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The Electronic Sackbut is an electronic instrument designed by Hugh Le Caine beginning in the 1940s.

The Sackbut had a feature which resembles what has become the modulation wheel(s) on today's synthesizers: The player used the left hand to modify the sound while the right hand was used to play the keyboard.[1] This compares with today's synthesizers which have one or several modulation wheels to the left of the keyboard (often controlling modulation and pitch).

The controller, which the player of the Sackbut used, modified volume, pitch and timbre. Thus it was one of the first electronic instruments to use a three-dimensional continuous controller to modify the sound in a live situation. Such control sophistication is still rare in today's electronic instruments.


  1., Electronic Sackbut (1945-1973)

Electronic Sackbut

(exhibited as in the Canada Science and Technology Museum)

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