Electronic Musical Instruments 1870-1990

Invention: Telharmonium or Dynamophone
Inventor: Thaddeus Cahill
Year of Invention: 1897
Country of Origin: USA
Brief description:
Largely considered to be the first significant electronic musical instrument, the Telharmonium was a complicated mess of dynamos, geared shafts and a multiple set of polyphonic velocity sensitive keyboards. Like the Musical Telegraph it used the telephone system as an amplifier.

It was a beast, weighed in at 200 tons, measured some 60 feet long and cost roughly $200,000 to construct. It took up the entire floor of "Telharmonic Hall" (39th Street and Broadway, New York City) for over twenty years.

The Dynamophone was way ahead of its time, and had it been perhaps a little less bulky, it may have been the Moog of the early 20th century. No known recordings exist. :/
For more information on Electronic Musical Instruments, visit http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/

Tel`har*mo"ni*um (?), n. [Gr. th^le far + harmolium.]

An instrument for producing music (Tel*har"mo*ny [&?;]), at a distant point or points by means of alternating currents of electricity controlled by an operator who plays on a keyboard. The music is produced by a receiving instrument similar or analogous to the telephone, but not held to the ear. The pitch corresponds with frequency of alternation of current.


© Webster 1913

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.