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How Isao Tomita Transformed Pictures At An Exh into an Electronic Odyssey

Isao Tomita - Pictures At An Exh: A Synthesizer Masterpiece

Isao Tomita was a Japanese composer and pioneer of electronic music. He is best known for his innovative adaptations of classical works using synthesizers and other electronic instruments. One of his most acclaimed albums is Pictures At An Exh, released in 1975, which is a reinterpretation of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

Isao Tomita - Pictures At An Exh

What is Pictures At An Exh?

Pictures At An Exh is a suite of ten pieces composed by Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. The pieces are inspired by a memorial exhibition of paintings by his friend Viktor Hartmann. The suite depicts various scenes and moods evoked by the paintings, such as a gnome, an old castle, a ballet of chicks, and a great gate of Kiev. The suite also includes four promenades that represent the composer's movements through the exhibition.

How did Isao Tomita transform Pictures At An Exh into an electronic odyssey?

Isao Tomita used a Moog synthesizer and other electronic devices to create a new sound world for Pictures At An Exh. He added various effects, such as echoes, reverbs, filters, and modulations, to enhance the expressive and atmospheric qualities of the music. He also used spatial techniques, such as panning and quadraphonic sound, to create a sense of movement and depth. He also added some original elements, such as bird sounds, voices, and noises, to create contrast and surprise.

What are some of the highlights of Isao Tomita's Pictures At An Exh?

Some of the highlights of Isao Tomita's Pictures At An Exh are:

  • The Gnome: Tomita creates a menacing and grotesque sound for the gnome using distorted and dissonant tones. He also uses a voice synthesizer to mimic the gnome's laughter.

  • The Old Castle: Tomita creates a haunting and melancholic sound for the old castle using a theremin-like melody and a choir-like background. He also uses a tape delay to create an echo effect.

  • Ballet Of The Chicks In Their Shells: Tomita creates a playful and whimsical sound for the chicks using high-pitched and rapid tones. He also uses bird sounds and voices to add realism and humor.

  • Baba Yaga (Hut On Fowls' Legs): Tomita creates a dramatic and powerful sound for Baba Yaga using percussive and rhythmic tones. He also uses sirens and explosions to create tension and excitement.

  • Great Gate Of Kiev: Tomita creates a majestic and grandiose sound for the great gate using rich and harmonic tones. He also uses bells and chimes to create a festive and celebratory mood.


Isao Tomita - Pictures At An Exh is a remarkable album that showcases the creative and technical skills of Isao Tomita. He transformed a classical masterpiece into an electronic adventure using synthesizers and other devices. He created a new sound world that captures the essence and spirit of the original music, while adding his own personality and imagination. He also demonstrated the expressive and versatile potential of electronic music for creating different moods and atmospheres. Isao Tomita - Pictures At An Exh is a synthesizer masterpiece that deserves to be heard and appreciated by all music lovers. b99f773239


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