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Mellotron

The Mellotron was an early electromechanical keyboard musical instrument which had a magnetic tape player under each key, enabling it to play the pre-recorded sound assigned to that key when that key was pressed.

Mellotrons were normally pre-loaded with string instrument and orchestral sounds, although they could be loaded with banks of sound effects, or synthesizer-generated sounds, to generate polyphonic electronically generated sounds in the days before polyphonic synthesizers.

The Mellotron is perhaps most famous for its use on The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever, and was also used by The Zombies, the Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones and others during the psychedelic era. It was also widely used to provide backing keyboard harmonies for many of the progressive rock albums of the 1970s, before being rendered obsolete by digital sampler keyboards, and polyphonic synthesizers.

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