The first time I saw the Yamaha VL1 Virtual Acoustic Synthesizer was at the Winter NAMM show in 1994. It was utterly captivating and today, some 23 years later, the unique sound of the VL1 is still mind-blowing. In fact it is so mind-blowing that we have included three tastes of this unique Synth for you!
The VL1 is best played using a breath controller like the BC2 or BC3, and how it responds to breath input is unlike any other electronic musical instrument. For example, blowing slowly and then gradually increasing the speed and amount of breath into a connected breath controller produces an entirely different response then playing in a short, tongued staccato manner. That input - coupled with the other physical controllers (like the ever important third modulation wheel) - allow for a different level of expressiveness. The VL1 was the first commercially available physical modeling synthesizer and it represented a significant step forward in synthesis technology. For a nice overview on physical modeling synthesis go here.
Check out the videos below: - The first one is from the great Katsunori Ujiie demonstrating some of the classic Voices of the VL1. - The second is an excerpt from a 1994 National Public Radio interview with Phil "Bad Mister" Clendeninn. - Lastly, there is a short musical demo I created using the VL1 with the original MOTIF Synthesizer. The VL Voice I start with is called "Floboe" - a virtual instrument with the attack and harmonics of a flute and the timbre of an oboe. Listen later in the piece where I changed to the Soprano Sax Voice.
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And stay tuned - more tasty bits of Synth coming your way soon!
Yamaha Synthesizer Product Specialist Blake Angelos has over thirty years of experience with music hardware and software. An expert in music technology, Blake has conducted numerous clinics, master classes and presentations throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. In his role as Product Specialist for the Synthesizer Department Blake appears in many product videos and artist interviews, writes many articles for YamahaSynth.com and co-hosts a regular Podcast called “Behind the Synth”.
Before his work with Yamaha, he taught music theory and jazz studies courses at Arizona State University; managed a technology-focused music store in Seattle and was a production supervisor at Microsoft, where he led a team that developed groundbreaking interactive music content for the Microsoft Network. Blake holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Music degree from Arizona State University. Blake currently resides in Bellingham, Washington with his family, and between his travels around the world for Yamaha, he performs as much as possible with several jazz and creative music groups in Bellingham, Seattle and other places in the Pacific Northwest.
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