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An Illustrated Guide to Prog Rock Instruments (new

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HackettFan View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 16 2015 at 19:00
Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

^ I don't know about real calliopes used in rock, but 'calliope' is also the name of a popular preset in synths (actually it is one of the lead synth presets in the standard General Midi sound bank).
I didn't know that, although I kind of figured so.

Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:


From everything I've read, there is a calliope during the end of "In the Court of the Crimson King". Listening to it here, I am sure that it is present and not a synth or midi sound (being in 1969 and all)
Knowing Crimson, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was a real calliope, but, although it certainly wasn't a synth, do we know for sure it wasn't a mellotron with calliope sampled recordings?

 
Unfortunately, there is only anecdotal evidence that it was a real calliope. The album cover credits Ian MacDonald as playing the "mellotron, harpsichord, piano and organ", so there is no direct mention of the calliope; however, that Ian played harpsichord and organ indicates that not everything was sampled.

Well, it does sound very convincing. Maybe they just lumped the calliope in with organs, being a kind of miniature pipe organ, I don't know. I wish these were the sort of questions interviewers would ask musicians. Still it's a neat little instrument. I wonder how hard they are to find.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2015 at 16:23
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

^ I don't know about real calliopes used in rock, but 'calliope' is also the name of a popular preset in synths (actually it is one of the lead synth presets in the standard General Midi sound bank).
I didn't know that, although I kind of figured so.

Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:


From everything I've read, there is a calliope during the end of "In the Court of the Crimson King". Listening to it here, I am sure that it is present and not a synth or midi sound (being in 1969 and all)
Knowing Crimson, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was a real calliope, but, although it certainly wasn't a synth, do we know for sure it wasn't a mellotron with calliope sampled recordings?
 
Unfortunately, there is only anecdotal evidence that it was a real calliope. The album cover credits Ian MacDonald as playing the "mellotron, harpsichord, piano and organ", so there is no direct mention of the calliope; however, that Ian played harpsichord and organ indicates that not everything was sampled.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2015 at 14:54
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

^ I don't know about real calliopes used in rock, but 'calliope' is also the name of a popular preset in synths (actually it is one of the lead synth presets in the standard General Midi sound bank).
I didn't know that, although I kind of figured so.

Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:


From everything I've read, there is a calliope during the end of "In the Court of the Crimson King". Listening to it here, I am sure that it is present and not a synth or midi sound (being in 1969 and all)
Knowing Crimson, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was a real calliope, but, although it certainly wasn't a synth, do we know for sure it wasn't a mellotron with calliope sampled recordings?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2015 at 10:45
From everything I've read, there is a calliope during the end of "In the Court of the Crimson King". Listening to it here, I am sure that it is present and not a synth or midi sound (being in 1969 and all):
 
 
 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2015 at 04:51
^ I don't know about real calliopes used in rock, but 'calliope' is also the name of a popular preset in synths (actually it is one of the lead synth presets in the standard General Midi sound bank).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2015 at 23:51
Originally posted by The Dark Elf The Dark Elf wrote:

Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

I just found out that there was something called a calliope, which is some sort of miniature pipe organ associated with carnivals and such. It kind of caught my imagination. Did any Prog artists make use of one of these? Would you happen to know whether they were polyphonic? It sounds like the timbre at the end of Please Don't Touch. I always presumed a synth was used, but I don't know. Were there any calliope samples circulated for the mellotron?

 
A calliope (or steam organ) features heavily in The Beatles' "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" (it was taped, not played directly). "In the Court of the Crimson King" has one in it I recall reading.
 
P.S. David Palmer of Jethro Tull used a "portative" organ (small, portable pipe organ) on albums like Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses. It has the sound of a calliope (listen to the song "Velvet Green").

Fascinating. I'm gonna give each a listen. Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote The Dark Elf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2015 at 20:08
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

I just found out that there was something called a calliope, which is some sort of miniature pipe organ associated with carnivals and such. It kind of caught my imagination. Did any Prog artists make use of one of these? Would you happen to know whether they were polyphonic? It sounds like the timbre at the end of Please Don't Touch. I always presumed a synth was used, but I don't know. Were there any calliope samples circulated for the mellotron?
 
A calliope (or steam organ) features heavily in The Beatles' "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" (it was taped, not played directly). "In the Court of the Crimson King" has one in it I recall reading.
 
P.S. David Palmer of Jethro Tull used a "portative" organ (small, portable pipe organ) on albums like Songs from the Wood and Heavy Horses. It has the sound of a calliope (listen to the song "Velvet Green").


