The Tonto Synthesizer
TONTO is an acronym for “The Original New Timbral Orchestra”: the world’s first (and still the largest) multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer, designed and constructed by Malcolm Cecil. Its warm, rich timbres were particularly noteworthy and still cannot be recreated by the current breed of MIDI digital synthesizers and samplers.
TONTO began life as a series III Moog modular synthesizer. A second Moog III was added in 1971 and TONTO continued to expand with various custom built as well as standard modules (somewhat modified) from many synthesizer manufacturers including Serge with Moog-like panels, Oberheim, Arp 2500/2600, EMS, Roland, Yamaha, etc.
Among the numerous artists who worked with TONTO was Stevie Wonder whose involvement with TONTO started with “Music of My Mind” and continued through “Talking Book”, “Innervisions”, “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”