Monday, October 26, 2009

instruments and folklore

Although much of what is interesting and exciting about a musical instrument is a holistic experience that comes from making music, there are times when one's intellect has other questions.

Sadly not many people seem as interested as I am in the history and folklore that goes along with instrument design. This is not to say that the various people with whom I spoke weren't generous with their time, quite the contrary.

My feeling is as a general rule is that for example, some aspects of an instrument's development and the changes that occurred before it reached the point of being considered classic are not that interesting to people when for me they are important touch stones that often reveal what a designer may have had in mind to begin with with.

I am trying to unravel a bit of a mystery relating to my Wiard system. See if you can follow me.

Wiard system number 2 (six modules plus controller) was sold by it's original owner when they moved abroad, theoretically as a whole unit. That system was integrated into a lager system which ultimately ended up being 24 or so modules. It was used on a bunch of recordings and then sold of in parts.

I ended up with what I assumed to be some pretty early modules among the ones I bought. The first three Wiard systems reacted to black light, I never tested mine but I figured that two (VCO & SEQ) plus the controller where early enough.

Fast forward a few years and I buy 1 module (The Filter) and realize that my friend is selling two more from that system. He is the forth owner so already the details are harder to trace but from what I can figure out from talking to a number of people involved including previous owners, I feel like I am one module away from owning system two. I have put out the word that i am looking for the last module.

Now, 5 of the 6 modules believe to be part of that early system are in my case and I'm doing some dusting. I finally, all these years later pull out the black light.. What do you know, the Filter, Sequentizer and VCO don't glow. Only the Envelator and the Waveform City.

It is clear from the graphics on these panels that they are very early and were done in Grant's garage. My understanding is that there is only one blue "The Filter" and it does appear in a photo I have that is alleged to be system 2. I also know that the first three systems had glowing paint.

Where does that leave me?

Information may come from my posting this but in truth, the end result is my instrument s my instrument and it may have some aspect of folklore to it but it's most important that we make our own.