image courtesy of PAiA
[from an interview with John Simonton, PAiA Electronics, Inc.]
"While it started out as purely an electronic instrument to make wind sounds, the Gnome turned into one of the smallest, most portable analog synthesizers ever manufactured." [It was also battery powered.]
"'The Gnome started out as an instrument that wasn't going to do anything more than make the sound of wind - not like a flute, but real wind. Ssssshhhhew. That kind of wind, which could be played with a little vinyl controller strip that was part of it. The Gnome was one of those things that just grew. After the instrument that did the wind sound was done, it became pretty apparent that you could stick other components in there and essentially come up with a small synthesizer, a thing that captured the central ideas of voltage-controlled synthesis at the time - Oscillators, filters, transient generators, and so on - but stripped down to the essentials or the core. It was an attempt to get rid of that keyboard that was always by far the single most expensive part of anything we made, by order of magnitude or more.'"
[excerpted with permission from the book Vintage Synthesizers by Mark Vail, copyright Miller Freeman, Inc]