MIDI Processing Unit MPU-401, with instructional documents (3), metal / plastic / paper, designed and made by Roland Corporation, Osaka, Japan, 1985
Established in 1972 by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka, Japan, the Roland Corporation is an innovative Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. In the 1980s, Roland was the leading manufacturer in producing musical interfaces for computers, designing a digital sequencer to replace the analog sequencer. The Roland Corporation still enjoys a prominent market position today with their equipment used by both professionals and amateurs.
Roland was instrumental in determining the technological direction that musical instruments were headed. By recognising the potential musical application computers offered, Roland devised a digital language that allowed a computer and musical instruments to transfer ¬?control data¬? between them resulting in the design of the MPU-401 (Musical Processing Unit, model 401), an interface for a personal computer. Roland identified the silicon chip as the key element in developing new musical instruments without compromising sound quality.
The Roland MIDI (Musical instrument Digital Interface) Processing unit is a micro computer that synchronises various keyboards under computer control. By 1985, every new musical keyboard on the market incorporated in its design, a MIDI interface. The MIDI Processing unit revolutionised the way in which musicians created music. Composing, creating, editing and playing electronic music with realistic sounding instruments with the MPU-401 was efficient and cost effective and accessible to anyone with a computer, keyboard and MIDI sequencer.
The MIDI Processing unit, MPU-401 is a significant example of cutting edge technology by a company committed to technological innovation.
The MIDI Processing Unit MPU-401 was designed and made by the Roland Corporation in Osaka Japan in 1985.
Possibly used by the Museum's Education and Visitor Services department as part of demonstrations showing the Fairlight CMI and digital music technologies. It is not known how it was acquired by the museum.