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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Valdemar Poulson (1869-1942) patented his "Telegraphone," the first magnetic recording
Thaddeus Cahill invented the Dynamophone, a machine that produced music by an
alternating current running dynamos. This was the first additive synthesis device. The
Dynamophone was also known as the Telharmonium. The instrument weighed over 200
tons and was designed to transmit sound over telephone wires; however, the wires were
too delicate for all the signals. You can sort of consider him the 'Father of Muzak.' The
generators produced pure tones of various frequencies and intensity; volume control
supplied dynamics. Articles appeared in McClure's Magazine that stated "democracy in
music...the musician uses keys and stops to build up voices of flute or clarinet, as the
artist uses his brushes for mixing color to obtain a certain may revolutionize our
musical art..."

Leon Theremin, Russia, invented the Aetherophone (later called the Theremin or
Thereminovox). The instrument used 2 vacuum tube oscillators to produce beat notes.
Musical sounds were created by "heterodyning" from oscillators which varied pitch. A
circuit was altered by changing the distance between 2 elements. The instrument had a
radio antenna to control dynamics and a rod sticking out the side that controlled pitch.
The performer would move his/her hand along the rod to change pitch, while
simultaneously moving his/her other hand in proximity to the antenna. Many composers
used this instrument including Varese.
Darius Milhaud (b. 1892) experimented with vocal transformation by phonograph speed
Jorg Mager built an electronic instrument, the Spharophon. The instrument was first
presented at the Donaueschingen Festival (Rimsky-Korsakov composed some
experimental works for this instrument). Mager later developed a Partiturophon and a
Kaleidophon, both used in theatrical productions. All of these instruments were destroyed
in W.W.II.

Maurice Martenot (b. 1928, France) built the Ondes Martenot (first called the Ondes
Musicales). The instrument used the same basic idea as the Theremin, but instead of a
radio antenna, it utilized a moveable electrode was used to produce capacitance variants.
Performers wore a ring that passed over the keyboard. The instrument used subtractive
synthesis. Composers such as Honegger, Messiaen, Milhaud, Dutilleux, and Varese all
composed for the instrument.
Laurens Hammond (b. 1895, USA), built instruments such as the Hammond Organ,
Novachord, Solovox, and reverb devices in the United States. The Hammond Organ used
91 rotary electromagnetic disk generators driven by a synchronous motor with associated
gears and tone wheels. It used additive synthesis.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Allegemeine Elektrizitats Gesellschaft (AEG), built and demonstrated the first
Magnetophon (tape recorder).
Plastic audio tape was developed.
The Ondioline was built. The Ondioline, a monophonic vacuum tube instrument,
consisted of a single oscillator and a small eight octave touch sensitive keyboard
(switchable through six octaves and tuneable via an octave transposer). It was possible to
create complex waveforms via a series of filters and the sound wave could be shaped
with the use of a touch wire, effecting the attack with a vertical finger movement or
adding glissando or modulation by horizontal movement. The overall volume of the
machine was controlled by a knee lever.
Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross patented a machine that "freed" music from the
constraints of conventional tuning systems and rhythmic inadequacies of human
performers. Mechanical invention for composing "Free Music" used eight oscillators and
synchronizing equipment in conjunction with photo-sensitive graph paper with the
intention that the projected notation could be converted into sound.
Bell Labs developed and produced the solid state transistor.
The Solovox and the Clavioline were created. The Clavioline was a monophonic,
portable, battery powered keyboard instrument designed by M. Constant. Martin in 1947
at Versailles, France. The Clavioline consisted of two units: the keyboard with the actual
sound producing unit with controls and a box with amplifier and speaker. By using an
octave transposer switch the single oscillator could be set within a range of five octaves
(six in the Bode version). The keyboard unit had 18 switches (22 in the Selmer version)
for controlling timbre ( via a high pass filter and a low pass filter ), octave range and
attack plus two controls for vibrato speed and intensity, the overall volume was
controlled by a knee lever.
The Solovox was designed by Alan Young of the Hammond Organ Co and manufactured
in the United States between 1940 and 1948.The Hammond Solovox was a monophonic
keyboard attachment instrument intended to accompany the piano with organ type lead
voices. The 3 octave short keyed keyboard was stored on a sliding mounting under the
piano keyboard with a knee operated volume control. On the front of the instrument
below the keyboard there were a series of large thumb operated buttons for oscillator
range (switchable +/- 3 octaves: 'soprano', 'contralto', 'tenor' , 'bass'), vibrato, attack time,
'deep tone', 'full tone', '1st voice', 2nd voice', 'brilliant' and a switch for selecting
woodwind, string sound or mute. The Solovox was able to create a range of string,
woodwind and organ type sounds and was widely used in light music of its time.
Pierre Schaeffer (b. 1910), a sound technician working at Radio-diffusion-Television
Francaise (RTF) in Paris, produced several short studies in what he called Musique
concrete. October, 1948, Schaeffer's early studies were broadcast in a "concert of noises."

