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The AxeSynth is an electronic musical instrument, also called the SpaceAxe and nick-named The Atari by the band MuteMath [], was invented by Anthony (Tony) Amendolare of Long Island, N.Y. in the winter of 2004.
The first AxeSynth instruments that were produced used the vintage Texas Instruments SN76477 Sound Generator integrated circuit. The SN76477 IC was the sound synthesizer used in the Space Invaders video arcade game of the late 1970s and early 80's, this fact prompted the AxeSynth to be nicknamed "the Atari" by some of its noted users.
Shaped like a guitar, with a neck and body, it utilizes two sensors as the user interface to produce synthesized tones. The main sensor, located on the "neck" is a Force Sensitive Resistor (FSR) similar to a ribbon controller.
Linear changes in resistance are produced when the FSR is touched at various positions along its length. This variable electrical resistance is similar to that of a common linear potentiometer and subsequently controls the oscillation of frequencies produced by the main synthesizer IC.
The AxeSynth also utilizes a photoresistor sensor, or CdS cell, whereby varying amounts of light received by the sensor is controlled by the musician's hand, resembling Theremin-like frequency control.
Other musical instrument inventions by Anthony Amendolare include the ElectroKraft "Super Synth Drums" cartridge, a re-programmed Nintendo NES cartridge for use with the original Nintendo Entertainment System of the 1980's. The re-programmed cartridge allowed the user to create drum/percussion sounds with the NES gamepads (or with a custom made instrument called the ElectroKraft DrumAxe; a derivative of the AxeSynth), and which produced 8 bit digital effects that were characteristic of the NES. Intended for live music, Chiptune performance or recording. SuperSynth Drums Cartridge: ElectroKraft's Super Synth Drums Cartridge. The DrumAxe NES controller: