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Kurzweil Midiboard MIDI Implementation Chart Function BASIC CHANNEL MODE Transmitted Default: 1 Changed: 116 Default: Mode 2, 3, 4 Messages: Mode 1,2,3,4 Altered: ************ True Voice: Recognised X 116 Mode 1, 3 X X X X X X X X X All controllers assignable. Defaults: Right wheel forward = cc1 Right wheel back = cc2 Button 1 = cc7 Right switch pedal = cc64 Left switch pedal = cc66 Selects Setups Memory dump / load; setup edits. Kurzweil ID = 07 H MIDIboard product ID = 4D H via MIDI lists via MIDI lists For arpeggiator sync Tx all, Rx Start only via MIDI lists via MIDI lists via MIDI lists via MIDI lists O:YES X: NO Can transmit on up 8 channels simultaneously. Remarks
NOTE NUMBER VELOCITY AFTERTOUCH PITCH BEND CONTROL CHANGE
Note ON: O Note OFF: O Keys: O Chs: O O 0119 O
PROGRAM CHANGE SYSTEM EXCLUSIVE
O ************ O
O 199 O
SYSTEM COMMON SYSTEM REAL TIME
Song Pos: O Song Sel: O Tune: O Clock: X Commands: O O O O O X O
X X X O O X X X X X X Mode 2: OMNI ON, MONO Mode 4: OMNI OFF, MONO
All Sound Off: Reset Controllers: AUX Local ON/OFF: MESSAGES All Notes OFF: Active Sensing: System Reset:
Mode 1: OMNI ON, POLY Mode 3: OMNI OFF, POLY
Chart drawn up by David Davis from Kurzweil MIDBOARD 3.0 Musicians Guide
& Pink Floyd
Keyboard, Synthesizer & Electronics Equipment
- version 1.56 -
Richard Wright / Pink Floyd keyboard & synthesizer equipment
version 1.56 by aZiMuTh :: Last updated: 29-Mar-04
Keyboard / Electronics / Synthesizer gear (through the years)
Farfisa Combo-Compact Organ (1964-1968) Early pre-Floyd days up until Saucerful of Secrets Farfisa Compact Duo Organ (1968-1973) From Saucerful of Secrets up until Dark Side of The Moon Mellotron M400 Mark II (1968-1971) Used in Saucerful, Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother Yamaha C-7 Acoustic Grand Piano (1968-1979) From early albums throughout the seventies Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ (1968-1972) From Saucerful until Obscured by Clouds Harmonium (1970-1982) Used in Madcap Laughs, Barrett, Meddle, Obscured By Clouds & The Final Cut Steinway & Sons Baby Classical Grand Piano (1971- ) Pompeii, Dark Side and beyond EMS VCS3 Putney Synthesizer (1971) Used in Meddle Fender Rhodes Stage 73/88 Mark I Electric Piano (1972-1973) Obscured by clouds & Dark Side EMS VCS3 Synthi A Synthesizer (1972-1973) Used in Obscured by Clouds & Dark Side of the Moon Hammond RT-3 Two-Manual Console Organ (1972-1973) Dark Side Of The Moon sessions ARP Solina String Ensemble Synthesizer (1972-1977) Used in Obscured, Wish You & Animals Wurlitzer EP-200 Electric Piano (1973-1975) Used in Dark Side & Wish You Were Here MOOG Minimoog Synthesizer (1973-1977) Used in Dark Side, Wish You Were Here & Animals EMS Synthi Hi-Fli Guitar Synthesizer (1973-1977?) Used in Dark Side tour and Wish You Were Hammond B-3 / C-3 Organ (1973-1994) From Wish You Were Here through to the Division Bell tour EMS VCS3 Synthi AKS Synthesizer (1973-1994) Used in Dark Side, Wish You, Animals, p.u.l.s.e. Hohner Clavinet D6 (1975-1978) Used in Wish You Were Here, Animals & Wet Dream Korg VC-10 Vocoder (1976-1977) Used in Animals Rhodes Suitcase 73/88 Mark I Electric Piano (1976- ) Used in Animals, The Wall and beyond Oberheim Four-Voice Synthesizer (1978) Only used in Wet Dream SCI Prophet V Synthesizer (1979-1981) Used in The Wall sessions and live shows ARP Quadra / Oddysey Mark III Synthesizer (1980-1981) One of them used in The Wall shows Yamaha CP-70 Electric Grand Piano (1980-1981) Used in The Wall live shows Fairlight CMI Series II Synthesizer/Sampler (1984) Only used in Zee - Confsion Roland Vocoder VP-330 Plus (1986-1987) Used in Momentary Lapse Of Reason Roland Super JX (JX-10) Synthesizer (1986-1989) Used in Momentary Lapse album & tours Kurzweil K250 Synthesizer/Sampler (1986-1990) Used in Lapse album/tours & in Knebworth 90 Kurzweil MIDIBoard MIDI Controller (1987-) Used in Lapse & Division Bell tours & Broken China Kurzweil K2000 Digital Synthesizer/Sampler (1993-) Used in Division Bell & Broken China Kurzweil K2000VP Digital Synthesizer/Sampler (1994) Used in the Division Bell tour AKAI S1100 Digital Sampler (1996- ) Used in Broken China E-mu Proteus/2 (Orchestral) Sample Playback Module (1996- ) Used in Broken China Hammond XB-5 Portable Dual-Manual Digital Organ (1996- ) Used in Broken China
Richard Wrights gear (by album)
:: Arnold Layne / See Emily Play / The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) / Tonite Lets All Make Love in London (1967)