Edited by The Dark Elf - May 10 2015 at 20:14

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2015 at 19:53
I just found out that there was something called a calliope, which is some sort of miniature pipe organ associated with carnivals and such. It kind of caught my imagination. Did any Prog artists make use of one of these? Would you happen to know whether they were polyphonic? It sounds like the timbre at the end of Please Don't Touch. I always presumed a synth was used, but I don't know. Were there any calliope samples circulated for the mellotron?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js (Easy Money) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2015 at 20:34
Thanks, I really enjoyed this article, nice work.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 24 2015 at 02:16
^ ^ indeed, congratulations! Clap Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 23 2015 at 19:10
^ That's a quite impressive collection Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js (Easy Money) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 23 2015 at 09:36
^ besides the ones mentioned,
Crumar string synth
Radio Shack Moog
Korg PS 3100 (its huge)
the first Juno
the first sampling Casio
Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos
Farfisa organ
Ensoniq EPS
Korg Prophecy
Korg X50
Korg Trident
Yamaha digital piano
Dozens of portable keyboards, including many early models.
There are others I have owned but sold off, including the super rare Gleeman Pentaphonic.
I also collect old effects, especially echos including two vintage echoplexes and more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 23 2015 at 08:37
^ Wow also an MS20 and an Odyssey! How many keyboards do you own??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js (Easy Money) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2015 at 20:43
^ in reply to both above posts.

It was nice you included the Orchestron, a mostly forgotten keyboard. As a kid, I used to go to a massive music store in Dallas TX in the late 70s. It had all the keyboards listed here, and you could play them: Mellotrons, Arp 2600, mini-Moogs, mini-Korgs, B-3s, Organizers, etc, and the Orchestron.

The Orchestron used sounds stored on floppy vinyl discs similar to free records that would come in teen magazines. Their sound was a little vague and fuzzy, but not terrible. This store also had some kind of expensive RMI or EMI super piano with about 4 or 5 foot pedals. You just knew there was no way something like that could hold up over the years, way too fragile and complicated. A friend of mine worked on one of those for Isaac Hayes, his Mellotron also.

Re Korg MS 20 - this was Korgs underrated answer to the mini-Moog and the Arp Odyssey. Shunned by the fusion/rock crowd, the MS 20 is not as pretty as the other two, but the industrial crowd went for its massive noisy sounds. I own a MS 20 and an Odyssey, and I would take the MS 20 any day of the week, its far more reliable, versatile and creative.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meltdowner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2015 at 15:56
I saw a concert last thursday, where the keyboardist used a Korg MS-20: it's a really small and powerful synth with a very nice sound Smile I don't know what he used for sequencing though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 22 2015 at 14:16
^ I know of Crumar / Univox keyboards but I only knew some models such as the T1/ 2 / 3 or the two-manual Haven 61, but I didn't know about the Organizer, neither that Korg built the Mini-Korg for Univox. I checked them out now and they seem really nice instruments Thumbs Up Indeed the Organizer seems to be the starter of a family which morphed into the Traveler and the Haven 61 was also somehow related to them. The Mini-Korg had some odd controls I see. Congratulations for owning these vintage stuff!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote js (Easy Money) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 21 2015 at 20:19
In the mid-70s Univox made some affordable copies of classic instruments.
The Organizer tried to duplicate a Hammond B3, and the mini-Korg sort of imitated the mini Moog. I think they had a string synth too.
These instruments were used by some, but short lived, the Organizer became the Crumar Traveler, while the mini-Korg ...
For a short while, George Duke endorsed the Crumar Traveler in ads, but I don't think he played one much.
The mini-Korg was used by the Cars, Vangelis, Stevie Wonder, Michael Quatro and more. It has a very distinctive sound.
I own all of those instruments, some still work.
Are you familiar with any of these by any chance?

Edited by js (Easy Money) - March 21 2015 at 20:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 18 2015 at 17:57
Originally posted by cstack3 cstack3 wrote:


Good catch!  I saw Tony play this during the song "Red" at the King Crimson show in Chicago, you can see it at the back of the stage, behind the center drum.  He played it with a bow and it was so resonant that it shook the rafters!  
I regret so much having missed that tour Cry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 15 2015 at 22:00
Originally posted by Gerinski Gerinski wrote:

Two new additions:
- the NS Electric Double Bass occasionally played by Tony Levin (in the 'Other Guitars and Basses' entry after the Steinberger basses and guitars).

Good catch!  I saw Tony play this during the song "Red" at the King Crimson show in Chicago, you can see it at the back of the stage, behind the center drum.  He played it with a bow and it was so resonant that it shook the rafters!  




Edited by cstack3 - March 15 2015 at 22:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2015 at 10:45
Two new additions:
- the NS Electric Double Bass occasionally played by Tony Levin (in the 'Other Guitars and Basses' entry after the Steinberger basses and guitars).
- the NS/Stick in the Warr Guitar entry (an instrument also co-designed by Steinberger and played by the Rocket Scientists' Don Schiff).
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