idea of directly transforming graphic structures into sound structures has not lost its relevance and can now be used successfully in computer music.”

via Octopusvision

5 thoughts on “Rare Russian ANS Synthesizer Demonstrated

  1. I got to see a tape of the ANS synth made back in 1991 by Emerson Professor Maurice Methot. Great to see this old wonder again. It looks like they have polished it up a little and added some new parts. Fantastic to see that this survived.

  2. Oh my god this almost made me cry, what a tremendous instrument full of passion and grace, the true sound of the spheres. Wonderful to find this treasure has been taken out of the basement and refitted to survive into the future for the benifit of all.
    Thanks so much for posting this, it was a real emotional and inspirational experience.

  3. There was a CD of compositions for the Ans Synthesizer on the Electroshock Label, featuring work by composers like Gubaidulina and Denisov as well as Artemiev, etc. It’s rather rare but well worth seeking out.

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