Hammond, Polymoog, Double Mellotron, Harpsichord and RMI, oh my! 531

Produced by Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

I’m hoping the weekly update from around the metaverse will return next week but for now we’ll get straight on with another brilliant and fascinating conversation with progressive rock keyboard guru and all round brilliant chap, Chris Dale.

  • What are all those weird sounding keyboard instruments on Tormato?
  • How do they make that noise?
  • How on earth did Chris get his hands on Rick Wakeman’s unique double Mellotron?

Take a listen to the episode and then let us know what you think below!

Chris’ Double Mellotron as owned by Rick Wakeman
Chris’ Birotron B90 with master tapes

This is the instrument Chris said he’d like to own…

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  • Jeffrey Crecelius and
  • Wayne Hall


Aaron Steelman

Dave Owen

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Paul Tomei

Joost Maglev

David Heyden

Martin Kjellberg

Paul Wilson

Bob Martilotta


Michael O’Connor

William Hayes
Brian Sullivan

David Pannell

Miguel Falcão

Lobate Scarp

Chris Bandini

David Watkinson

Neal Kaforey

Rachel Hadaway

Craig Estenes


Paul Hailes

Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs

Doug Curran

Robert Nasir

Fergus Cubbage

Scott Colombo

Fred Barringer

Gary Betts
Geoff Bailie

Simon Barrow
Geoffrey Mason

Stephen Lambe

Guy R DeRome

Steve Dill

Henrik Antonsson

Steve Perry

Hogne Bø Pettersen

Steve Rode


Steve Scott

Jamie McQuinn

Steven Roehr

Ken Fuller

Terence Sadler

Michael Handerhan

Tim Stannard


Todd Dudley

John Cowan

Tony Handley

John Holden

Joseph Cottrell

John Parry

Keith Hoisington

John Thomson

Barry Gorsky

Alan Begg

Robert and David

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from:

6 replies on “Hammond, Polymoog, Double Mellotron, Harpsichord and RMI, oh my! 531”

An excellent chat again, he certainly knows his keyboards. Just thinking I maybe one of the few to play (Lightly press down keys, not switched on! Ha) Rick’s Polymoog and Birotron in 78.

The more you dig deep into Tormato, it appears to bring up increasing difficulties the band were going through. Having to be more current with rock and punk filling the music scene, Yes had to change. It was a different sounding Yes but one that created such wonderful live shows before the break-up.

I’ve had to help lift a Mellotron about 40 years ago. My back still hasn’t recovered. A double Mellotron?! Only young and strong roadies could have moved that thing!
I live in Seattle, so I was very excited to see the Seattle Symphony may have one of these amazing an ondes Martenot.
Thanks for the interesting show!

Another excellent episode. I love this level of expertise which came across in such an entertaining fashion.
A great example of the sounds of the Ondes Martinot is French composer Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony, a real joy!

Yep, Turangalîla-Symphonie is an extraordinary work, and it’s the Ondes that plays a crucial role in making it so otherworldly and transcendent. Credit also to Jonny Greenwood for bringing this neglected instrument back into use, if not fashion, more recently, too. Composer David Bruce highlights this, and introduces how the Ondes works very well.

Another really fascinating episode – and a reminder of just how intrinsic the instruments themselves (and the corresponding instrumentation and arrangement, of course) are to the sound world of ’70s progressive rock, not least in Yes music. It’s mOHg (as in vogue), not mOOg, however: at least in terms of the way its creator pronounced his name.

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