Zoë Blade's notebook

Speak & Spell

Speak & Spell tech specs

The Speak & Spell was a children's educational toy released by Texas Instruments in 1978. It contained a speech synthesiser, making it inadvertently useful to electronic musicians who wanted a then-futurist angle to their vocals. However, be warned that its vocabulary is very limited.[2]

Surprisingly, Kraftwerk seem to have used it on Computer World, but only for its bootup sound, used as the intro for "Home Computer". The distinctive vocals on the title tracks were seemingly provided by a Texas Instruments product with a much bigger lexicon, the Language Translator.

LFO used a Speak & Spell to say their own name in their eponymous track, which just goes to show that if you want to use a spelling aid artistically, it's a smart move to give yourself an alias that happens to be an initialism.

Notable users


  1. "TI Speak & Spell" Datamath Calculator Museum
  2. "Speak & Spell manual" Texas Instruments, 1978, p. 36
  3. "Sweet, Sweet Baby" Erasure, Drama!, 1989
  4. "Brother and Sister" Erasure, Wild!, 1989
  5. "Touch to Remember" Jean-Michel Jarre, Téo & Téa, 2007
  6. "Home Computer" Kraftwerk, Computer World, 1981
  7. "Karl Bartos: Elektric Music & Kraftwerk" Jonathan Miller, Sound On Sound, Mar 1998
  8. "LFO" "LFO (The Leeds Warehouse Mix)" LFO, LFO, 1990
  9. "Interview: How LFO made 'LFO'" 909 Originals, Jul 2020
  10. "Bleepography: 19 — LFO: 'LFO'" Matt Anniss, Aug 2022

Hardware speech synthesisers: Language Translator | Speak & Spell

Texas Instruments: Language Translator | Speak & Spell