- Dec 30, 2017
- Reaction score
- SF Bay Area
The machine came into being in 1931 when American composer Henry Cowell—in search of a means of translating his increasingly complicated rhythmic pieces—contracted Leon Theremin, inventor of the musical device that bears his name. Theremin came up with the Rhythmicon, “a quirky, clunky, keyboard-based machine that was able to play complex polyrhythms in precise loops,” writes Peter Holslin at the Red Bull Music Academy Daily.
See the First “Drum Machine,” the Rhythmicon from 1931, and the Modern Drum Machines That Followed Decades Later
Maestro Rhythm King. I do not think of the Rhythmicon, nor did I know it had existed until very recently. I doubt many people have ever heard of it, yet it can probably claim the title of the first drum machine—or at least first rhythm machine—ever built.