Farfisa Combo-Compact Organ Acoustic Piano Celeste (Piper at the Gates of Dawn only)
:: Apples and Oranges / It Would Be So Nice / (1968) / A Saucerful of Secrets / Point Me At The Sky
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ Acoustic Piano Mellotron M400 Mark II Vibraphone
:: Music from the film More (1969)
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ Acoustic Piano Vibraphone
:: Ummagumma (1969) / Zabriskie Point (1970)
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ Acoustic Grand Piano Mellotron M400 Mark II (Ummagumma only)
The Man and The Journey (1969-70)
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ Acoustic Piano Vibraphone Trombone Celeste
:: Atom Heart Mother (1970)
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ /with Leslie 145 Cabinet Steinway & Sons Baby Grand Piano Mellotron M400 Mark II
:: Meddle (1971)
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' Organ /with Leslie 145 Cabinet Acoustic Grand Piano & Leslie Cabinet 145 EMS VCS3 (Putney) Synthesizer
Live at Pompeii (1972)
Farfisa Combo Compact-Duo Organ Hammond M-102 'Spinet' /with Leslie 145 Cabinet Steinway & Sons Baby Classical Grand Piano
:: Obscured by Clouds (1972)
Hammond M-102 Spinet Organ /with Leslie 145 Cabinet Fender Rhodes Suitcase 73/88 Mark I Electric Piano EMS VCS3 (Putney) Synthesizer EMS VCS3 Synthi A (Portabella) Synthesizer ARP Solina String Ensemble (model IV) Synthesizer
WURLITZER Electric Piano (1972-1975) Wrights use of the Wurlitzer piano is one of the defining
elements in Floyd sound. Rick used the EP-200 series model (vanilla white) in the studio and a black EP-200A on tour. The funky vibe and tremolo of the Wurly introduced an electric vibe that sat somewhere between the jazzy piano and the vibraphone two of Wrights loves. The Wurlitzer was first used in Obscured by Clouds (1972) but the real showcase has been in Dark Side (1973) and Wish You Were Here (1975), more specifically in Breathe; during the funky staccato counter-rhythm sections against Gilmour's guitar in "Time" (1973); in "Have a Cigar" (1975); and in the jazzy solo in Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part 8 (1975). Wright used a wah-wah pedal to great effect in "Money" (1973) making it one of his more characteristic moments. The same treatment was also used in What Do You Want From Me? (1994), but Wright was either using his Rhodes (see below) or the sampled sound of his Kurzweil K2000 by then (as in the 1994 tour).
(FENDER) RHODES Stage/Suitcase Electric Piano (1977-1981) - The intro to "Sheep" (1977) is
Wrights most obvious example of the Rhodes. The Rhodes produces a jazzier vibrating sound and is used mainly for leads and melodic passages, as opposed to the more rhythm-oriented Wurlitzer. While Wurlitzer was mainly used in Dark Side (1973) and Wish You Were Here (1975), Fender Rhodes was used in Mudmen from Obscured by Clouds (1972), in Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979); in Hey you, for example. Wright used a Rhodes Suitcase 73/88 Mark I for the studio and on the road, along with his favourite two Fender Twin Reverb amps. He has also used a Fender Rhodes Stage 73/88 Mark I. Since 1987, a custom Kurzweil K2000 with 64Mb of RAM is used for samples of Rhodes and Wurlitzer Electric Pianos, when Floyd performed live, however Rick still has a Rhodes as part of his home studio, which was last used for the recordings of Broken China (1996). A Suitcase model was also used for Ricks guest appearance in Gilmours 2002 concerts in Royal Festival Hall. The Rhodes sound has grown to become a Floyd trademark through the years, although it was, in fact, the sound of the 73-75 era Wurlitzer that most people would be referring to, which is of course very similar to that of the Rhodes. Many would argue that this can also be attributed to the bands durability and the relative timelessness of their work. Floyd were certainly pioneers and on the edge of technology up until a certain point in the seventies and managed to formulate a trademark sound; and sounds like that of the Rhodes, the Hammond or the lush synth strings became staples of that Floyd sound. So, in a way, bands like Pink Floyd, which managed to sustain if not increase- their popularity from generation to generation, are largely responsible for the post-90s revival and popularity of many vintage instruments and sounds, including that of the Rhodes and Wurly, both of which have become staples in most trip-hop, funky and electronica acts since the 1990s.
