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Reimagining Robb: The Sound of the World's First Sample-based Electronic Musical Instrument circa 1927

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This paper follows up on 2013 and 2014 AES presentations on recreating the first successful electronic organ, the 1927 Robb Wave Organ. Most historical literature lists the Chamberlin/Mellotron (c1960s) as the first usable sample-based electronic musical instruments. This paper will situate the earlier 1927 Robb Wave Organ as part of the evolution of sample-based instruments. It will also demonstrate the sampling method used for carving Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) equivalent waveforms into spinning tone wheels. The authors have completed a physical recreation of the instrument and will demonstrate the various sampled sounds at the conference.

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