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The clavioline is an electronic keyboard instrument, a forerunner to the analog synthesizer.

It was invented by Constant Martin in 1947 in Versailles.[1] It consists of a keyboard and a separate amplifier and speaker unit. The keyboard usually covered three octaves, and had a number of switches to alter the tone of the sound produced, add vibrato, and provide other effects. The Clavioline used a vacuum tube oscillator to produce a buzzy waveform, almost a square wave, which could then be altered using high-pass and low-pass filtering, as well as the vibrato. The amplifier also deliberately provided a large amount of distortion.[2]

Several models were produced by different companies; among the more important were the Standard, Reverb, and Concert models by Gibson and Selmer in the 1950s. The 6-octave model developed by Harald Bode employed octave transposition. In England the Jennings Organ Company's first successful product was the Univox, an early self-powered electronic keyboard based on the Selmer Clavioline.[3] Also in Japan, Ace Tone's first prototype, Canary S-2 (1962) was designed based on Clavioline.[4]


The clavioline has been utilized on a number of recordings in popular music as well as in film. A selection follows.

See also[edit]