Yamaha Synth 40 years History (5 Chapters)

Beginning with our release of the SY-1 in 1974, Yamaha’s rich history of development and production of synthesizers has now reached the 40-year milestone. As a musical instrument that lets you create exciting new sounds and express yourself freely, the synthesizer has been at the cutting edge of electronic music making ever since it first arrived on the scene. What’s more, the technologies perfected in order to make this instrument a reality are now being put to use in all kinds of audio-related devices, and we can rightly say that the synth truly embodies the evolution of modern music.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Yamaha synthesizer—which has remained consistently at the forefront of the music industry—we explore this innovative history, looking back on the products, technologies, and developments unique to each period.

[Chapter 1] Origins of the Yamaha Synthesizer

  • Evolution from the Electone
  • Why digital technology in an analog synth?
  • Birth of the SY-1
  • Crossover to CS-Series Combo Synthesizers
  • Lower prices, more compact designs, and further enhancement
  • Inspired to create new forms of synthesis

[Chapter 2] FM Tone Generators and the Dawn of Home Music Production

  • Great advances in semiconductor technologies
  • The user interface concept
  • Arrival of the DX7 to transform the music scene
  • Fully-loaded with next generation functions
  • The changing world of the synthesizer
  • Onward to home music production

[Chapter 3] Evolution of Tone Generator Systems & Approaches to Music Production

  • Arrival of the sampling-based tone generators
  • Multitimbrality
  • Evolution of our PCM synthesizers
  • Dawn of the workstation era
  • The quest for new tone-generation techniques
  • At the mercy of the nineties' economy

[Chapter 4] Changing Needs & A Return to Roots

  • Intuitive sound creation
  • A full-fledged virtual analog synthesizer
  • Enhancing product development with feedback from market research
  • Simultaneous development of new tone generation systems
  • The results of market research

[Chapter 5] The Complete Musical Instruments of the MOTIF Series【NEW】

  • The ultimate workstation
  • Dawn of the MOTIF® era
  • Hardware innovation
  • Further evolution to Mega Voices
  • Revolutionary advancements in the MOTIF XS
  • Further enhancement of core functionality in the MOTIF XF
  • Crossover to other models and the CP Series
  • The 40 year journey of the Yamaha synth


  • Yamaha synthesizer design
  • MU Series
  • Sampling Units & Groove Gear
  • QY Series
  • Synthesizers and Controllers
  • RX and QX—Invaluable to both live performer and home producer
  • How FM tone generation works
  • YC Series
  • CP Series