Page 5 of 36
HOHNER CLAVINET D6 (1975 - 1978) The Clavinet is a bass-type keyboard distinctive for its staccato
sound and its quick attack & decay and has been indelibly associated with funk. The riffs from Stevie Wonders Superstition and Led Zeppelins Trampled Underfoot are two known examples of Clavinet use. The Clavi was not very often used by Wright, however he owned a D6 woodgrain model (which can be seen in the Photo Gallery Appendix) and toured with it in 75 and 77. It is unmistakably featured in Have a Cigar (1975) for the rhythm bass line heard during the guitar solo, as well as in Part 8 of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" where Wright plays the funky riff on top of Wurlitzer chords, accompanied by VSC3 Synthi sweeping effects. It is also very discreetly- used in Animals (1977), however this cannot be easily verified just by listening to the album; a Clavi is buried somewhere in the mix during the complex rhythm section of Pigs (3 different ones). Wright also used it in "Funky Deux", Waves and other tracks from Wet Dream (1978), his first solo album.
YAMAHA CP-70 Electric Grand Piano (1979 - 1981) The Yamaha CP-70 was prominently used in
The Wall live shows, albeit not by Wright himself, but mostly by the late Pete Woods. In the more straightforward electric piano parts, i.e. where no Rhodes was used, the CP-70 was used instead, although this only applies to the live shows and not to the studio album. It was the CP-70 that was used in the extended solo passages like the ones played by Woods during the live renditions of Young Lust and Another Brick in the Wall Part 2.
ORGANS & KEYBOARDS
popular Hammond organ (see below), the Farfisa produces a more classic organ sound. Wright included a Binson Echorec device for echo as part of his combo and managed to produce many unusual sounds out of it, by experimenting with the Echorec and the organs tone and pan settings. The Farfisa was Wright's main keyboard in the early years, when he was playing with Waters, Mason, Barrett, Klose et al. as Sigma 6, The (Screaming, Architectural, etc.) Abdabs, T-Set, the Pink Floyd Sound, etc. and was used almost exclusively up until The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn in 1967. Between 1967-72, the Farfisa organ played a crucial role in Floyds sound and was used for many of Ricks leads, which he often panned around the auditorium using a special joystick (an azimuth co-ordinator pot) stacked on top of the Echorec unit. Wright used the Farfisa for virtually every solo up until that point, e.g. The Embryo, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline. He can be seen playing one in Live at Pompeii (1972) and in the studio it was last used for Dark Side (1973). On stage, Floyd kept touring with a Farfisa as part of their equipment while they were still performing live their pre-Dark Side set (e.g. Careful with that axe, Eugene, Echoes and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun). This organs sound has been strongly associated with certain tracks. In the last ever live performance of Careful with that axe, Eugene (in 5 May 1977) the absence of the Farfisa sound was clearly heard. Wright employed his Hammond (see below) and his array of MiniMoog synthesizers (see SYNTHESIZERS section) to play that rendition and the synth sound was somewhat alien to the piece. The organ in the intro of Time is the last time the Farfisa was featured in a Floyd recording.
Floyd's use of the Tron has been sporadic. It has also been somewhat unusual, in that they did not always use it in a conventional and easily recognisable way true to their experimental label. Wright has used the flute tape set in early recordings, such as the single Julia Dream (1968); the studio version of The Embryo (1969-70); and in sections of Atom Heart Mother (1970), most notably the beginning of Remergence (the sound reminiscent to the intro from The Beatles Strawberry Fields). Rick preferred to use the mellotron with ample reverb and effects that added depth and gave a slightly different dimension to the sounds, so some of the mellotron in Floyd recordings does not immediately become apparent, which is why it is quite original among other 60s outfits. The strings set has been used in the closing section (Celestial Voices) of the title track from A Saucerful Of Secrets (1968); in the Atom Heart Mother (1970) suite; and in Sysyphus (1969). Despite the suspicious resemblance of some of Ricks Farfisa pads with mellotron strings, in certain 1970-72 performances, Careful With That Axe, Eugene did not feature any mellotron. The Wright-penned single It Would Be So Nice (1968) also features a mellotron, as does See-saw (1968). Recordings that have made use of choir tapes include Gilmour's Narrow Way Part 2 and most prominently- Sysyphus from Ummagumma (1969). Brass tapes and speculatively- some other 'stranger' tape sets may have also been used in Ummagumma (1969) and perhaps in the studio version of Syncopated Pandemonium from the Saucerful Of Secrets title track (1968). Another serious mellotron candidate but subject of debate- is the trumpet solo in Summer '68 (1970). According to various sources the lead is assumed to be produced by an early synthesizer but there are sufficient reasons to discard this possibility. In a mid-90s interview, Wright said that the first synthesizer he ever used was the VCS3 (see SYNTHESIZERS section below). Although he is not renowned for his good memory about such facts, the track was recorded in July 1970 and the very few analogue (and monophonic) synths that existed then, could not have possibly produced that timbre anyway. Another (wild) guess was that the Floyd may have used the Moog (probably available in the Abbey Road studios, left there from the Beatles recording sessions of the album with the same name), but this is again very unlikely. Cliff Jones controversial (and subsequently withdrawn after Gilmours own request) book, suggests a fairly plausible, yet unconfirmed, scenario: that the Abbey Road Session Pops Orchestra (who had already played brass on the albums title track) also performed in Summer 68. So, for all we know, the solo could have been a mellotron -perhaps EQed slightly- although nobody has yet denied the possibility that the band may have used real brass instead. More on the Mellotron can be found in the SAMPLING & SEQUENCING section.
