From the vantage point of 1977, scarcely more than a decade into the era of the synthesizer, the magnitude of its impact on the world of music remains to be determined. Like any other device, it can have only as much effect as the people who use it have talent. The face of rock and jazz is being transformed by dozens of prominent synthesists whose understanding and application of electronics becomes daily more sophisticated. In contemporary classical music, there is likewise an army of dedicated artists making use of the instrument, though of course their work is heard by fewer people.
The bastions of 19th Century symphonic music have, however, proven more formidable. Although the synthesizer would seem to offer comparatively effortless access to the range of sounds that composers have traditionally required a hundred or more musicians to produce, the synthesists who have so far attempted large-scale electronic realizations of symphonic works can be numbered on the fingers of one hand. Of these few, the one whose work has recently generated the greatest critical acclaim and popular interest, thereby showing how bright the future of electronic orchestration may be, is Isao Tomita.