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Don Buchla, Inventor Of The Buchla Synthesizer, Has Died

The California modular synthesizer pioneer passed away at the age of 79.

September 16, 2016

Musicians and fans have taken to Twitter on Friday to pay tribute to Don Buchla, a pioneering synthesizer engineer whose instrumental remain influential today. No official announcement of his death has been made. A post on the Muffwiggler message board reported that Buchla had been in a hospice care facility for the last few months.

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Soon after founding his Berkeley, California-based electronic company, Buchla and Associates, in 1962, Buchla was commissioned to make an electronic instrument meant for live performances through a Rockefeller Foundation grant. The final product was the Buchla Series 100, which was completed in 1963 and went on sale in 1966. Buchla went on to create the first digitally controlled analog synthesizer and released a fully MIDI capable controller in 1987.

Many contemporary musicians continue to use Buchla instruments, including seminal producer and sound designer Suzanna Ciani, who used Buchla synthesizers for her collaborative Sunergy album with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.

Watch an interview with Don Buchla from the National Association of Music Merchants' oral history project here.

Don Buchla, Inventor Of The Buchla Synthesizer, Has Died