In 1957, Le Caine
began work on an instrument to control complex sine-wave structures.
Initially he built a bank of 16 oscillators controlled by touch-sensitive
keys but by 1959 he had built a much larger array of 108 (9 x
12) oscillators that were to be controlled by touch-sensitive
keyboards or by the Spectrogram.
Caine demonstrates the Oscillator Bank for Arnold Walter and Thomas
Meyer. The chart paper in his right hand will be used to control
the Oscillator Bank with the use of the Spectrogram.
Caine (at right) demonstrates the bank of 108 oscillators at the
electronic music lab at the NRC research building M-50 for (left
to right) Thomas Meyer, Arnold Walter, and John Bowsher.
By 1961, two
more oscillator banks, one with 12 oscillators and the other with
24, were built and operated by touch-sensitive keyboards. Each
oscillator was independently tunable and produced not only sine
waves but also pulse waves, square waves, and saw-tooth waves.
Since each oscillator
required about one minute to tune, it took a composer almost two
hours to tune a bank of 108 oscillators. The oscillator banks
were used to generate electronic sounds which would be altered
by standard studio methods such as playback speed on the multi-track
or juxtaposition with other sounds.
of the McGill electronic music studio uses chart paper in the
Spectrogram to control the sounds generated by the bank of 24
oscillators at the right.