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Synthesizers were first used in pop music in the 1960s. In the late 1970s, synths were used in progressive rock, pop and disco. In the 1980s, the invention of the relatively inexpensive Yamaha DX7 synth made digital synthesizers widely available. The beginnings of the synthesizer are difficult to trace, as it is difficult to draw a distinction between synthesizers and some early electric or electronic musical instruments. One of the earliest electric musical instruments, the Musical Telegraph, was invented in 1876 by American electrical engineer Elisha Gray. He accidentally discovered the sound generation from a self-vibrating electromechanical circuit, and invented a basic single-note oscillator. In 1897 Thaddeus Cahill was granted his first patent for an electronic musical instrument, which by 1901 he had developed into the Telharmonium capable of additive synthesis.
In the 1920s, Arseny Avraamov developed various systems of graphic sonic art, and similar graphical sound and tonewheel systems were developed around the world. The earliest polyphonic synthesizers were developed in Germany and the United States. The Warbo Formant Orgel developed by Harald Bode in Germany in 1937, was a four-voice key-assignment keyboard with two formant filters and a dynamic envelope controller. The Hammond Novachord released in 1939, was an electronic keyboard that used twelve sets of top-octave oscillators with octave dividers to generate sound, with vibrato, a resonator filter bank and a dynamic envelope controller. In the 1940s and 1950s, before the popularization of electronic organs and the introductions of combo organs, manufacturers developed various portable monophonic electronic instruments with small keyboards. In Japan, as early as in 1935, Yamaha released Magna organ, a multi-timbral keyboard instrument based on electrically blown free reeds with pickups.
In 1949, Japanese composer Minao Shibata discussed the concept of “a musical instrument with very high performance” that can “synthesize any kind of sound waves” and is “operated very easily,” predicting that with such an instrument, “the music scene will be changed drastically. A working group at Roman Electronic Music Center, composer Gino Marinuzzi, Jr. Later the group created a solid-state version, the “Synket”. Brandenburg Concerto Number 3 played on synthesizer. The synthesizer had a considerable effect on 20th-century music.
Micky Dolenz of The Monkees bought one of the first Moog synthesizers. In 1974, Roland Corporation released the EP-30, the first touch-sensitive electronic keyboard. The Prophet-5 synthesizer of the late 1970s-early 1980s. In 1973, Yamaha developed the Yamaha GX-1, an early polyphonic synthesizer. The Fairlight CMI of the late 1970s-early 1980s.