record (or gig for that matter) however flutes are featured in some of their recordings. Despite Ricks love for and brief affair with wind/brass instruments (see more on trombone below), he was not the one who played flute, neither on Party sequence from More (1969) nor on Masons Grand Viziers Garden Party from Ummagumma (1969). Flute was apparently played on both occasions by Nick Masons then wife, Lindy Mason, who happened to be an accomplished flutist. Other flute-resembling sounds heard in early albums and singles were, in fact, mellotron flute tapes played by Rick, notably Julia Dream (1968) and Embryo (1970).
TROMBONE (1969-1970) Rick played the trombone in the studio recording of Biding My Time (1969)
and in its live renditions during Work/Afternoon (from The Man and The Journey) in 1969 and 1970. There is a picture of Rick playing the trombone in a 1970 Champs Elyses concert (while sitting in front of a vibraphone) that can be seen in the Photo Gallery Appendix. Still, it is highly unlikely that Rick could have performed/overdubbed the brass solo in Summer 68 (1970), more about which you can read in the Mellotron section above.
HARMONIUM (1970-1972 & 1982) The Harmonium is a keyboard-based organ, with a small (usually three to four octaves) keyboard and knobs (usually three to seven), that also features something like an air pump, not dissimilar to the philosophy of the accordion. It has been written that Rick played an harmonium during the 1970 sessions for Syd Barretts solo albums: The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. It has also been suggested that Rick used a Harmonium in Obscured by Clouds (1972), with the most likely candidate tracks being Mudmen and Absolutely Curtains. However, this is also subject to debate. For example, in the section of Mudmen during the pedal steel guitar solo it is possible that Rick has used a VSC3, through which he may have patched his e.g. Farfisa to alter the sounds decay and produced that wah-like effect. Michael Kamen also played harmonium in the Wright-less Final Cut (1983).
ELECTRONIC MUSIC STUDIOS (EMS) VOLTAGE CONTROLLED STUDIO Model 3 (VCS3)
MOOG Minimoog Synthesizer (1973-1977) The Minimoog was the worlds most popular analogue synthesizer at some point, so it was just a matter of time for the Floyd to get their hands on one. Wright used the Minimoog for many years mainly as a solo lead instrument and in the Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and the 1973-75 tours, and used it as his main synthesizer in the Animals (1977) album and tour. According to his own admission, Wright used the Moog for the first time in Any Colour You Like (1973) by overdubbing the echo-heavy synth leads. He started touring with a Minimoog in the Dark Side Of The Moon 1973 tour (the 72 tours did not feature a Minimoog). A Minimoog was also famously used for the synth horn sound in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" parts 1-9 (1975). Wright also used Moog Taurus Footpedals for additional bass drones in the complex introduction of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". A Minimoog was used for the main synth melody of Have a Cigar (1975) and in the live versions of Raving and Drooling (1974-5) and Dogs (1977). There is some ambiguity as to which synth leads are played with a Minimoog and which with a VCS3. As a rule of thumb, the sweeping synth effects and drones are made with a VSC3, whereas most post-Dark Side leads are played with a Minimoog. Floyds gear during the 77 tour included no less than three(!) Minimoog units. It is believed that the parts that were originally recorded with a VCS3 for the studio version of Welcome to the machine were recreated with the Minimoog in the 77 Tour, and that Rick did not actually carry a VCS3 on tour with him in 1977. Parts that featured the VCS3 (e.g. the intro of Shine On You Crazy Diamond and the middle section of Dogs) were played back by the Front-Of-House engineer who triggered tapes (specially prepared from the multitrack recordings) that contained some synth layers and other noises and effects, so that Rick could play Hammond and Minimoog on top of them. A certain amount of debate covers the use of the Minimoog during The Wall recording sessions. The solo of Run like hell sounds like a Minimoog but it is more likely that Wright used the polyphonic Prophet V instead (the Prophet was also an additive analogue synthesizer, capable of producing very similar sounds to the Minimoog but could do much more). The distinctive Moog lead sounds were also used in latter years, for the solos of "Wearing the Inside Out" and "Keep Talking" (1994), which Wright performed with a Kurzweil K2000 instead (see separate section).
