How an 18th-Century Monk Invented the First Electronic Instrument

We tend to think of electronic music as a modern phenomenon, dating back only to the 20th century, but the invention of the first instrument made to use electricity occurred a couple centuries deeper than that. The man pictured above, Czech theologian and scientist Václav Prokop Diviš, “is now regarded as the earliest visionary of electronic music,” writes Motherboard’s Becky Ferreira , owing to the fact that “his dual interests in music and electricity had merged into a single obsession with creating an electrically enhanced musical instrument.” Around the year 1748, that obsession produced the “Denis d’or,” or “Golden Dionysus,” a “keyboard-based instrument outfitted with 790 iron strings that were positioned to be struck like a clavichord rather than plucked like a guitar.” Through the electromagnetic excitation of the piano strings, the monk could “imitate the sounds of a whole variety of other instruments.” “Diviš was an interesting character, having also invented the lightning rod at the same time as, but independently of, Benjamin Franklin,” says the Cambridge Introduction to Electronic Music .

Fonte: How an 18th-Century Monk Invented the First Electronic Instrument

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