Subharmonicon | The Past Informs The Future

Subharmonicon history lesson!

Did you know that this polyrhythmic synthesizer was inspired by analog instruments and music theory concepts from the early 1900s?

Officially released two years ago today, elements of Subharmonicon’s story date back nearly a century. The instrument was inspired by composer Joseph Schillinger’s mathematical systems for musical composition and was also influenced by two analog innovations from the 1930s and 1940s: Oskar Sala’s Mixtur-Trautonium, which employed a series of subharmonic oscillators to generate electronic undertones, and Leon Theremin’s Rhythmicon, an instrument capable of sounding multiple harmonically related polyrhythm generators simultaneously.

More about the development process from Steve Dunnington, our current VP of Engineering and former apprentice of Bob Moog:

“A long time ago, when I was in college and first met Bob, the Rhythmicon came up a couple of times. One of his other students was into Schillinger…and I’ve always been fascinated by patterns that repeat differently each time…and that’s a thing you can explore with Subharmonicon. This instrument was inspired by some of the ideas and musical concepts of Schillinger, such as the idea that by taking a set of pitches and superimposing them on a set of rhythms with a different length will generate rotating musical motives.”

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