The PLATO Interactive Music System (IMS)


In the early 1980s, the engineers and programmers of the CERL Music Group (now known as the CERL Sound Group) at the University of Illinois developed the Interactive Music System (IMS) for use with the PLATO mainframe computer as a tool for music education and composition. The system consisted of a PLATO V terminal, a music keyboard, and a digital hardware synthesizer designed by Lippold Haken and Kurt Hebel. PLATO software provided extensive (for the time) capabilities for synthesis, sequencing, and sheet music printing.

I became interested in the synth in 1985 as a U of I engineering freshman when I saw the annual CERL Music Group concert in the Music Building auditorium. Before long I was sneaking into the fifth floor of CERL to spend long hours playing with the synth.

This site is dedicated to preserving some of the history and music of the IMS. I hope you like it.




A cool PLATO-font version of these pages