It has been suggested that a Moog synth may have been used for the recording of The Narrow Way, but it is quite unlikely that the Floyd would have access to one during April-June 1969. George Harrison had one especially made for him and used it in Abbey Road, which was recorded before August 1969, and Floyd were recording in Studio No 2 next door so, in theory, an engineer may have allowed Gilmour to use some of the equipment from No 2. On the other hand, it has been well documented that the Floyd only met the Beatles (while still a recording unit) once, during Sgt Pepper, and that Studio No 2 was known as the Fab Four shrine, and hence not that much of a free access area. So, it is rather unlikely that a Moog is featured in Ummagumma and the fact that a Moog was mentioned probably stems from the latters popularity later in the 70s than an actual fact. However, the question remains: were the effects heard during Narrow way part 1 manipulated guitar effects? Was it, indeed, a Moog? Or did Abbey Road studios have access to an early VCS3 (the model also used by the BBC Radio Workshop for Dr.Who) in 1969? The most likely assumption is that Gilmour fed his guitar signal through some of the studios modulation/frequency-altering devices, thereby achieving a similar effect without using a proper synthesizer unit (yet).
Page 9 of 36
ARP SOLINA STRING Ensemble / Odyssey / QUADRA Synthesizer (1972-1981) - The ARP
(acronym for the companys founder, Alan R. Pearlman) synthesizer series became popular, especially in the US, primarily for their string sounds. The Solina String Ensemble (model IV) otherwise known as the String Synthesizer was apparently first used in Obscured by Clouds (although it was definitely not part of Ricks keyboard rig yet) during Absolutely Curtains (1972) and by Gilmour in the intro to "Childhoods End" (1972). The Solina String Ensemble model V was probably the first ARP synth to become a part of Wrights rig, from 1974-75 onwards, and it was unofficially dubbed as The Floyd's String Machine. Other British artists started recording with an ARP in 75, including Mike Oldfield whose album Ommadawn (1975) also featured the same string sound. Wright undoubtedly left a mark by using it for the high-string layers in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and in all of the tracks of Wish You Were Here (1975), as well as on "Dogs" (backing the guitar harmony section), "Pigs" and "Sheep" (1977). The string sounds are also prominent in The Wall 1980-81 live shows, e.g. during the "Almost Gone" improvisation (officially titled "Last Few Bricks"). It is, however, a subsequent ARP model that was used in The Wall sessions (it is debated whether it was a Quadra or the more popular Odyssey -possibly a Mk III).
EMS Synthi Hi-Fli Guitar Synthesizer (1973-1977?) The Hi-Fli (originally named Sound Freak)
was the first British guitar synthesizer, a concept/device that was very innovative at the time (1973) and was bound to appeal to Gilmour, given his aptitude for experimenting with his guitar sound back then (also see section on MiniMoog above about the effects in Narrow Way part 1). According to EMS description, the Hi-Fli was a guitar treatment unit built as a console on a stand with two pedal controllers which could be routed as control voltages to any of the slider functions. The Hi-Fli could be used to apply treatments to the guitar signal that were also found in other analogue synthesizers, like a ring modulator, phasing, waw-waw (sic), fuzz, octave- and frequency-shift sliders, etc. Following the success of Dark Side, Gilmour acquired one and used it to great effect on stage, on the post-73 tours. It often caused puzzlement to the audience and journalists who could not figure out what this curious spacey device was doing on stage. There are certain 74-75 performances of Echoes that feature some interesting frequency-shifting effects coming from the Hi-Fli. It is not clear if a Hi-Fli was used in Animals.
Although not a typical synthesizer as such, the vocoder is nonetheless a voice-synthesising device, activated through voice input, to add a robotic quality to vocals. Floyd first used a Vocoder in Animals (recording during 1976) for Rogers lead vocals in Pigs and for the bastardised psalm on Sheep, as well as for the treated barking sounds and other effects in Dogs. Ricks keyboards were also fed through the Vocoder, notably during the middle section of Dogs. Although it is not documented which particular model was used in Britannia Row studios for the recording of Animals, it is reported that they used the -now classic- Korg VC-10 model. However, it may be possible -through Floyds established association with the UK-based EMS and because of the production date (1976) of EMS vocoder device, that Floyd might as well have used the EMS Studio Vocoder (also known as Vocoder 5000). Another Vocoder device was also used, ten years later, for the recording of A New Machine (1987) presumably the extremely popular then- Roland VP-330 model. It was Waters and Gilmour respectively who mainly operated the Vocoder device not Wright. Yet Wrights vocoder-processed keyboards during Dogs had a most chilling effect and have become a classic Floyd moment. Being on the subject of vocal-synthesising devices, Gilmour also used a talk-box device (also referred to as a voice-box) that has been used by Peter Frampton and Frank Zappa among others, to manipulate his guitar signal through his mouth; in Pigs (1977) and again in Keep Talking (1994).
Korg VC-10 / EMS Vocoder 5000 (1976-1977) / Roland VP-330 Plus Vocoder (1987)
YAMAHA GX1 Polyphonic Synthesizer (197?) - The GX1 (also known as the GX-1 -with a dash)
was a polyphonic synth with the distinction of being extremely rare among the synthesizer community. Wright is mentioned in various sources as having owned a GX1 (presumably for a brief period of time) but it is not clear when that was. It had an official production date of 1975 so Wright may have actually used it before the (also polyphonic) Oberheim. The GX1 was a legendary machine that looked more like a silver space-age cathedral organ and offered features unheard of at the time: it was polyphonic, multitimbral, had multiple (3) keyboards, nearly every note was duophonic, offered patch storage, and even had a primitive beat box. Its tone-cartridge architecture and sound synthesis were (and still are) unique, which added to the fact that it was not at all straightforward to program and operate. It was developed by Yamaha as a test bed for later consumer synths (the CS50, CS60 and CS80 were its descendants) so only about 50 were produced and few of them actually left Japan. ABBAs Benny Andersson had one, Stevie Wonder had two; and Keith Emerson had at least two, one of which he bought from Led Zeppelins John Paul Jones and one recently sold to Hans Zimmer. If, indeed, Rick ever used one, it was probably a transitional instrument before he switched to the other cheaper and lighter polyphonic synths. The GX1 weighed nearly a tonne and was incredibly fragile, so a likely assumption is that Rick could not cope with the logistics of storing it and handling it, let alone touring with it (although ELP famously did).
Page 10 of 36
Richard Wright / Pink Floyd keyboard & synthesizer equipment Overall, the GX1 was a technically outstanding and highly expressive instrument that came very close to simulating the nuances of an acoustic instrument. It featured probably the only keyboard ever built that offered three modes of touch sensitivity: velocity sensitivity, which controlled the sounds initial attack rate and pitch; pressure sensitivity, which controlled pitch, volume and a full set of parameters; and, thirdly, a side-to-side wiggle, which controlled vibrato, wah-wah and resonance. Additionally, it supported polyphonic portamento, variable sustain and modulation, which could controlled by a knee controller, and a ribbon controller that played the pitch of each key, not unlike a fretless bass or a cello. All that is impressive even for todays standards. It is remarkable then, that there are no known recordings of GX1 in the Floyd (or Wrights solo) cannon, despite Wrights name persistently appearing in the lists of those who have owned one.
OBERHEIM FOUR-VOICE Polyphonic Synthesizer (1977-1978?) - It is certain that Wright used
an Oberheim synthesizer, but not which model exactly; and this was probably the 4-Voice, the first polyphonic synthesizer to be announced at the time along with Moogs Polysynth. All of the synthesizers mentioned above (except from the GX1) were monophonic, i.e. capable of producing only one note at a time. It is possible that an Oberheim was part of the equipment in Floyds Britannia Row Studios, where both Animals (1977) and Wet Dream (1978) were recorded, but it was almost certainly not used in Animals at all. The credits of Wet Dream (1978) mention "Oberheim synthesizer" so it is safe to assume that Rick got his hands on one circa 1977-8. The familiar synth horn lead in Mediterranean C is played with the Oberheim, harking back to the brass melody of Atom heart mother and Summer 68, a sound he would try again, in 1994, for Wearing the inside out. Rick probably did not use the Oberheim for too long, favouring the superior Prophet V (see below) which appeared a year later.
