TONTO – The Greatest Synth in History

In his latest video, synthesist and composer Anthony Marinelli talks with super-producer Robert Margouleff about T.O.N.T.O., arguably the greatest synth in history.

Video Summary:

“Dive into the revolutionary world of T.O.N.T.O, the legendary synthesizer that became synonymous with Stevie Wonder’s groundbreaking music during his classic period. In this video, I explore the incredible story behind T.O.N.T.O (The Original New Timbral Orchestra), a pioneering modular synthesizer created by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff in the early 1970s.

Discover how T.O.N.T.O’s vast array of analog modules and innovative design allowed Stevie Wonder to explore new sonic frontiers, shaping timeless albums like “Innervisions,” “Fulfillingness’ First Finale,” and “Songs in the Key of Life.” From its towering size, custom wood cabinets, to its intricate patching system, T.O.N.T.O not only expanded the palette of sounds available to musicians but also set a benchmark for electronic music production.

Through my interview with Grammy Winning Super-Producer c (T.O.N.T.O co-creator), we’ll uncover its enduring impact on music production techniques and its part in shaping the evolution of synthesizers. From its role in creating iconic basslines and ethereal textures to its influence on the development of funk, soul, and electronic music genres, T.O.N.T.O remains a testament to the power of innovation in music technology.

Whether you’re a die-hard Stevie Wonder fan, a synth enthusiast, or simply curious about the instruments that changed music forever, this video provides a comprehensive look at T.O.N.T.O’s journey from obscurity to becoming an icon of musical innovation.”

Topics covered:

00:00 Intro (theme music)
00:09 Building TONTO
01:33 Meeting Malcolm Cecil
03:25 Writing Ads for the Moog
03:55 Designing the a Giant Synth on a Tablecloth
05:05 ARP, Serge, and other synths
06:45 Making “Zero Time” & 1st Record Deal
09:14 Stevie Wonder meets Robert, Malcolm & the Moog
12:09 Moving to Electric Lady Studio
13:16 John Storyk Builds TONTO’s Case
14:54 TONTO’s Live Concert
16:47 TONTO’s Keeps Growing with Special Features
18:45 No Minimoog
19:26 Special Expression Techniques on the Moog
21:14 Stevie’s Custom Pitch Bender
24:08 Logo (theme music)

3 thoughts on “TONTO – The Greatest Synth in History

  1. You’d probably need a computer that size to run it if there was a software version. It’d be as brilliantly crazy as the real thing. Hey Arturia, try that! 😛

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