What I got for Christmas... A great book!

My family were slightly bemused by my excitement on Xmas morning when I opened a parcel to find a copy of the Illustrated Compendium of Musical Technology by Tristram Cary, co-inventor of the VCS3 synth. I'd asked my mother for a copy, and she found one second-hand. It's my new geek bible, a 542-page encyclopedia of lore, full of diagrams and flowcharts. It's great because Tristram Cary really, really knows what he's talking about. The ten pages on oscillators don't just explain what they do, but how they do it. And because he came into electronic music from a classical, avant-garde angle (he founded the Royal College of Music's Electronic Music Studio in 1967), there are no endless chapters on 303s, 808s, SL-1200s and those same old stories from Detroit and Chicago. Instead, there are entries on things like magnetic hysteresis, Helmholz resonators, graceful degradation and swarf (the little ribbons of plastic spat out by a vinyl cutting head). I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys this site. I suspect Faber and Faber were expecting something with a bit more popular appeal when they published it in 1992, and perhaps it failed to find many buyers at £45 so fell out of print. Fortunately, it's not too hard to find - UK Amazon have a few copies second hand. Thanks, Mum!
UPDATE: For free, downloadable Cary-related cleverness, Analog Industries links to the original manual for the Synthi AKS, which opens with a 1624 quote from Roger Bacon.

... true geeks will already be aware that Tristram Carey also wrote music for Dr Who...

hot damn I wanna get it!
Anonymous said...
... true geeks will already be aware that Tristram Carey also wrote music for Dr Who...

AHHHH!!!!!!! but Delia derbyshire of the radiophonic workshop arranged and produced it! she was a pioneer and a master of tape composition,effects and ambience.
That is, indeed, one of the best books ever published.
It's a solid bridge between the common musician, and those who cannot throw a few years of their life into learning Electronics.

There were many things in that book that even someone with an electronics degree might not understand, because most electronics teachers don't get music theory, etc.
Im a consumer whore! just ordered mine
.. true geeks will already be aware that Tristram Carey also wrote music for Dr Who...


Thats just SO wrong. The theme Music for Dr. Who was written by Ron Grainer, (who also did Steptoe and Son) and realized (i.e did all the work) by Delia Derbyshire.

But thanks to this site I now know what to ask for for my birthday on the 13th!
dude, don't get your panties in a wad. no one said he did the theme music, but he was a contributor
i've heard many a story about Delia Derbyshire infamous tape cuts from one window out the other madness
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