Book Recommendation: “Synthesizer von Gestern” (Matthias Becker)

THE German synthesizer classic by Matthias Becker (text) and Dieter Stork (photos) set the standard for high-quality synth-journalism way back in the 80s. Its articles, which originally appeared in “Keyboards” magazine, were later offered in book-form (part 1 and part 2) by MM Musik Media publishing company. The books are available in German only, but we think the great pictures and diagrams are worth a buy for any synth enthusiast around the globe …

Part 1 (1990) is probably the highlight for synth insiders. On the one hand, the great classics of synth history are introduced (Minimoog, EMS VCS3, ARP 2600, Jupiter-8, Memorymoog, …). On the other hand, there are those especially remarkable (often full-page!) photos by Dieter Stork.

Along with lots of synthesizer reports, part 2 (1995) contains a tribute to Oscar Sala. Unfortunately, the graphic work in this second volume is not as spectacular as in part 1. Occasional small photos limit the amount of visual information – a pity.

These standard works of synthesizer literature can still sometimes be found on the used book market, occasionally even packaged together with the (separately published, optional) audio-CDs “Synthesizer von Gestern”.

Synthesizer von Gestern (Part 1)
by Matthias Becker
1st edition March 1990; MM-Musik-Media-Verlag GmbH
ISBN 3-927954-00-4

Synthesizer von Gestern (Part 2) by Matthias Becker
1st edition February 1995; MM-Musik-Media-Verlag GmbH
ISBN 3-927954-01-2

Synthesizer von Gestern – Audio CDs (Originalton West)
Synthesizer von Gestern Part 1 (Amazon)
Synthesizer von Gestern Part 2 (Amazon)
MM Musik Media Verlag

Filed under 2019, Books

“Es genügt, einen Ton schön zu spielen” sagte der Komponist Arvo Pärt im Jahre 2005. Diese Aussage ist ebenso einfach wie ich auch exzellent: Es braucht kein Meer an Tönen, denn entscheidend ist der Klang. Dass so mancher Vintage-Synthesizer der 70er und 80er Jahre teils unerreicht hochwertige Klänge liefert, steht außer Frage. Doch tatsächlich leben wir “heute” in einer nahezu perfekten Zeit. Einerseits hat man – mehr oder weniger – noch Zugriff auf die Vintage Analogen, andererseits wird auch bei Neugeräten die wichtige Komponente des hochwertigen Klanges wieder zunehmend berücksichtigt. Doepfer, Cwejman,, MacBeth, Moog, GRP, Studio Electronics, COTK, John Bowen und andere Hersteller bauen hervorragende Synthesizer, die den “Klassikern” in nichts nachstehen. All diesen (alten wie neuen) “großartigen” Instrumenten ist Great Synthesizers gewidmet. _________________________________________________________ In 2005 composer Arvo Pärt said: “Playing one tone really well is enough”. In other words, it is sufficient to play one tone 'beautifully'. I agree with that. All musical efforts are focused on the sound itself. Although I studied classical music (piano and drums), it’s the electronic sound that inspires me. Synthesizers are the epitome of new sounds and exciting tonal spheres. Today, many companies produce high-quality - excellent! - synthesizers: Doepfer, Cwejman, MacBeth, Moog, GRP,, COTK, Studio Electronics, John Bowen and others. It's their products I'm really interested in ... apart from Vintage Synthesizers, which I have been collecting for 20 years. Subsequent to our former websites Bluesynths and Blogasys, Peter Mahr and I have now created GreatSynthesizers. We hope you like it.

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