Chapter

The Microprocessor Revolution

Peter Manning

in Electronic and Computer Music

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195144840
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849802 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195144840.003.0012
The Microprocessor Revolution

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Intel manufactured the first true microprocessor, identified as the 4004, in 1971. By today's standards, this device was extremely slow and hard to program, difficulties in the latter context being compounded by the fact that only four bits of data or programming code could be handled at a time. The 4004 microprocessor was followed in 1972 by the 8008, which was able to address eight-bit data blocks or bytes directly. This embryonic technology received a major boost in 1974 when Intel released the 8080. By the end of 1975 many leading digital component manufacturers had added eight-bit microprocessors to their product ranges. Despite the relatively primitive nature of these early single-board microcomputers, a number of enthusiasts began to explore applications of a musical nature, in particular the construction of elementary control systems for analog synthesizers, communicating data values via a simple low resolution digital-to-analog converter.

Keywords: Intel; analog synthesizers; microprocessor

Chapter.  11839 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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