120 Years of Electronic Music
Electronic Musical Instrument 1870 - 1990
The "Warbo Formant Orgel" (1937)
The "Melodium: (1938)
The "Melochord" (1947-9)
Bode Sound Co (1963 -)
The Warbo Formant Orgel (1937)
Harald Bode (born Hamburg 19 Oct 1909)is one of the unsung pioneers of electronic musical instrument design. Bode's career spans from the 1930's until the late seventies when he was the chief engineer and inspiration at the Moog synthesiser company. Many of bode's Bode's ideas and designs became archetypal for later instruments for the next fifty years. Bode's first commercial design was the wonderfully named " Warbo Formant Orgel" built while at the Heinrich-Hertz Institut für Schwingungsforschung at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. The Warbo Formant Orgel was designed and built in collaboration with C. Warnke (hence 'War- Bo' Warnke/Bode)and eventually went into commercial production by at a factory in Dachau. As with many other instruments designed by Bode the 'Warbo Formant Orgel' pioneered aspects of electronics that became standard in later instruments. The Warbo Formant Orgel was a partially polyphonic four-voice keyboard instrument with 2 filters and key assigned dynamic envelope wave shaping, features that were later used on the postwar 'Melochord'.
The "Melodium" (1938)
Bode's second instrument, previewed in 1938 was a monophonic touch sensitive keyboard instrument, the 'Melodium', developed with the assistance of Oskar Vierling, inventor of the 'Grosstonorgel'. The instrument was used extensively for film music and 'light music' during the 1940's.

harald bode
Harald Bode at the Melochord c1948
The "Melochord" (1947-9)
Harald Bode built the electronic Melochord a monophonic keyboard instrument based on vacuum tube technology in 1947 . The keyboard used pitches derived from the traditional equal-tempered 12 note scale with switches extending the 37 note range from three octaves to seven. A foot pedal allowed overall control of the volume and a novel electronically operated envelope shaper could be triggered for each key. A later version incorporated two keyboards the second keyboard being able to control the timbre of the other, a technique used in later modular type synthesizers.

The Melochord was used extensively in the early days of the electronic studio at Bonn University by Dr Werner Meyer-Eppler and was later installed at North West German Radio studios in Köln (alongside a Monochord and a simple oscillator and filter system) where it was used by the Elektronische Musik group throughout the 1950's. Artists who used the Melochord and Monochord at the studio included Herbert Eimert, Robert Beyer, Karel Goeyvarts, György Ligeti, Henri Posseur, Karlheinz Stockhausen and others.

Despite the instruments technical drawbacks, the Melochord was destined to play a historic role in the future of electronic music, Meyer-Eppler's visionary and influential work "Klangmodelle" and lectures at Darmstadt New Music School were all based on the Melochord and in 1961 Harald Bode, recognizing the significance of transistor based technology over valve based synthesis, wrote a paper that was to revolutionise electronic musical instruments. Bode's ideas of modular and miniature self contained transistor based machines was taken up and developed in the early 1960's by Robert Moog, Donald Buchla and others.

Sound Files of the Melochord
Audio File.Herbert Eimert and Robert Beyer "Klangstudie 1". Recorded at the WDR Studio in 1951 using the Melochord, single oscillators and tape manipulation.

Audio File. György Ligeti "Glissandi".Recorded at the WDR Studio in 1957 using the Melochord, oscillators and tape manipulation.

The Bode Frequency Shifter c1972
The Bode Sound Company
From 1950 onwards Harald Bode designed several conventional electronic instruments for Apparatewerk Bayern Germany and Estey Organ Co, USA , beginning with the 'Polychord' (1950), The 'Bode Organ' (1951) - this being the basis for the Polychord III, the 'Cembaphon'(1951) - an amplified harpsichord with electrostatic pickups, The 'Tuttivox' (1953) and the concert 'Clavioline' (1953). In 1954 Bode emigrated to the USA where he developed a new model of the Wurlitzer Electric Piano.
The Bode model 7702 Vocoder
From 1964, when he worked at the micro circuitry dept of Bell Aerospace laboratories, until his retirement in 1974, Bode pursued privately his own research. Bode developed a modular signal processor incorporating a ring modular and elements of voltage control. In 1963 he developed a frequency shifter and ring modulator under licence to R.A.Moog Co. Bode has more recently developed various sound processing devices such as a Vocoder and an 'infinite phaser' marketed by his own company Bode Sound Co.
The Bode Phaser
During the 1970's Harald Bode composed electronic scores for television commercials and film as well as for live concerts.
Sources:
H. Bode: 'Bekannte und neue Klänge durch elektrische Musik-Instrumente' Funktechnische Monatshefte (1940) no.5, p67

H. Bode: 'European electronic Music Instrument Design' , journal of the audio engineering society, ix (1961),267

Estey Organs Museum: http://www.esteyorganmuseum.org/
Bode's design credits on the inside of a Tuttivox
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