Pierre Schaeffer and engineer Jacques Poullin worked on experiments in sound which
they titled "Musique concrete." 1949-50 Schaeffer and Henry (1927-96), along with

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Poullin composed Symphonie pour un homme seul (Symphony for a Man Alone); the
work actually premiered March 18, 1950.
Olivier Messiaen composed his Mode de valeurs et d'intensities (Mode of Durations and
Intensities), a piano composition that "established 'scales' not only of pitch but also of
duration, loudness, and attack."
The Melochord was invented by H. Bode- The melochord is a monophonic keyboard
instrument based on vacuum tube technology in 1947 . The keyboard used pitches
derived from the traditional equal-tempered 12 note scale with switches extending the 37
note range from three octaves to seven. A foot pedal allowed overall control of the
volume and a novel electronically operated envelope shaper could be triggered for each
key. A later version incorporated two keyboards the second keyboard being able to
control the timbre of the other, a technique used in later modular type synthesizers.
The following instruments were built:
The Electronium Pi (The Electronium was designed by René Seybold and manufactured
by the German company Hohner GmbH in Trossingen, Germany, from 1950 onwards.
The Electronium was a monophonic electronic instrument resembling an accordion. The
Electronium had a 41 note keyboard with keys or buttons and 16 'registration tabs', the
overall volume being controlled by the 'bellows' of the instrument.)
The Multimonica: The Multimonika was a commercial hybrid electronic/acoustic
instrument manufactured by the German company, Hohner GmbH and designed by the
German instrument designer Harald Bode . The Multimonica was a two keyboard
combination of a wind-blown reed harmonium instrument, controlled by a 41 note lower
keyboard, and an electronic monophonic sawtoooth generator contolled by the upper
The Polychord organ, the Tuttivox, the Marshall organ, and other small electric organs.
Eimert and Beyer (b. 1901) produced the first compositions using electronically-
generated pitches. The pieces used a mechanized device that produced melodies based on
Markov analysis of Stephen Foster tunes.
The Cologne station of Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (later Westdeutscher Rundfunk)
was founded by Herbert Eimert. He was soon joined by Stockhausen, and they set out to
create what they called Elektronische Musik.
John Cage's 4'33" was composed. The composer was trying to liberate the performer and
the composer from having to make any conscious decisions, therefore, the only sounds in
this piece are those produce by the audience.

Robert Beyer, Werner Meyer-Eppler (b. 1913) and Eimert began experimenting with
electronically-generated sounds. Eimert and Meyer-Eppler taught at Darmstadt Summer
School (Germany), and gave presentations in Paris as well.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music

Louis and Bebe Baron set up a private studio in New York, and provided soundtracks
for sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet (1956) and Atlantis that used electronic sound

Otto Luening (b. 1900, USA; d. 1996, USA) and Vladimir Ussachevsky (b. 1911,
Manchuria; d. 1990, USA) present first concert at the Museum of Modern Art in New
York, October 28. The program included Ussachevsky's Sonic Contours (created from
piano recordings), and Luening's Fantasy in Space (using flute recordings). Following the
concert, they were asked to be on the Today Show with Dave Garroway. Musicians Local
802 raised a fuss because Luening and Ussachevsky were not members of the musicians'
Karlheinz Stockhausen (b. 1928) used Helmholtz' research as the basis of his Studie I and
Studie II. He tried to build increasingly complex synthesized sounds from simple pure
frequencies (sine waves).
The Cologne Radio Series "Music of Our Time" (October 19) used only electronically-
generated sounds by Stockhausen, Eimert, Pousseur, etc. The pieces used strict serial

