Dave Smith, father of 'MIDI' and synthesizer pioneer, dies

From The Cure to Arcade Fire, from Duran Duran to Taylor Swift, Dave Smith's influence on the world of music has been colossal.

Dave Smith, father of 'MIDI' and synthesizer pioneer, dies

From The Cure to Arcade Fire, from Duran Duran to Taylor Swift, Dave Smith's influence on the world of music has been colossal. He was the creator of 'MIDI' (acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface), the system that connects instruments and electronic devices that has allowed musicians to compose on his computer for forty years.

The official Instagram account of Sequential Circuits, the synthesizer company he founded in 1974, announced this Thursday the news of his death at the age of 72: “We are heartbroken, but it comforts us a little to know that he was on tour doing what that he liked best in the company of family, friends and artists».

Smith created several sequencers and programmers for use with Moog and ARP synthesizers before designing his own, the Prophet-5, which was the first polyphonic synthesizer with programmable memory, which facilitated the musical revolution of the 1980s and was instrumental in the creation of iconic albums such as Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' or Madonna's 'Like a Virgin'.

Smith was born in San Francisco in 1950. In 1974, a few years after graduating from UC Berkeley with degrees in computer science and electronic engineering, he founded Sequential Circuits, where he developed the Prophet-5 in 1977. It was in 1981 that he began work on creating del Midi, which he presented two years later at the NAMM Show, one of the most important congresses in the sector. After Sequential Circuits, he was president of DSD Inc., a research and development division for the Yamaha Corporation, where he worked on different models of synthesizers and software. He later became president of Seer Systems8 and developed the first functional software-based synthesizer for a PC. Since 2002 he has continued to design and build these devices with his own company, Dave Smith Instruments.

In 2005 he was inducted into the Mix Foundation TECnology Hall of Fame for his specifications on the MIDI.9 protocol, and in 2013, together with Ikutaro Kakehashi, he received a Technical Grammy Award for their contribution to the development of MIDI.10 technology.

Numerous music stars have paid tribute to Smith online with messages of condolence. Chvrches's Martin Doherty confesses his band "wouldn't exist" without him, "a true synthesizer pioneer who had an immeasurable impact on our music," and the group Hot Chip say they would be "nothing without his inventions." while Bon Iver's Justin Vernon has written: "He made the best keyboards ever. Innovation and inspiration. Thank you David Smith."

Roger O'Donnell of The Cure has dedicated an emotional farewell to him on his Twitter profile: "It is very sad to hear of the death of Dave Smith. He started Sequential Circuits, which made some of the most iconic synths from the early '80s to now. He Invented MIDI!!! The Prophet 5 is one of the best synthesizers ever made, and it will never be forgotten. A great man and a dear friend." Nick Rhodes, from Duran Duran, also dedicates an extensive condolence to him on his account of the same social network: «I am very saddened to know that Dave Smith, synth guru and designer of the Prophet V, has left our analog world. He was a pioneer and never stopped looking for new ways to advance the world of synthesizers. When he was making the first Duran Duran album, the Prophet V was one of my main instruments, I've continued to use it on pretty much every record I've made since then. Without Dave's vision and ingenuity the sound of the 1980s would have been very different, it truly changed the soundscape of a generation. He had a deep understanding of what musicians wanted and I am eternally grateful for the creative tools he provided."

The experimental band from Chicago, Good Willsmith, also dedicates words of thanks to him, extolling his role in the future of modern music: «Without Dave Smith, there is no MIDI as we know it. Neither is any polyphonic synthesis available to anyone in the form we know it. Thank you for envisioning how electronic music could evolve and giving us the tools to make it sound like anything we can imagine. The invention of MIDI was a truly Promethean creation. Try to think of any aspect of electronic music in the last 40 years that it hasn't influenced, either directly through the incorporation of MIDI technology or through secondary developments that have come out of music created through MIDI. MIDI technology. There isn't."

Legendary Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who a few days ago lost fellow drummer Alan White, writes: "I just heard the news that Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits, the man who invented the Prophet 5 synthesizer, an instrument ahead of his time in 1977, he has passed away. This is turning out to be a year full of terrible losses.”

Yorum yapabilmek için üye girişi yapmanız gerekmektedir.

Üye değilseniz hemen üye olun veya giriş yapın.