120 Years Of Electronic Music

A really fascinating website has come to my Awareness:

120 Years of Electronic Music* is a project that outlines and analyses the history and development of electronic musical instruments from around 1880 onwards. This project defines ‘Electronic Musical Instrument’ as an instruments that generate sounds from a purely electronic source rather than electro-mechanically or electro-acoustically (However the boundaries of this definition do become blurred with, say, Tone Wheel Generators and tape manipulation of the Musique Concrète era). . . . .

A few photos:

 Organist Charles Tournemire at the Orgue Des Ondes in the glise de Villemomble 1931

Oskar Salas mixturtrautonium
Mager playing the kurbelsphrophon



Comments

  • Missed this the first time around. I'll certainly bookmark it, as I've just had some fun seeing what some of my fellow Canadians have added.
  • edited December 2019
    Not directly related to the topic, but I thought here was a good place to put this:

  • ^^ More interesting stuff from the same source:

    Sounds from the Polish Radio Experimental Studio




  • Jean Laurendeau and the Ondes Martenot
  • Here's an interesting Bandcamp feature:

  • Late version of the Synclavier II
    The Synclavier I & II. Jon Appleton, Sydney Alonso & Cameron Jones. USA, 1977

    Frank Zappa and the Synclavier.

  • Late version of the Synclavier II
    The Synclavier I & II. Jon Appleton, Sydney Alonso & Cameron Jones. USA, 1977

    Frank Zappa and the Synclavier.

    I understand why he did it but there are those of us who wish Zappa hadn't wasted so much of his remaining time with the Synclavier. There are also malcontents amongst us who still snigger when Zappa said that his 88 touring band was the best he ever had. The ciggies were eating his brain by that point I fear.
    .
  • edited August 2020

    Jean Laurendeau and the Ondes Martenot
    And here's a wonderful example of this truely fascinating instrument:
    httpsf4bcbitscomimga3802769926_14jpg

    Christine Ott - Chimères (pour ondes Martenot)

    released May 22, 2020


  • Jean Laurendeau and the Ondes Martenot
    And here's a wonderful example of this truely fascinating instrument:
    httpsf4bcbitscomimga3802769926_14jpg

    Christine Ott - Chimères (pour ondes Martenot)

    released May 22, 2020


    Thanks for this. I love the Ondes Martenot and now I have another new artist to explore - not that I was running short! Nahal Recordings look like a label to explore.

  • edited June 2020
    Doesn’t sound at all like the Grateful Dead.
  • rostasi said:
    Doesn’t sound at all like the Grateful Dead.

    That's true but you can't have everything. I take it you'd be a fan of Seastones?

  • Does Lagin actual perform a Seastones Dark Star on LP somewhere?
  • rostasi said:
    Does Lagin actual perform a Seastones Dark Star on LP somewhere?
    There is a current release on vinyl of Seastones parts IV and V or so I've been told. I have the complete shows where it was played... somewhere. Not sure about a Seastones jam coming out of DS if that's what you mean.
  • I was still up for Darkstar on the Ondes Martenot.
  • Played by Pig or Tom? Tom for me - I mean he could probably do it.
  • Christine, actually.
  • Circular!
  • edited July 2020
    And back to the topic:

    RCA Victor, 1955
    In 1955, RCA unveiled its Electronic Music Synthesizer, and a new era in the history of music began.  

    Developed at RCA's David Sarnoff Research Center (near Princeton, NJ), it was the brainchild of Harry Olson (standing), and Herbert Belar.  Olson was also the designer of a number of RCA's microphones.

    This huge and unwieldy system was controlled by a punched paper roll, similar to a player piano roll.  A keyboard was used to punch the roll (Olson has his finger on it).  Each note had to be individually described by a number of parameters (frequency, volume, envelope, etc.)  The output was fed to disk recording machines, which stored the results on lacquer-coated disks.  One of these can be seen at the left in the above photo.

    Programming this machine must have been a laborious and time consuming process, but it caught the attention of electronic music pioneers such as Milton Babbit.  A more advanced version of this system became the basis of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in 1957, located at Princeton University. . . . 



  • Interesting reading:

  • That's some serious history.  
  • edited November 2020
    - Another fascinating chapter:

    - and the album in question:


    My two cents: Totally brilliant !
  • edited November 2020
    - Here's an interesting new Bandcamp feature that fits nicely into this thread:


  • edited March 8

    Happy International Women's Day 2021:

    To the question of who created electronic music, there can be no one answer. The form’s emergence took decades, beginning with the earliest electronic instruments in the late 19th century, developing toward the first music produced solely from electronic sources in the early 1950s, and arriving at such artistic destinations as Wendy Carlos’ 1968 album Switched-On Bach. Driving this evolutionary process were artists of a variety of nationalities and musical sensibilities, a group including several especially unignorable figures. Take, for instance, Daphne Oram, the composer and co-founder of BBC’s storied Radiophonic Workshop who created the very first piece of electronic music ever commissioned by the network.

    Oram composed that music in 1957, the year before the establishment of the Radiophonic Workshop. She did it to score a BBC production of Jean Giraudoux’s play Amphitryon 38, using an electronic sine wave oscillator, a tape recorder, and a few filters — a synthesizer, in other words, of her own creation.

    Experience had positioned her well to design and compose with such a device and the processes it demanded: she grew up studying the piano, organ, and composition, and as a teenager she’d taken a job as a studio engineer at the BBC, an environment that gave her access to all the latest technologies for creating and recording sound. Despite having rejected Still Point, an acoustic-electronic piece she composed for turntables, five microphones, and a “double orchestra,” the BBC aired Amphitryon 38 with her score full of “sounds unlike any ever heard before.”

    That’s how Oram’s music is described in the 1950s television clip above, a visit to the “country studio in Kent” where, “unlike the traditional composer, she uses no musical instruments and no musicians.” And indeed, “she needs no concert hall or opera house to put on a performance: she can do it on a tape recorder.” As outlandish as Oram’s setup might have looked to BBC viewers at home back then, the narrator informs them that “already, electronic music is being used in films, television, and the theater,” and that some people even think her collages of unnatural sounds will be “the music of the future.” Vindicating that notion is the odd familiarity every electronic musician today will feel when they watch Oram at work among the devices of her studio, surrounded as they themselves happily are by those devices’ technological descendants.

  • edited March 10

    Daphne Oram's 1960's Optical Synthesizer Oramics Machine

    oramics-5jpg_widejpgt1337608907s4
Sign In or Register to comment.