Dripsody was composed by Hugh LeCaine. The single sound source for this concrete
piece is a drip of water.
Harry Olson and Belar, both working for RCA, invent the Electronic Music Synthesizer,
aka the Olson-Belar Sound Synthesizer. This synth used sawtooth waves that were
filtered for other types of timbres. The user programmed the synthesizer with a
typewriter-like keyboard that punched commands into a 40-channel paper tape using
binary code.
Lejaren Hiller (1924-92) and Leonard Isaacson, from the University of Illinois composed
the Illiac String Quartet, the first piece of computer-generated music. The piece was so
named because it used a Univac computer and was composed at the University of Illinois.
Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Gesang der Junglinge. This work used both concrete
recordings of boys' voices and synthesized sounds. The original version was composed
for five loudspeakers, but was eventually reduced to four. The text from the Benedicite
(O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord), which appears in Daniel as the canticle
sung by the three young Jews consigned to the fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar.
Martin Klein and Douglas Bolitho used a Datatron computer called Push-Button Bertha
to compose music. This computer was used to compose popular tunes; the tunes were
derived from random numerical data that was sieved, or mapped, into a preset tonal
David Seville created the Chipmunks, by playing recordings of human voices at double
speed. Electronic manipulation was never really used again in rock for about ten years.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music

Edgard Varese (1883-1965) composed Poeme Electronique for the World's Fair,
Brussels. The work was composed for the Philips Pavilion, a building designed by the
famous architect, Le Corbusier who was assisted by Iannis Xenakis (who later became
well-known as a composer rather than an architect). The work was performed on ca. 425
loudspeakers, and was accompanied by projected images. This was truly one of the first
large-scale multimedia productions.
Iannis Xenakis (b.1922) composed Concret PH. This work was also composed for the
Brussels World's Fair. It made use of a single sound source: amplified burning charcoal.
Luciano Berio composed Thema-omaggio a Joyce. The sound source is woman reading
from Joyce's Ulysses.

Stockhausen composed Kontakte (Contacts) for four-channel tape. There was a
second version for piano, percussion and tape.
Mauricio Kagel, an Argentinian composer, composed Transicion II, the first piece to call
for live tape recorder as part of performance. The work was realized in Cologne. Two
musicians perform on a piano, one in the traditional manner, the other playing on the
strings and wood. Two other performers use tape recorders so that the work can unites its
present of live sounds with its future of pre-recorded materials from later on and its past
of recordings made earlier in the performance.
Max Mathews, at Bell Labs, began experimenting with computer programs to create
sound material. Mathews and Joan Miller also at Bell Labs, write MUSIC4, the first
wide-spread computer sound synthesis program. Versions I through III were
experimental versions written in assemble language. Music IV and Music V were written
in FORTRAN. MUSIC4 did not allow reentrant instruments (same instrument becoming
active again when it is already active), MUSIC5 added this. MUSIC4 required as many
different instruments as the thickest chord, while MUSIC5 allowed a score to refer to an
instrument as a template, which could then be called upon as many times as was
The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center was formally established. The group
had applied through the Rockefeller Foundation, and suggested the creation of a
University Council for Electronic Music. They asked for technical assistants, electronic
equipment, space and materials available to other composers free of charge. A grant of
$175,000 over five years was made to Columbia and Princeton Universities. In January,
1959, under the direction of Luening and Ussachevsky of Columbia, and Milton Babbitt
and Roger Sessions of Princeton, the Center was formally established.
The RCA Mark II synthesizer was built at Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center
(the original version was built for the artificial creation of human speech). The Mark II
contained oscillators and noise generators. The operator had to give the synthesizer
instructions on a punched paper roll to control pitch, volume, duration and timbre. The
synth used a conventional equal-tempered twelve-note scale.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Composers of more traditional orchestral music began to rebel. Many composers tried to
get quasi-electronic sounds out of traditional instruments. Bruno Bartelozzi, wrote new
book on extended instrumental techniques.
Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, and Ramon Sender established the San Francisco
Tape Music Center.
John Cage composed Cartridge Music, an indeterminate score for several performers
applying gramophone cartridges and contact mics to various objects.
The first electronic music concerts at the Columbia-Princeton Studio were held; the
music was received with much hostility from other faculty members.

