TONTO – The Greatest Synth in History

Synthesist and composer Anthony Marinelli – In his latest video – talks with super-producer Robert Margouleff about T.O.N.T.O., arguably the greatest synth in history.
Video Summary:

“Dive into the revolutionary world of T.O.N.T.O, the legendary synthesizer that became synonymous with Stevie Wonder’s groundbreaking music during his classic period. In this video, I explore the incredible story behind T.O.N.T.O (The Original New Timbral Orchestra), a pioneering modular synthesizer created by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff in the early 1970s.

Discover how T.O.N.T.O’s vast array of analog modules and innovative design allowed Stevie Wonder to explore new sonic frontiers, shaping timeless albums like “Innervisions,” “Fulfillingness’ First Finale,” and “Songs in the Key of Life.” From its towering size, custom wood cabinets, to its intricate patching system, T.O.N.T.O not only expanded the palette of sounds available to musicians but also set a benchmark for electronic music production.

Through my interview with Grammy Winning Super-Producer c (T.O.N.T.O co-creator), we’ll uncover its enduring impact on music production techniques and its part in shaping the evolution of synthesizers. From its role in creating iconic basslines and ethereal textures to its influence on the development of funk, soul, and electronic music genres, T.O.N.T.O remains a testament to the power of innovation in music technology.

Whether you’re a die-hard Stevie Wonder fan, a synth enthusiast, or simply curious about the instruments that changed music forever, this video provides a comprehensive look at T.O.N.T.O’s journey from obscurity to becoming an icon of musical innovation.”

Topics covered:

00:00 Intro (theme music)

00:09 Building TONTO

01:33 Meeting Malcolm Cecil

03:25 Writing Ads for the Moog

03:55 Designing the a Giant Synth on a Tablecloth

05:05 ARP, Serge, and other synths

06:45 Making “Zero Time” & 1st Record Deal

09:14 Stevie Wonder meets Robert, Malcolm & the Moog

12:09 Moving to Electric Lady Studio

13:16 John Storyk Builds TONTO’s Case

14:54 TONTO’s Live Concert

16:47 TONTO’s Keeps Growing with Special Features

18:45 No Minimoog

19:26 Special Expression Techniques on the Moog

21:14 Stevie’s Custom Pitch Bender

24:08 Logo (theme music)


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