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An electronic instrument in which the dynamic characteristics of a sound source (usually a voice) are analyzed into a large number of frequency bands, and the resulting information is used to filter another sound source such as a musical instrument. When the dynamic input is a voice the result will be like having the instrument “speak” the notes or chords it is playing. The acronym (how many of you knew vocoder was an acronym?) actually means Voice Operated enCODER and the technology originated at Bell Labs in the late 1940’s. The earliest commercial vododers were developed in Europe by Electronic Music Systems (EMS) and Synton. Over the years Roland and Korg have both had popular models, and now vocoding is having a resurgence as a software algorithm in the sound design community.

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