Doha and the making of a synth museum

Doha is now also where technology and electronic music meet. The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCU) is building a synth museum, one sound at a time.

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Analog synthesizer board in sound recording studio.Professional hi-fi audio equipment for music producer.Retro analog synth device for producing new musical tracks in high quality

When you think of Qatar you might not immediately think of electronic music, but you might think of technology, brand new infrastructure, and government-enabled innovation.
The synthesizer is an electronic instrument that uses some form of digital or analog processing to produce audible sound and made its debut in the music scene in the 1970s, dominating pop music by the 80s. As their name might suggest, most synthesizers seek to artificially reproduce (or synthesize) the sounds of acoustic instruments.

The Qatar Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University support two individuals’ Josh Rodenberg and colleague Erika Tsuchiya’s endeavour of building the synth museum for the VCU in Doha within the Innovative Media Studios who said that Qatar offers “lots of funding opportunities for cultural preservation activities and innovation”.
Interviewed by Attack Magazine, the artistic and entrepreneurial duo explained that the idea behind the synth library “is that you can listen in an acoustically sound environment. The design is inspired by the majlis, the traditional tents that were used to gather in the desert”.
Majlis are a cultural way of congregating across the Arabian Peninsula. The VCU’s “musical majlis” will host more women than it is traditionally used for, given that the university’s sound design courses is wildly popular amid Qatari women. All will explore and exchange about the wonderful world of music production in a new kind of majlis.
“We also explore how to use the voice as the instrument and not necessarily just singing. For example, giving ideas to use the voice in a musical and sonic way. For example, using vocal sound recording sounds to make samples, assemble soundscapes and more” explains Josh.
While electronic music production may be new for Doha today, the Innovative Media Studios at VCU aims to educate, innovate and celebrate where technology meets music and give the world a synth museum, in a place where sounds are more exotic than in Detroit, and equally as important and inspiring.

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