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SynthFest UK seminars look at past and future of synthesis

Early electronic instruments examined, plus pioneering new synthesis technique demonstrated

The Trautonium in action — visit SynthFest UK on Oct 6th to see archive footage and the instrument itself in action.

SynthFest UK is just over two weeks away and the seminar programme is shaping up nicely to include some fascinating topics that will be of interest to any synth fan or electronic music maker.

Kicking off the day at 11am on Saturday 6th October is an exploration of the history of the Trautonium, a strange and almost forgotten electronic instrument designed in the 1920s. Presented by James Worthington (aka Ghost Money) the talk will feature excerpts from old documentary films plus a live demonstration by James who will play one of these unusual instruments.

Another highlight is 'Sound Synthesis using Residuals’ (2:45pm), a talk from synthesis expert Martin Russ. In this seminar, Russ will give the first UK demonstration of his pioneering method of deconstructing sampled instrument sounds. This session will show you a simple new way to split samples into a ‘pitched’ and a ‘noise’ part to allow changes to the normally inaccessible features of the sounds, all using readily-available tools. If you have ever wanted to make more of your existing samples or felt limited by the editing capabilities of ordinary sample replay, then you should attend this session. Forget resynthesis, this is easier and promises better results!

We’re delighted to welcome back Caro C (instigator and project manager of Delia Derbyshire Day) who will present a session on the late great electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire. And, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, official archivist Mark Ayres presents Deconstructing the Dr Who Theme created by Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Also back is Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 and Human League who returns to discuss his passion for synths.

The history of electronic music is truly under the spotlight at SynthFest UK this year, with Author David Stubbs, known for his previous book on Kraftwerk, talking about his new tome, Mars By 1980: The Story of Electronic Music. (4:45pm)

This will neatly lead into the VIP Roundtable Discussion with panel guests Richard Barbieri (ex Japan and Porcupine Tree), Katia Isakoff (Altersonic, Women Produce Music), Elizabeth Bernholz of Gazelle Twin and 1960s synth musician David Vorhaus of White Noise fame. In this not-to-miss session, panel guests will discuss the music, instruments and technology that inspired them and their creations.

Early bird tickets are available until Sept 24 costing only £10 (£12.50 thereafter, £15 on the door). Entry to seminars is offered at no extra charge to ticket holders. Seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis on the day. 

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