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In-depth

Organ pipes thrust toward the heavens creating a sound few can imitate with the exception of the Robb Wave Organ, just one of many Canadian inventions that pursues the advancement of sound.
FEATURES
• Northern soliloquy
  - The music man
• Canadian musicians
• The marrow of music
• Science of sound
  - Psychoacoustics
• Indie nation
• Canadian sound inventions
• Nature’s orchestra
DEPARTMENTS
• Knowledge Toolbox
• Cartographer’s table
• Just the facts

Canadian sound inventions
A timeline of Canuck contributions to the science of sound

Canada has a strong voice in contemporary music, producing singers such as Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Nickleback and Sum 41. But our global contribution to sound isn’t a new phenomenon. Sound inventions and innovations have been broadcasting out of Canada in waves over the last century and have helped shape music, communications and movies.

1876
Telephone – Alexander Graham Bell
His work with hearing and speech in Burlington, Ontario, leads to his invention of the telephone in 1876.


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1800s
Glass tube organ - James P. Clarke
Clarke constructs an organ using glass tubes. He claims the glass creates a wider range of possibilities for tonal variations.

1901
Morse code - Guglielmo Marconi
Signal Hill , Newfoundland goes down in radio history after an Italian inventor transmits the letter "s" in Morse code from Cornwall, England to Signal Hill’s receiving station on December 12, 1901.

1906
Radio telephony - Reginald Fessenden
On December 24, 1906, Canadian Reginald Fessenden transmits human voices from Brant Rock, near Boston, Massachusetts, to several ships at sea. After giving a resume of the radio program, Fessenden plays a recording of Handel’s " Largo" on an Ediphone, thus establishing a second record - the first recording of the first radio broadcast.

1923
The Robb Wave Organ - Morse Robb
Robb attempts to reproduce the sound of a cathedral pipe organ by amplifying sounds generated by a series of rotating metal cylinders in Belleville, Ontario.

1928
Movie film sound system
The first in the British Empire is installed in Montréal’s Palace Theatre.

1930s
Sonobel - Oswald Michaud
A piano technician and acoustics specialist in Montréal, Michaud invents and patents an electric piano, calling it the Sonobel.

1945
Sackbut - Hugh Le Caine
Le Caine begins work on the Sackbut, the world’s first voltage-controlled synthesizer.

1951
Animated sound film - Norman McLaren
Canadian filmmaker McLaren produces Now is the Time, the first animated sound film. By drawing on the audio track of the optical film directly by hand, he is able to create specific tones that play along with his drawings on the visual frame of the film.

1953
Composertron - Osmond Kendall
It allows composers to draw images in grease pencil and hear their drawings.

1955
Multi-Track Tape Recorder - Hugh Le Caine
It uses a keyboard interface to dynamically change the playback of sounds recorded onto several magnetic recording tapes. Using the “Multi-Track”, Le Caine composes “Dripsody,” a piece of music entirely based upon the sound of water dropping into a pail.

1970
Polyphone - Hugh Le Caine
The Polyphone, a polyphonic synthesizer, is the most extensive synthesizer built to date, and is probably the first analogue, voltage controlled, polyphonic synthesizer in the world, preceding the Moog and Buchla synthesizers by nearly a decade.

1971
Digital sequencer - Ralph Dyck
Canadian synthesizer player Dyck designs a digital sequencer that is developed into the Japanese-made Roland MC-8 in 1977.

1980s
Additive synthesizer - Nil Parent
Called the ‘16’, Parent develops and refines the additive synthesizer to make, what he calls ‘...a perfect junction between synthesis and analysis.’.

1986
Synchoros - Philippe Ménard
In 1986, Ménard develops an instrument that consists of eight lamps connected to a microcomputer. Sound is produced by the movement of hands under the lamps.

1988
Graphite violins - Leonard John
A Toronto aerospace engineer and an expert on lightweight composite materials, John builds and patents three prototype graphite violins by 1988.

1998
Touch controllers TacTex
The company TacTex is established in Victoria, British Columbia to commercialize pressure-sensing technologiesadapted for musical expression..

2004
Montréal musicians Plogue invite the world to download Bidule, their modular music creation software for free at www.plogue.com.

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