The Mellotron is an electromechanical polyphonic keyboard musical instrument originally developed and built in Birmingham, England in the early 1960s.
The Mellotron follows its direct ancestor the Chamberlin which was, in effect, the world's first sample-playback keyboard. The heart of the instrument is a bank of magnetic audio tapes (these tapes were parallel linear, not looped as has sometimes been reported or presumed), each tape with approximately eight seconds of playing time; playback heads underneath each key enables performers to play the pre-recorded sound assigned to that key when pressed.
The earlier MKI and MKII models contained two side-by-side keyboards: On the right keyboard were 18 selectable "lead/instrument" sounds (such as strings, flutes, and brass instruments). The left keyboard played pre-recorded musical rhythm tracks (in various styles).
The tape banks fo
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