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“A Love-Letter for Fans of Electronic Musical Instruments”

 … from one of the foremost historians in the field, Dr. Tom Rhea.

Forty-five years in the making, Electronic Perspectives: Vintage Electronic Musical Instruments contains all of Tom Rhea’s fifty-two influential columns that were first published in Keyboard magazine from 1977-1981. This 400-page tome greatly expands on the original content with updated information and hundreds of newly restored images. Electronic Perspectives: Vintage Electronic Musical Instruments includes two CDs of unearthed recordings; spanning multiple eras of electronic music. All in a gold foil-embossed hardcover book, housed in a deluxe slipcase.

Music: Michel Legrand, Eddie Barclay, & Eddy Marnay's "Once Upon a Summertime," performed by Chris Swansen on a Moog Modular System.

One of 53 musical examples/excerpts that are included with 

Electronic Perspectives: Vintage Electronic Musical Instruments

Electronic Perspectives: Vintage Electronic Musical Instruments is out now!


More poetry than prose. More than a coffee table book, but not an encyclopedia. Every electronic musical instrument? No. Vintage! My fifty-two Electronic Perspectives columns originally appeared in Keyboard magazine during 1977-1981, which necessitated obvious constraints. But now, we’ve stretched those limitations greatly to open a wider lens. This new publication is expanded with brilliantly restored images—printed in gorgeous high-resolution—and two discs of music. This is also an opportunity to actually hear some of these instruments. We’ve included sounds many have never heard.

This is as much about cabbages as it is Kings. My columns weren’t written in “Educanto,” and they’re not necessarily about famous or “great” people. The things that intrigued you when you were young probably weren’t all that "academic." Were they? For me, it was hearing the underscores for films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Planet, and reading a lot of science fiction. If you resonate with the values a book brings, and the permanence of the printed page (think Gutenberg Bible), this publication is for you. It certainly won’t blink in and out of existence. Its paper (and CDs) will be here a very long time.

Tom Rhea


When Electronic Perspectives first appeared in Contemporary Keyboard magazine in 1977, the modern era of synthesizers was only a little more than a decade old. The longer pre-narrative of sonic creation by electronic means was woven into developments of less than a century of electrical and electronic history. And yet Tom Rhea managed to probe those elements of a history which was still in the making. 

Larry Fast


Keyboard magazine was largely a forward-looking venture. The concept of "vintage electronic musical instruments" was not really sensible yet. This was technology, and forward means better, older technology would therefore be worse–and useless to study. Yet, here was a different direction altogether, with this picture of a grinning man—Tom Rhea, who seemed to know everything there was to know about early electronic musical instruments. Barring the Theremin and Hammond organ, I had never heard of most of these instruments, and they were all difficult subjects to find anything about. This Rhea man was a scholar (he had a PhD in this) and had certainly spent a lot of time unearthing this information, and getting it the hard way. 

Brian Kehew

Advance Praise For Electronic Perspectives: Vintage Electronic Musical Instruments

"Tom Rhea’s writing at Keyboard magazine documented and led the music industry through its most expansive period: the age of electronic music." 

— Michael Lehmann Boddicker


"This is an essential look at the invention of electronic music. It's about human creativity—not only the music but also what makes the music—the instruments." 

— Joel Chadabe


"To those who think electronic music is a fairly recent phenomenon, Tom Rhea offers a guided tour of this music's century-plus history, including forgotten pioneers, overlooked geniuses, and neglected inventions."  

— Irwin Chusid


"So rich in research and images, this book illuminates electronic music history brilliantly."

— Wally De Backer (Gotye)


"With uncommon expertise, historical insight, and intellectual clarity, Electronic Perspectives explores the immensely important journey of electronic music, illuminating rare and known developments alike. This essential book is at once an ode to the forebears of electronic music, and a gift to the musical community of the future from which we all stand to benefit."

— Michelle Moog-Koussa


"Many images and much info on the history of our electronic art that I have never seen anywhere else. Tom Rhea has produced an incredible resource—it will be welcomed by and give pleasure to many lovers of electronic music." 

— Laurie Spiegel


"Keyboardists and keyboard lovers the world over have dreamed of a book like this for years. Who says dreams don’t come true? It's a must have!"

— Rick Wakeman

About The Author

About the Author

Tom Rhea introduced analog synthesizers internationally as a Moog clinician, functional design consultant, artist relations specialist, documentation writer, and marketing executive. He authored articles in Computer Music Journal, and wrote owner’s manuals, e.g. Minimoog Model D Operation Manual (1974). A noted historian, his PhD The Evolution of Electronic Musical Instruments in the United States (1972), and Keyboard magazine “Electronic Perspectives” columns are cited in The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, and The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd edition. He conceived of, and wrote the first music for Oxylights, the world’s largest permanent music & light installation (Niagara Falls, NY), recognized in The Guinness Book of World Records.


Electronic Perspectives: Vintage Electronic Musical Instruments is out now!


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