First of It's Kind Interactive Synth Exhibit Opens At NAMM's Museum of Making Music

Music of Making Music - Music From the Sound Up: The Creative Tools of Synthesis

Post date:

Wed, 11/06/2019 - 09:51


Naomi Bolton

NAMM's Museum of Making Music has something brand new for synth enthusiasts with a first-of-its-kind exhibit titled, Music from the Sound Up: The Creative Tools of Synthesis. The official opening was Friday, 18 October 2019, and this special exhibit will continue until April of 2020. The purpose of this unique exhibit is to highlight the creativity and flexibility of synthesizers. To accomplish this, the exhibit is using tactile-based stations that offer visitors interactive experiences that are designed to inspire music-making.

The creative co-developers behind the exhibit is Dr. Jonathan Piper, who is the Manager of Artifacts and Exhibitions at MoMM, as well as Dr. Chris Warren, who is a sound artist and San Diego State professor. Synthesis can be a daunting and complicated concept for people, which is why it is great to see MoMM giving it a humanistic spin. As visitors walk through the seven stations they'll be able to see firsthand the connection that exists between the concepts of synthesis and the music that is created using synthesizers.

According to Dr. Piper, the purpose of MoMM is not just to create an experience that speaks to the popularity of the instrument, but also to make synthesis less mysterious. MoMM accomplished this by taking abstract ideas and then turning them into metaphorical concepts that can be heard, seen and touched by visitors. In doing so synthesizers are presented in a definable and relatable manner. Of course, creativity also lies at the heart of MoMM as visitors are encouraged to join in and make music from the sound up when they go to the museum.

Even this process is not as complicated as you might think as special synth stations have been designed for The MoMM. These can be used by visitors to make their own on-the-spot original musical sounds. Thanks to blocks with memory functions, the sounds each person creates as they move through the six synthesis stations can be recorded and stored. Each station also represents an important element of synthesis, such as low-frequency oscillators, soundwaves, reverb and more. At the seventh station, participants can then use a guitar, keyboard, Theremin, or even Ableton Push to play their sound.

Nobody can deny that synths have had a long history in popular music and demand for these instruments show no signs of wavering. This is largely thanks to EDM artists who have risen to the global market, as well as more emerging creators along with hobbyists favoring these instruments. Of course, the overall affordability of keyboards and synths is also making them an enticing option for musicians and creative folk. In fact, according to the 2019 NAMM Global Report, there was an increase of 5.55% for sales of the keyboard synth category in 2018 compared to the previous year. This equated to sales of $150.9 million, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The Museum of Making Music has long held a reputation for presenting some of the rarest and most historically-significant exhibitions. These include Low: The Power & Beauty of Bass, The Magic & Mystery of Slide Guitar, Expanding Voices in the USA: The Resurgence of the Accordion, and many more. However, synth fans will agree that it is about time that this form of music is given its own exhibit and chance to shine.

For more information about the exhibit head on over to the official website. To learn more about the education programs, upcoming live performances as well as exhibit and gallery news, visit