Inspiring Instruments That Make Music Fun.
Since it was founded in 1963, Korg's goal has been to create new experiences in music and performance. That was what drove the creation of Japan's first disc-based rhythm machine, the Doncamatic, and then led to the development of Japan’s first synthesizer and the world's first needle-type tuner, followed by numerous unique instruments that have brought the enjoyment of musical performance to many people all around the world. Korg is resolved to continue to create innovative and uncompromising instruments which maintain the high quality that inspires professional artists and creators, and yet are approachable enough for anyone to play. The musical instruments Korg will deliver are reflections of the ideas and values of the many artists and users who continue to love Korg products - now and into the future.
Over the 40 years of their existence, Korg have produced a huge variety of groundbreaking music gear, from electronic percussion to industry-standard synths, and from guitar tuners to digital recording workstations. This month, we look back at how it all started...When the history of electronic keyboards and synthesis is written, a handful of names will feature prominently. Laurens Hammond, for example, whose electromechanical organs dominated the 1940s and 1950s, and Robert Moog, who made synthesis recognisable and acceptable in the 1960s and early '70s. Next came Alan Pearlman of ARP, Tom Oberheim, Dave Rossum of Emu, and Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits, whose microprocessor-controlled Prophets introduced fully programmable polyphonic synthesis.
As the electronic music industry became more commercial in the '80s, the role of the eccentric developer slipped away, to be replaced by the R&D divisions of the music corporations. Foremost of these were Yamaha, who, from 1983 onwards, produced digital FM keyboards at such a rate and price that they precipitated the demise of many existing synth companies. Then, in 1987, the Roland D50 reinvented synthesis in the shape of S&S (sample & synthesis) technology. But Roland's reign lasted barely a year before something remarkable happened.
The people behind Korg were probably unaware that, in launching the M1, they were setting out on a path that would keep the company at the forefront of its field for the next 15 years. What's more, far from being a huge corporation, Korg were the creation of just a handful of men... not so far divorced from the entrepreneurs of the '60s and '70s. In fact, these men were the entrepreneurs of the '60s and '70s; their first product predated the Minimoog and the first ARPs by nearly a decade. So, when our descendents read the history of music technology, two names will appear prominently. The first is that of Tsutomu Katoh (pronounced 'Car-toe') and the second is that of his company, Keio Electronic, now renamed Korg. This is the story of the man, the company and, in particular, the products that have made them famous.