Now that manufactured instruments that are mass produced have long
outnumbered hand made instruments, the latter have been classified as folk
instruments. The purpose of this is to elevate the status of mass produced
objects above that of the folk object, which is generally considered to be
of inferior quality. Of course folk instruments, being unstandardized, have
a freedom of range in form, character, choice of materials and quality of
workmanship that mass produced objects can only dream about.
These prototype synthesizers are made in the tradition of historical folk
instruments, created solely for the use of its maker and need not be housed
in a refined console suitable for the school, church or parlor. Folk
synthesizers are as at home in the hovel or moldy basement as they are in a
museum of valued folk artifacts that used to belong in barns or sheds.
For decades electronic music has been associated with conservatories,
universities, radio stations and other well-funded institutions. And yet
what better place to create electronic music than in an unheated outbuilding
with a reel to reel tape recorder and some hand-crafted folk synthesizers
with no one around to tell you what to do.