The Armand Pascetta Keyboard

By the time voltage-controlled synths became more prevalent in the late ’60s, many players lamented the instrument’s monophonic nature. Among the first to shoot for synth polyphony was a young technician named Armand Pascetta. He developed his own microprocessors out of transistors, resistors, diodes, and military-grade surplus integrated circuits. He also adapted five-octave Pratt-Reed keyboards to his needs by installing gold-plated springs and staples, which eventually allowed his keyboards to sense note velocity, release velocity, and aftertouch. Along the way Pascetta developed controllers capable of handling multiple synth modules, even with networked keyboards. Although few are aware of Pascetta’s work, his ideas were revolutionary and many of them have yet to be duplicated or surpassed.