Here is a working demo at 5 working demos of early electronic instruments that you can play in your browser! This blog post is a quick look into the Synth Museum, the instruments, and why I did the whole thing in the first place!
As promised, the Synth Museum project is now live and whirring, not to mention also beeping. Beeping is a large part of this project. In fact I’d say beeping is a significant part of the project, possibly above all else.
The project is largely complete, with 5 working demos of some of the earliest ever electronic instruments dating from 1899 to 1930, and it hopefully will inspire other people to look into what’s possible with Web Audio, and also be a nice resource for anyone curious about certain aspects of these instruments.
Some of the accuracy of the instrument sounds and functions is based on research and educated guesswork, as there are hardly any recordings of these instruments, and the only surviving instrument on this list is the Rhythmicon – the others have no known recordings or working versions as of 2018. I felt that while I may not be able to get absolute accuracy, there was enough information out there from patents, and amazing research in books like “Magic Music from the Telharmonium” by Reynold Weidenaar to make a solid first step as a demo of how they would have sounded.
The Magic Music book is available as a free PDF on his website, and it’s an interesting read into the story and design of the instrument.
Please do have a look and let me know what you think of the Synth Museum! I’d love to know that these creations are helping or entertaining other people!
I’d also like to say a huge thank you again to Ben Taylor for his amazing Nexus UI, which is a lovely, intuitive and customisable user interface setup which reduced my hair pulling exponentially. He also very kindly offered methods to modify his piano to add in different keyboard setups, which I may make a small post about in the future in case it helps anyone. I also owe a lot to the incredible resource 120years.net, which documents and gives a brilliant rundown of dozens of early electronic instruments.
Lastly, here’s a link to my Github, where all the code for this is being hosted on a completely open-source (Apache 2) licence for anyone to edit and improve.