Matrixsynth points to this gem, from the US educational kids’ program 3-2-1 Contact, produced by Children’s Television Workshop. (I can’t think of any science programs today for young people quite like it, sadly. Ordinarily I’d hold off for Matrix’s wonderful Week in Synths, but I just can’t wait on this one. Good Sunday evening watching.)

Suzanne Ciani, the synthesis pioneer, multi-Grammy nominee, and composer of everything from New Age music to classic 70s jingles and sound effects (including the distinctive synthesized Coke-unbottling sound), explains the fundamentals of acoustics and synthesis in terms children could understand:

A Prophet figures prominently, but other than that it’s almost an all-Buchla show. She’s a virtuoso at patching a Buchla patch. And between her and the host, I guarantee you’ll be extremely calm within the first few seconds.

  • Angstrom

    When I die, my god has promised me a land of hot stoned chicks who own modulars.

    I will sport a comb-over and I will be happy.

  • sillicon

    amen to that..

  • Machines

    Comb-overs FTW. Sadly, I have not enough hair left to even do something as wicked as what our good friend Steve was sporting in that awesome video.

  • Wow. I think i got a buzz from just watching that…friggin great!

  • Beautiful video, you're right about the calm. How this can't be remade for a modern audience of kids ready to delve into the world of sound and music.. baffles me truely.

    Hey Sascha, Franck? From KVR at a guess? 😀

  • Wow, that's some heavy granola.

    People in the seventies were just way way better.

  • Heavy heavy granola.

  • Judging by comments, am I the only one who watched a lot of PBS/CTW as a young'n? Everything was in this zone. It was lovely. I would do well to return to this sense of calm … maybe going out into NYC schools and teaching synthesis would help. (I know people who have done that, actually … some calmer than others.)

    And I think Suzanne Ciani actually does a great job of explaining concepts. Now we just need a whole TV *series* devoted to synthesis for children.

    I'll be the French would be up for it.

  • bliss

    Peter, you're always finding the cool vids, man! I like how Dizzy comes in at the end to put a stop to all that "pure tone" nonsense. 😉 I'm relaxed now. Think I'll go to bed.

  • Matrixsynth deserves all the credit. Well, unless you count when some of us "discovered" 3-2-1 Contact vids back in the day. 🙂

  • I thought this little pseudo-conversation was cute:

    "Vern, could we record Lisa?" "Yeah, what track would you like that on?" "Oh, any open track that we've got." "Okay, I'll put it on 2?" "Okay."

  • teej

    dood! i loved 3-2-1 Contact as a kid. other faves from the same era were the Bloodhound Detective Agency (AWESOME MUSIC), Today's Special and Pinwheel. All good stuff. my sister is currently on an ebay hunt buying homemade DVDs of all these shows from our childhood. great video here, Peter!

  • Jay Kay

    I used to have the biggest crush on that blonde. I have a mild crush on that Pro 5 now.

  • Peter, you're not alone.. ^-^ I have many fond memories of watching PBS when I was a kid. Many, many memories.

    Sadly tv has entered the collective subconcious as another noise in the background. Youll never see stuff like this on any modern program. There used to be a dignity about TV in the past that is gone now. With respect to children, it used to be viewed as a window to the world (which is why I wish they'd release 321 contact as DVDs so I can show them to my own son). Reading Rainbow is sadly one of the last shows to take children on virtual vists.

  • Ok I gotta admit after watching it again, I actually thought they were going to kiss in the first few seconds.. that lady is a dead ringer for a bad 70's lesbian porn actress.

  • I can normally only get this calm by listening to someone eat (strange, I know) Thank you, I have found peace.

    And regarding the fact that TV isn't the same – can't we make web video in this same tone we so admire?

  • poopoo

    right on MetroSonus, this one made me horny

  • I'd be calm as a cucumber except the comb over the engineer was sporting caused me a serious chakra disruption. There should be a law.

  • This goes on to remind me how much childrens programming in the 60s and 70s toyed with electronic music and sound.

    Bruce Haack was on Mr Rogers neighborhood, the kids on sesame st hung out with Herbie Hancock, not to mention all the crazy electronic soundscapes you would hear just watching regular shorts on sesame st. Especially whenever one of Jim Henson's vids came on. He was a longtime collaborator with Raymond Scott. I't was really neat stuff.

    As for this vid, I like the way it covers a lot of ground, bringing up overtones, and patches and how synthesizers make all sorts of different sounds. I also love the sound of everyone's voice in that. It's so nice!

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