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This Reaktor ensemble, which emulates the RCA Synthesizer Mark II used at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in the 60s and 70s, was built from the detailed description of it in the book Electronic and Computer Music by Peter Manning. It has 4 independent voices and can be used to generate music that sounds kind of like Milton Babbitt.
Hear it: 456K mp3
Hear some stuff I did with an older version: 809K mp3
On the RCA Mark II, the circuits were controlled with binary-encoded punched paper rolls very much like the ones on player pianos. My Reaktor version emulates the paper rolls with Event Table modules, one for each bit. 1s and 0s can be drawn in with the mouse, or values can be recorded at the Play/Record pointer using the control panels to the right. A transport panel with keyboard short cuts can be used to navigate through the piece.
The Mark II used 2 synchronized punched paper rolls to control 4 completely separate monophonic synthesizer voices. I have recreated the behavior here the best I can from the information in Peter Manning's book. The Mark II was also connected to two synchronized phonographic disc lathes (and later tape decks) allowing multiple overdubs, which were often used to build up dense tone clusters in pieces created on the Mark II. I have added a Fixed Oscillator Bank to each voice allowing the creation of similar dense tone clusters within standalone Reaktor without overdubs. For that classic Columbia/Princeton sound!
Also included is a Tone Row Generator. A virtual version of Milton Babbitt helps you create and transform serial tone rows, then record them into the synthesizer control tracks.
Recently I have added an instrument called the Scratch Pad which can be used to record & copy data between tracks or to different locations on the same track. This makes bulding up an elaborate arrangement a LOT easier. I also added metal background images and some of Bernd Keil's awesome Reaktor knobs to make it look a lot more 1950s.
Download ensemble for Reaktor 5.6.2 or later: 2.2MB zip
Serial music is part of this complete breakfast!