Gooch and PLATO

In my secret identity, I’m a Masters in TESOL student at CUNY Hunter. I’m writing a paper on Computer Assisted Language Learning, and just came across this little nugget regarding the oldest computerized music instruction ever.

From wikipedia on the PLATO computer learning system

It was also possible to connect the terminal to peripheral devices. One such peripheral was the Gooch Synthetic Woodwind (named after inventor Sherwin Gooch), a synthesizer that offered 4 voice music synthesis to provide sound in PLATO courseware. This was later supplanted on the PLATO V terminal by the Gooch Cybernetic Synthesizer, which had 16 voices that could be programmed individually or combined to make more complex sounds. This allowed for what today is known as multimedia experiences. A PLATO-compatible music language was developed for these synthesizers, as well as a compiler for the language, two music text editors, a filing system for music binaries, programs to play the music binaries in real time, and many debugging and compositional aids. A number of interactive compositional programs have also been written.
Another peripheral was the Votrax speech synthesizer, and a “say” instruction (with “saylang” instruction to choose the language) was added to the Tutor programming language to support text-to-speech synthesis using the Votrax.
The goal of this system was to provide tools for music educators to use in the development of instructional materials, which might possibly include music dictation drills, automatically graded keyboard performances, envelope and timbre ear-training, interactive examples or labs in musical acoustics, and composition and theory exercises with immediate feedback.[3]

(1) I must find examples of these sounds immediately.

(2) I must have one please.


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