Electronic Musician


Educational articles on equipment and technique in contemporary electronic music making. Monthly. (rojaro)

1986 September
Vol. 2 No. 9

Frank Zappa and His Digital Orchestra
Interview by John Diliberto, 5 pp

EM: You've had a few of your orchestral works performed by the London Symphony Orchestra . . .

FZ: Yeah! Right! And those pieces cost a fortune. I could've bought two of these machines for what the LSO album cost me.

EM: And what about the pieces commissioned by Pierre Boulez?

FZ: Well, that wasn't really orchestral. That was only a chamber orchestra with only 27 pieces and there's a slight difference.

EM: Are you doing outboard processing on the Synclavier?

FZ: You mean when it goes to tape? Sure! We add digital echo to it and there's some equalization that's done, especially on some of the synthesizer sounds that come out of it since there's no tracking filter in there. It's digital synthesis; the synthesizer sounds in that machine are subject to aliasing noise and that often has to be filtered off.

EM: On the track "Outside Now Again," was the solo on that improvised?

FZ: Yes. It came from the Joe's Garage album on a song called "Outside Now." That's why it's called "Outside Now Again" on the Boulez album.

EM: So this wasn't improvised on the Synclavier.

FZ: No, it was played on the guitar. Then it was transcribed by Steve Vai. Then the transcription was entered into the Synclavier.

(read more @ AlterDudes – Zappa in 1986)