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Craig’s List - Music Deities of the Ancients 

Ancient astronauts? That’s soooo passé! Let’s set the wayback machine to ancient Greece and Rome, and discover the real roots of electronic music

 

by Craig Anderton

 

 

1. Casio, the father of Casiopeia, displeased Zeus by cross-breeding a calculator with a musical instrument—and was forced to cross the river Styx (“Come Sail Away”) for banishment in the underworld. But there he befriended the demigod Synthesus, who taught Casio the true meaning of keyboards. Disguising himself as a calculator/watch, Casio eluded the guards, escaped, and in tribute to his master, vowed never again to create a synthesizer that could be useful while shopping for groceries.

 

2. Maximus was the Roman god of tastelessness, B-movies, and excessive noise levels. But the gods, tired of his yelling, wagered that Maximus could not create a sound louder than Heavius Metallus. If Maximus lost the wager, he would have to wed Minimus the Radio Shack loudspeaker—but the clever Maximus stole the secret of excessive multiband maximizing from Dynamicus. To this day, bad mastering on pop tunes reminds us that unfortunately, Maximus won the wager.

 

3. Chorus was the sister of Hydra but instead of having multiple heads, had a single head with multiple voices. She would have been but a footnote in mythology had the Sirens not tried to use the sweet sound of Chorus to ensnare Ulysses. Legend says Ulysses had himself tied to his ship’s mast to avoid the sirens’ lure, but according to contemporaneous accounts from Eudemus of Rhodes (not to be confused with Eudemus of Fender Rhodes), Chorus’s battery died at an inopportune moment.

 

4. Modulus, the nephew of Synthesus, was the most powerful of the ancient gods because of his ability to incorporate all the powers of the other gods. But he became boastful and incurred the wrath of Zeus—who punished Modulus by letting him keep his powers, but allowed them to be manifested only by untangling an infinitely huge collection of tangled patch cords. However, Modulus extracted his vengeance by marrying Medusa—whose hair, contrary to myth, consisted not of snakes but 1/4" cables.

 

5. Little is known about Tremulus, the first of the effects gods, who controlled the cycles of loudness and softness. To make matters worse he was often confused with his brother Vibratus, the god of the cycles of sharpness and flatness. Their constant bickering (along with getting Athena seriously plastered one night) caused the gods to curse them to forever being confused with each other. Even today, you still hear guitarists invoke the name of Tremulus when describing pitch-bending guitar tailpieces.

 

______________________________________________ 

 

 Craig Anderton is Editorial Director of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.

 

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herbernst  |  July 03, 2017 at 4:56 pm
Let us not forget the contribution of the four brothers Una Cordus, Damperus, Sostentus and Sustainus, who, working together, forever changed the lives of mere human mortals aspiring to reach the very heavens of the gods themselves through the power of sound imbued with patterns of heartfelt intelligence.  These brothers, by calling upon the great power of Pianoforteus, the Great God of All Music, changed the sound of the humble Harpus Pluckus into the exalted majesty of Keyboardus Hammerus Grande Magnificatus – and life has, to this very day, never been the same.
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