The ANS Photoelectronic Synthesizer

Posted on 16 August 2008



The ANS synthesizer (named after Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin) is a photoelectronic musical instrument created by Russian engineer Evgeny Murzin between 1937 to 1957.


The synthesizers uses cinematography, which makes it possible to “photograph” a sound wave, as well as synthesizing a sound from a drawn sound wave.


Stanislav Kreichi explains the significance of this rare synthesizer:


“The ANS remains a unique apparatus available to only a limited circle of musicians: the single experimental model of the device in existence currently belongs to Moscow State University, where a general lack of space and technical support have prevented a widening of the circle of ANS users. Although the ANS has not achieved widespread fame, the idea of directly transforming graphic structures into sound structures has not lost its relevance and can now be used successfully in computer music.”


The ANS Synthesizer is a rare and bizarre piece of synth history.