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The Stylophone is a miniature analog stylus-operated keyboard. Invented in 1967 by Brian Jarvis, it entered production in 1968, manufactured by Dubreq. It consists of a metal keyboard played by touching it with a stylus—each note being connected to a voltage-controlled oscillator via a different-value resistor—thus closing a circuit. The only other controls were a power switch and a vibrato control on the front panel beside the keyboard, and a tuning control on the rear. Some three million Stylophones were sold, mostly as children's toys.
The Stylophone was available in three variants: standard, bass, and treble, the standard one being by far the most common. There was also a larger version called the 350S with more notes on the keyboard, various voices, a novel 'wah-wah' effect that was controlled by moving one's hand over a photo-sensor, and two styluses.
In the mid-1970s a new model appeared which featured pseudo-wood on the speaker panel and a volume control. This was shortly before the Stylophone ceased production altogether in 1975.
In October 2007 toy company Re:creation, in conjunction with Dubreq Ltd (re-formed in 2003 by Ben Jarvis, the son of the original inventor), re-launched the Stylophone, 32 years after the original had ceased to be manufactured. The new model, officially called the S1, is a digital copy that closely resembles the 1960s original but has a volume control and features an audio throughput function, as well as sporting two new sounds.
In popular culture
Stylophone is being used as a main instrument by russian rock-group "Gromyka".
American alternative rock group They Might Be Giants has made use of the Stylophone on their album The Else.
In December 2012, Dubreq released the Series 2 Stylophone, a British made, true full spec analogue synth.
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- Elliott, Amy-Mae (14 September 2007). ""Iconic" Seventies Stylophone to be revived by HMV". Pocket-Lint Ltd. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
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- "ГРОМЫКА - "Говорил я вам"/ GROMYKA - "As I Said Unto You"". YouTube.com. 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
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