Datamation, May 1972

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Thu Nov 17 14:52:47 CST 2016

> On Nov 17, 2016, at 3:44 PM, Kyle Owen <kylevowen at> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 10:10 AM, Paul Koning <paulkoning at>
> wrote:
>> Interesting.  From around 1975 or so, and worth learning about is the
>> music synthesizer developed on the PLATO system at the University of
>> Illinois by Sherwin Gooch.  The hardware is described in great detail
>> (including full schematics) in US Patent 4,206,675.  The software includes
>> a music code compiler, using a code somewhat like the one you referenced
>> but different in details.  I don't know if one borred from the other or if
>> they are independent inventions.  (Sherwin might remember.)
>> A few years later PLATO added a 16 channel waveform synthesis device,
>> controlled by the microprocessor in the terminals.  It had a similar music
>> code, plus support for a piano keyboard (with key velocity sensing) for
>> music input with real time display of the score, as well as score
>> printing.  Not long after, Lippold Haken created a keyboard that's
>> continuous rather than discrete (think of a keyboard like the fingerboard
>> of a violin); a successor of that is still sold today.
> I'd be very interested in any sound samples, if anyone has any...I guess
> that's perhaps unlikely. 

Sound samples of the PLATO devices?  I have somewhere an audio file made from a tape recording of the earlier one (the GSW, 4 channel square wave).  And it's supported in the PLATO terminal emulator that talks to the PLATO system.  That almost certainly doesn't exactly reproduce the wave form; I haven't attempted to simulate the impulse response of the output circuit though I could certainly give that a try.

As for the later device, I don't have any recordings but they might exist.  Sherwin Gooch would be the most likely source, along with Lippold Haken.


More information about the cctech mailing list