Fortran-based Music IV was used in the generation of Bicycle Built for Two
Robert Moog met Herbert Deutsch, and together they created a voltage-controlled
Luciano Berio composed Visage. This radio composition is based on the idea of non-
verbal communication. There are many word-like passages, but only one word is spoken
during the entire composition (actually heard twice), parole (Italian for 'word'). Cathy
Berberian, the composer's wife, was the performer.
Bell Labs mass produces transistors, professional amplifiers and suppliers.
PLF 2 was developed by James Tenney. This computer program was used to write Four
Stochastic Studies, Ergodos and others.
Iannis Xenakis composed Bohor for eight tracks of sound.
Milton Babbitt composed Ensembles for Synthesizer (1962-64) at the Columbia-
Princeton Studio.
At the University of Illinois, Kenneth Gaburo composed Antiphony III, for chorus and
Lejaren Hiller and Robert Baker composed the Computer Cantata.
Babbitt composed Philomel at the Columbia-Princeton Studio. The story is about
Philomel, a woman without a tongue, who is transformed into a nightingale (based on a
story by Ovid).
Mario Davidovsky composed Synchronism I for flute and tape. Davidovsky has since
written many "synchronism" pieces. These works are all written for live instrument(s)
and tape. They explore the synchronizing of events between the live and tape.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
The fully developed Moog was released. The modular idea came from the miniaturization
of electronics.
Gottfried Michael Koenig used PR-1 (Project 1), a computer program that was written in
Fortran and implemented on an IBM 7090 computer. The purpose of the program was to
provide data to calculate structure in musical composition; written to perform algorithmic
serial operations on incoming data. The second version of PR-1 completed, 1965.
Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Mikrophonie I, a piece that required six musicians to
generate. Two performers play a large tam-tam, while two others move microphones
around the instrument to pick up different timbres, and the final two performers are
controlling electronic processing.
Ilhan Mimaroglu, a Turkish-American composer, wrote Bowery Bum. This is a concrete
composition, and used rubber band as single source. It was based on a painting by
Karlheinz Stockhausen composed Solo. The composition used a tape recorder with
moveable heads to redefine variations in delay between recording and playback, live
manipulation during performance.
The Moog Quartet offered world-wide concerts of (mainly) parlor music.
Walter Carlos (later Wendy) composed Switched on Bach using a Moog synthesizer.
Iannis Xenakis wrote Musiques Formelles (Formalized Music). The first discussion of
granular synthesis and the clouds and grains of sound is presented in this book.
Leon Kirschner composed String Quartet No. 3, the first piece with electronics to win the
Pulitzer Prize.
Kenneth Gaburo composed Antiphony IV, a work for trombone, piccolo, choir and tape.

Morton Subotnick composed Silver Apples of the Moon (title from Yeats), the first
work commissioned specifically for the recorded medium.
The Grateful Dead released Anthem of the Sun and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of
Invention released Uncle Meat. Both albums made extensive use of electronic
Lejaren Hiller and John Cage composed HPSCHD.
Terry Riley composed Rainbow in Curved Air
late 1960s
The Sal-Mar Construction was built. The instrument was named for composer Salvatore
Martirano and designed by him. The Sal-Mar Construction weighed over fifteen hundred
pounds and consisted of "analog circuits controlled by internal digital circuits controlled
by the composer/performer via a touch-control keyboard with 291 touch-sensitive keys."

