Definition and background:
1) In MIDI, a device that generates a MIDI signal to control synthesizers, sound modules or sample playback units. 2) A remote control unit for a multitrack tape machine which controls transport functions as well as monitor selection switching functions and record ready/safe status of each track. 3) Any device generating a control voltage or signal fed to another device's control input.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary