Here’s a fascinating and bizarre Soviet synthesiser from 1932

17 January 2017, 08:00

old russian synthesiser

Proof that the likes of Robert Moog and Karlheinz Stockhausen had their roots in Soviet Russia, this 'Variophone' photo-electrical synthesiser busts out some Rachmaninov.

Invented in 1932, the 'Variophone' photo-electrical synthesiser is what you might call a prototype of the modern synthesiser. It was put together by Evgeny Sholpo and Nikolai Voinov, and it sounds a bit like a jazz-fusion experiment gone delightfully wrong.

So what music would you play on it? Obviously, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninov:

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

rune brodahl horn player

Joyous: this horn player absolutely lets rip during a ballet performance

Backstreet Boys in the style of Bach

The Backstreet Boys' 'I Want It That Way' in the style of a Bach Allemande


Quiz: Answer these questions and we'll tell you what your ultimate summer banger is