SEQUENTIAL CIRCUITS (SCI) PROPHET V Polyphonic Synthesizer (1979-1981) Wright
acquired this polyphonic synthesizer when it first came out and used it for The Wall sessions and live shows. Prophet V was the first fully programmable analogue synth that offered unsurpassed (until then) polyphony, could play multi-sounds & effects with echoes & repeats, and had extremely flexible analogue filters, envelopes and LFOs. The Prophet quickly become the de facto 80s analogue classic, inevitably favoured by the synth pop bands of the romantic era, but its sound and programming flexibility (notwithstanding its instability) made it a favourite among people like Rick Wakeman, Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson and Richard Barbieri (who uses it as his main synthesizer with Porcupine Tree to this day) as well as to synth pioneers like Vangelis, Jarre and Tangerine Dream. Even now, Wright refers to the Prophet as his favourite synth. This poses a bit of an argument regarding the debate about how much of the keyboards/synthesizers heard in The Wall (which was -by Floyd standards- not that much anyway) was actually played by Wright, as opposed to session musicians. The keyboard/synth credits for The Wall has been a very sticky issue, indeed. Through the years, it has been assumed that most of the keyboard duties were not handled by Wright, but by Bob Ezrin, Pete Woods, Freddie Mandell and Michael Kamen (even Gilmour claims to have played some). Yet, this might be a slight exaggeration, for all we know. It is unanimously accepted that Rick did not pull his weight during the recordings. However, it is also known that Wright did play keyboards up until the point when Roger made it clear that neither him nor Mason would receive a production credit. It is well-documented that, once Ezrin was established as the arbiter of the sessions, Wright lost interest and got himself infamously sacked after the summer of 79. Therefore, several keyboard parts were left unfinished including the finishing overdubs (obligatory, because of the way the Floyd demoed the material), and keyboards for tracks that were only finished later in the process (e.g. Nobody Home). James Guthrie, who co-produced and engineered the sessions, has said that Rick did some great playing on that album, whether or not people remember it some fantastic Hammond parts. It would then be fair to say that Wright did contribute up to a certain point in the albums development. Generally speaking, the keyboards in The Wall assumed a role very different to that of previous Floyd albums. There was a lot of material, the tracks had to be tighter, so there was not much space for extended sections and solos. The overall production (heavily influenced by seasoned hard-rock producer Ezrin) called for guitars that were harder, full of delay and flanger and keyboard parts that suited the mock-heavy rock style of tracks like In The Flesh, Young Lust and Waiting for the worms, so inevitably the focus was on rock organ-type Hammond parts and piano that was quite different to Ricks usual jazzy style. Several sections were orchestrated and had to be precise, something that Rick an improvisation fan and not the most competent pianist- could never really cope with; whereas session keyboardists could. On demand and on the spot; exactly the way Waters and Ezrin would like. Synthesizers were relatively subdued in the album and nowhere near as prominent as in previous albums: adding a certain edge in places (e.g. the piano-complementing synth sweeps in Thin Ice or the synthbehind-the-vocal melody in Goodbye blue sky); providing atmospheric embellishments (like the unmistakably Sheep-reminiscing passages of Dont leave me now or the synth in Is there anybody out there?) and complementing some orchestral parts. All in all, a far cry from the bands adventurous keyboard arrangements. So, assuming that several of Ricks Hammond parts were actually used, surely
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Richard Wright / Pink Floyd keyboard & synthesizer equipment some of the synth parts were also played by him; otherwise why would Rick say that the Prophet was his favourite synth? The synth solo in Run Like Hell (1979) is the only prominent synthesizer spot in the album, along with the intro of Empty Spaces and the ending chords of Another brick in the wall, part 1 and were all most probably played by Rick. The synth sound in Run like hell which harks back to the MiniMoog- he would use again, fifteen years later, in Far from the Harbour Wall from Broken China. The remaining keyboard parts and overdubs were, indeed, played by others: most if not all- piano parts were played by Woods and Kamen; Woods also played electric piano; some Hammond parts (e.g. In the Flesh, One of my turns) were played by Freddie Mandell; and the synthesizer overdubs were probably handled by Ezrin; a keen keyboardist/synth player in his own right. As soon as The Wall shows came to an end, Wright went sailing in the Greek isles. With the exception of his brief involvement with the Fairlight, as part of the ill-fated Zee duo in 1984, Wright missed out most of the synthesizer development of the 1980s, until his lukewarm comeback in 87.
ROLAND Super JX (JX-10) Analogue/Digital Synthesizer (1986-1989) - This Roland synth was
a popular digital/analogue hybrid model. It was used in Momentary Lapse Of Reason by Jon Carin, Pat Leonard, Bob Ezrin et al. It has to be said that -despite the Super JX being one of the most acclaimed and programmable synths of its time- it did not, in hindsight, suit the bands sound at all. The keyboards throughout the 87-89 tour, as heard in Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988), were perhaps appropriate for the bands latest offering at the time (A Momentary Lapse of Reason) but definitely did not do justice to older tracks, such as Echoes (only performed a handful of times in 1987), Welcome to the machine or even the staple Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Unfortunately, Wright, Carin and the late-80s touring technicians fell into the trappings of modernising their synth gear, which resulted in an 80s-sounding sound that has dated quite badly. Wright and Carin used the Super JX in the 1987-89 tour, until Floyd decided to switch exclusively to Kurzweil synths/samplers. This largely improved the situation and for the 1994 tour Andy Ledbetter, the bands keyboard technician, took great care to program the Kurzweil series so that the bands vintage synth sounds could be faithfully reproduced, despite being played by digital samplers. Jon Carin, the bands second (or as some argue, main) tour keyboardist, should also be given credit for this, as he aptly demonstrated in Floyds 1994 tour and in Roger Waters 1999-2000 tours. The synth textures in Waters In the Flesh tour were extremely faithful to the vintage sounds -perhaps even more than on p.u.l.s.e (1995)- with Shine On and Dogs (live 2000) being two cases in point.
