Monday, February 29, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Sydney Blefko

My research project involves examining vintage synthesizers under the mentorship of Dr. Jesse Guessford, director of the Music Technology program.  Our music technology program has in its possession a large variety of vintage analog and digital synthesizers, and my job involves researching components of each of these models, including production dates, notable features of each instrument, and artists who have performed on that model.  In the future this information will be put into a website or database so it will be available to other students in the program and to anyone who wishes to use our synth collection.

The majority of my research involves reading articles and manuals about each of the synthesizers and about the general components of analog synthesis.  I also visit the music technology studio where I can gain hands-on experience playing each of these synthesizers, allowing me to put what I’ve learned into practice.  This project has helped me gain a better understanding of signal flow, the evolution of analog to digital synthesis, and of electronic music history.  Recently I have been reading about ADSR envelopes, which are the components of analog synthesizers that control the rate of the sound attack and decay.

I am planning to attend graduate school next year to study ethnomusicology so the research skills I have gained in this position will be very helpful.  I am interested in the music technology field and in music history, and I want to continue learning about both of these fields after graduation.