First of all I must say that I never really liked the word "syntheziser"
since the word implies that they just imitate natural sounds.
But instead the "syntheziser" has opened up a door to a infinite number of
artificial sounds which were neither obtainable nor imaginable before.
There are instruments that better match to the name synthesizer,
for example the new digital synths that try to imitate the artifacts
of analog sound processing without going beyond.
(What will tomorrows techno-kids do with such a thing?!)
To me voltage controlled synthezisers, opened a new
view to music. Especially when synths are home made.
Hell, show me a digital machine that revolutionizes my views
(Hm physical modelling perhaps?).
Since with "analog music" the method of composing music
is inherently based on the technology of the instrument.
Unlike in conventional orchestral compositions, where often the composer
does not have a real orchestra when writing down the "paper and pencil"
music. But in "analog music"
there is no necessity for writing down music. There is no need for the pasts "
I set up a sound to play a tune". The musical structures can be represented
by voltages as well as parameters as pitch and amplitude.
This means that from the musical structures to the accoustic tones the music
just uses one representation: electrons! This electron-art allows unlike
any other approaches to build a functional representation of the composers
idea without interpretation by performers. Well computer-music comes close to this,
but the direct feedback from the acoustical sounds to the electronic
representation is much shorter, and computer-music is not self contained.
The distinction between representation of music and instrument, is obsolete,
and representation, instrument and music become one: analog synth!
As well as composer and performer become one.
This is similar to the von Neumann architecture: program, and data are
indistiguishable. It made computers universally useable.
Analog does that to music.
Going one step further the process of building a synthesizer can be included
in the artistic process of makeing "analog music"
since it means even more control about the parameters involved in the process.
Thus designing and soldering a module becomes an act of artistic expression,
beyond the "Art of electronics by Horowitz and Hill".
And thus I believe that full artistic freedom can only be archeived
by "roll your own".
And even rolling your own sounds on a commercial machine can yield in a
greater freedom, and I do know people that
(confused by modern complexity of music instruments) only use preset sounds,
preset effects and so on. But these instruments only allow introspects thru a
tiny LCD and some buttons, so how can you get into it...
Being the designer, composer and performer all in one person allows me to get
the best out of my equipment, and being surprised how the machine can sound
like I never could imagine. And it never sounds the same way twice ;-)