“She Blinded Me With Science” author Thomas Dolby explains in basic terms how a synthesizer works.
We’ve all heard the musical fruits of audio synthesis, especially if we regularly listen to the pop of the 1980s. But how, exactly, does a synthesizer work? Ask a modern electronic-music enthusiast and the answer may come out too technical, and at too much length, to bear. But pioneeringly technology-minded singer-songwriter Thomas Dolby, he of “She Blinded Me with Science” (though I’ve always prefer his more elegiac numbers like “Airwaves“), can give you a clearer, more concise explanation. In fact, he gets it simple to the point of child-friendliness — so simple that he gives it on a children’s television program. The Ghost of Faffner Hall, which ran in late 1989 in England and America, taught lessons about music with a gallery of famous performers — Bobby McFerrin, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Mark Knopfler — in a puppet-rich setting. Those puppets, the denizens (living and dead) of the titular Faffner Hall, came built by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, known for their mastery of Muppet craft.
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