Social top


Harald Bode’s Notebooks

Harald Bode continuously kept notebooks, which begin in 1931 and end in 1986. The content ranges from new instrument design concepts, to test circuit diagrams, to-do lists, philosophical reflections and exercises in what one might term free writing. Generally the design and technical content is written beginning at one end of the notebook, while the prose, free writing texts begin at the opposite end in the reverse orientation… the notebook flips at that page where the two text styles meet. The notebooks are written in German.

As a joint project of the Harald Bode Archive and The Institute for Electronic arts (IEA) the entire collection of Harald Bode notebooks has been digitally scanned at an archival resolution.

The following offers twenty-six sample spreads from seven of the notebooks and is but a very brief sampling. The year indicated is the year in which the notebook was begun.


This page includes logo and housing design concept for a BOSMI radio. During this period Bode & Smieiowski appear to have had attempted a business project, BOSMI is a combination of the two names. This notebook predates Bode’s start in electronic instrument design.

All images in this article © Harald Bode Archive.
All images in this article © Harald Bode Archive. [Click image to enlarge]


This notebook includes the years 1937 through 1939, broadly the design era for the Warbo Formant Organ and the Melodium. The instruments in the drawings are concepts for potential prototype designs. Harald Bode throughout his career sketched out instrument concepts and new configurations, which did not always go into production phase.

1937-21 1937-22
[1937-21] [1937-22] [Click images to enlarge]
1937-37 1937-43
[1937-37] [1937-43] [Click images to enlarge]
1937-55 1937-58
[1937-55] [1937-58] [Click images to enlarge]


For the instrument he was working on in 1946, the speaker circuitry was developed in the summer. On the bottom left of the image on the right, Harald wrote a short “shopping list” of things he needed to pick up for the instrument at Miller’s, the local electronics store: 1) black [?]; 2) 2 long bolts and nuts; and 3) 2 spanners.

1946-03 1946-09
[1946-03] [1946-09] [Click images to enlarge]


Late design era for the Melochord and design era for the Polychord. Includes sketches for the Polychord faceplate.

1949-02 1949-08
[1949-02] [1949-08] [Click images to enlarge]
1949-11 1949-14
[1949-11] [1949-14] [Click images to enlarge]
1949-22 1949-23
[1949-22] [1949-23] [Click images to enlarge]


Harald Bode moved to the US in 1954 to work as Vice President and Director of Research and Development for the Estey Organ Co. (Brattleboro VT). These pages include drawings for Organ manuals and schematics for a chorus generator. Also referenced in the text is early evidence of elements which were included in the 1960 Sound Synthesizer. Specifically under the title for an electronic music instrument for extra special effects, Bode lists a ring modulator and potential for variable rhythm and formants.

1954-06 1954-08
[1954-06] [1954-08] [Click images to enlarge]
[1954-10] [Click image to enlarge]


In early 1960, Harald Bode built his Sound Synthesizer instrument. This 1961 notebook has proposed improvements for the instrument, including a sixteen-module configuration, a compact desktop model and an expanded console version, which included a rack each for active and passive modules, record deck with reverb, loudspeaker / reference monitor and mixer in its configuration. In addition, a Vocoder Orgel (organ) is listed in the text.

1961-05 1961-06
[1961-05] [1961-06] [Click images to enlarge]
1961-12 1961-17
[1961-12] [1961-17] [Click images to enlarge]


This notebook shows the many projects Bode was working on during this busy period, including the anti-feedback frequency shifter — Bode Feedback Stabilizer model 741 XR, Frequency Shifter models 735 and 750 (with program and carrier in) —, artwork for pc boards for a Bode Moog project, a professional version ring modulator and a prototype 735 Frequency Shifter for Professor Jacob Druckman at Yale. He was also was working on possible names for a concept 3-D Phaser (Stereo Phaser).

1976-07 1976-22
[1976-07] [1976-22] [Click images to enlarge]
1976-27 1976-30
[1976-27] [1976-30] [Click images to enlarge]

Social bottom