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10 minutes ago, Steve Edwards said:

When I played A Question of Balance, the sound was less than stellar; thin, grainy, not very engaging.

Just looked this stuff up:

The Moody Blues were pioneers in using an instrument called the Mellotron, which played actual tapes of various sounds physically attached to a piano-style keyboard. It could simulate massed strings and horns. On "Days of Future Passed," certain interludes, and the last part of "Nights in White Satin," were recorded with and by the London Festival Orchestra, and they sound...I guess you'd say "orchestral." On the other numbers band used the Mellotron, and you can definitely hear that it lacks the fullness of cellos, basses, violas, etc. 


On "In Search of the Lost Chord," 


 ...the Moody Blues played all instruments themselves (approximately 33) on In Search of the Lost Chord. Indian instruments such as the sitar (played by guitarist Justin Hayward), the tambura (played by Mike Pinder) and the tabla (played by drummer and percussionist Graeme Edge) made audio appearances on several tracks (notably "Departure,"  "Visions of Paradise" and "Om"). Other instruments unusual for this group were also used, notably the oboe (played by percussionist/flute player Ray Thomas) and the cello (played by bassist John Lodge, who tuned it as a bass guitar). The mellotron, played by Pinder, produced many string and horn embellishments.

The Mellotron is apparently used ironically today by some groups; the length of the notes it could sustain was determined by the length of the pieces of tape drawn through recording heads, so it had a lot of limitations that have been overtaken by electronic music today. King Crimson, everybody's iconic progressive rock favorite, used it to excellent effect on a number of records.

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