(from the Paris Interstellar exhibition)
Figure 18 Floyd Equipment in Abbey Road Studios (circa 1973): A VSC3 Synthi A & a Hammond B-3 organ
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Figure 19 Rick in Abbey Road Studios, circa 1973. (l-r): a Wurlitzer EP-200 white electric piano; a Steinway Baby Classical grand piano; a VSC3 Synthi A; and a Hammond B-3 organ
(stills from the Pompeii video)
Figure 20 A vanilla white Wurlitzer EP-200 electric piano. Used in the studio.
Figure 21 A black Wurlitzer EP-200A. Used by Rick on tour.
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Figure 22 A Rhodes Stage 73/88 Mark I Electric Piano. Used from 1976 and since.
Figure 23 A Fender Rhodes Suitcase 73/88 Mark I Electric Piano. Used in 1972-73.
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Figure 24 The ARP Solina String Ensemble Synthesizer
Figure 25 The MOOG Minimoog synthesizer (from the Paris Interstellar Exhibition)
Figure 26 EMS own Studio Vocoder (a.k.a. Vocoder 5000) manufactured in 1976
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Figure 27 The EMS Synthi Hi-Fli guitar synthesizer. Used by Dave in 1973, 1974 and 1975 tours.
Figure 28 Dave with his Hi-Fli, circa 1974
Figure 29 Moog Taurus II Footpedal Synthesizer. Used by Rick in Shine On You Crazy Diamond (1975)
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Figure 30 Ricks Clavinet D6 used between 1975 and 1978 (from the Paris Interstellar exhibition)
Figure 31 The Korg VC-10 Vocoder. Used by Roger, Dave and Rick in the Animals sessions (1976).
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Figure 32 One side of Ricks 1977 rig: 2 Minimoogs on top of a Hammond B-3 and a 3rd Minimoog (right)
Figure 33 Rick on stage 1977: playing a Rhodes Stage 73/88 electric piano. His Steinway grand piano is also nearby. An APR Solina is close to the Minimoogs+Hammond stack (shown in Figure 32 above).
Figure 34 The Yamaha GX1 polyphonic synthesizer. Rick has allegedly owned one.
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Figure 35 An Oberheim Four-Voice Polyphonic Synthesizer. Used by Rick circa 1977-78.
Figure 36 A Sequential Circuits Prophet V polyphonic synthesizer (used by Rick during 1979-81)
Figure 37 Rick during The Wall shows (1980-81) behind a Prophet V stacked on top of a Hammond B-3
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Figure 38 An ARP Odyssey (mark III 1976-81) synthesizer (likely to have been used in The Wall shows)
Figure 39 An ARP Quadra synthesizer (likely to have been used by Rick in The Wall shows)
Figure 40 Rick during The Wall shows playing an Accordion, next to Roger singing Outside the wall
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Figure 41 David (solo 1984) with a Yamaha TX7/DX7. Floyd never got to use the massively popular DX7.
Figure 42 A Fairlight CMI (Series IIx) sampler/synthesizer. Only used by Rick in Zees Confsion (1984)
The original draft of this document was based on a significant amount of information about the bands vintage equipment that was culled from the WatersFloyd.com website, where the content of posts submitted by Wrightkeys to the alt.music.pink-floyd online forum was reproduced, as well as information courtesy of Mr Mike Kiker. These web pages have since been removed, so no exact link can be given at present. Those looking for the original alt-music-pink-floyd posts may search them manually in Usenet archives. New posts can also be searched in http://forums.pinkfloyd.co.uk/. Relevant bibliography: Nicholas Schaffner Saucerful of Secrets, The Pink Floyd Odyssey, Sidgwick&Jackson, 1991 Miles & Andy Mabbett Pink Floyd, The Visual Documentary, 3rd ed., Omnibus Press, 1994 Andy Mabbett The Complete Guide To the Music of Pink Floyd, Omnibus Press, 1995 Cliff Jones - Echoes: The stories behind every Pink Floyd song Bruno McDonald, ed., - Pink Floyd Through the eyes of. , Sidgwick & Jackson, 1996 Glenn Povey & Ian Russel Pink Floyd: In The Flesh, The complete performance history, Bloomsbury, 1997 Joel Chadabe - Electric Sound, The Past and Promise of Electronic Music, Prentice Hall, 1997 MOJO magazine features & interviews (1993, 1999, 2001)
This document would have been grossly inaccurate without the information of WrightKeys. Many thanks are due for his posts on Ricks organs and electric pianos.
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