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Godfrey Winham and Hubert Howe adapted MUSIC IV for the IBM 7094 as MUSIC4B
was written in assembly language; MUSIC4BF (a Fortran-language adaptation of
MUSIC4B, one version was written by Winham, another was written by Howe).
Music V variants include MUSIC360 and MUSIC11 for the IBM360 and the PDP11
computers, these were written by Barry Vercoe, Roger Hale, and Carl Howe at MIT,
GROOVE was developed by Mathews and F. Richard Moore at Bell Labs, and was used
to control analog synthesizers.
Charles Wuorinen composed "Times Encomium," the first Pulitzer Prize winner for
entirely electronic composition.
Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon was released; it used ensembles of
synthesizers, also used concrete tracks as interludes between tunes.
SAWDUST, a language by Herbert Brun, used functions including: ELEMENT, LINK,
The Mellotron was built. The instrument was an early sample player that used tape loops.
There were versions that played string sounds or flute sounds, and the instrument was
used in movie soundtracks and on recordings.
Composer Philip Glass collaborated with librettist Robert Wilson on Einstein on the
Beach. This was a large-scale multimedia 'opera' in the minimalist style.
Systems Concepts Digital Synthesizer (SCDS), built by Peter Samson for CCRMA,
signal generating and processing elements all executing in parallel, and capable of
running in real time. There are 256 digital oscillators, 128 signal modifiers (filters,
reverb, amplitude scalers), a scratch-pad memory for communicating values between
processing elements, and a large memory for reverberation and table storage.
Larry Austin composed Canadian Coastlines, a composition that used a land map of
Canada in order to determine textural, rhythmic, and melodic content.
Music V variants: newer developments include Cmusic (by F.R. Moore), so named
because it is written entirely in C programming language.
HMSL, Hierarchical Music Specification Language was released. The basic organization
of HMSL is a series of data structures called "morphs" (named for the flexible or
morphological design of the software). Within the superstructure of these morphs there
exist other data substructures named shapes, collections, structures, structures,
productions, jobs, players, and actions. These secondary types of morphs are used to
control aspects of higher level scheduling and routines.
Interactor, by Morton Subotnick and Mark Coniglio, was designed specifically for live
performance and score-following capabilities.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Another Music V variant was release--CSound, by Barry Vercoe of MIT.
Jam Factory written by programmer David Zicarelli. He was trying to create a program
that would listen to MIDI input and 'improvise' immediately at some level of proficiency,
while allowing (Zicarelli) to improve its ability.
Joel Chadabe, Offenhartz, Widoff, and Zicarelli began work on an algorithmic program
that could be used as an improvisation environment. The performer could be seated at the
computer and shape data in real time by "a set of scroll bars that changed the parameters
of this algorithm, such as the size of the jump from one note to another, the lowest and
highest note, etc." The original version was to be named "Maestro," then "RMan"
(Random Manager), and finally, "M."
The Max program was written in the C language and was developed at IRCAM by Miller
Puckette. It was later scheduled for distribution by Intelligent Music (the company that
also distributed M and Jam Factory), but it was the Opcode company that eventually
released it. Miller Puckette's original intention was to build a language that could control
IRCAM's 4X synthesizer, and there was no need for the graphical implementation. The
graphics were added after a version of Max for Macintosh computer using MIDI was
proposed. Since 1989, David Zicarelli has updated and expanded the program for the
Macintosh environment.
Dolby SR introduced
R-DAT spec announced
Apple introduced MacII
First consumer DAT decks available
Steve Reich composed Different Trains for string quartet and tape.
Digidesign introduces Sound Tools
Sony introduces writeable CD
Sony develops MiniDisc
Alesis ADAT introduced
Sony announces multimedia CD-ROM
DVD introduced
first MiniDisc multitracks introduced
DVD-Audio standard develops

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Listening Guide
1. Clara Rockmore playing the Theremin (1920) in Tchaikovsky's Valse Sentimentale
2. Oliver Messiaen's Oraison for Ondes Martenot (1937).
3. Etude aux Chemins de Fer- Pierre Schaeffer (1937).
4. Klangstudie II by Hebert Eimert (1952)
5. Low Speed by Otto Lueing (1952)
6. Dripsody by Hugh Le Caine (1955)
7. Main title from Forbidden Planet by Louis and Bebe Barron (1956)
8. Poem Électronic by Edgard Verèse (1958)
9. Kontakte by Karlhein Stockhausen (1959-60)
10. Bicycle Built for Two by Max Mathews (1961)
11. Silver Apples of the Moon by Morton Subotnick (1967)
12. He Destroyed Her Image by Charles Dodge (1972)
13. Appalachian Grove I by Laurie Spiegel (1974)
14. On the Other Ocean by David Behrman (1977)
15. Six Fantasies on a Poem by Thomas Champion: Her Song by Paul Lansky (1978)
16. Unfamiliar Wind by Brian Eno (1982)

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Taken from the web site:
120 Years Of Electronic Music Introduction
This site charts the development of electronic musical instruments from 1870 to 1990. For the purposes
of this project electronic musical instruments are defined as instruments that synthesise sounds from an
electronic source. This definition leaves out a whole section of hybrid electronic instruments developed
at the end of the last century that used electronics to manipulate or amplify sounds and tape recorders/
Musique Concrete, it has been decided to leave in some non electronic instruments such as the Futurists
"Intonarumori" due to their importance in the history of modern music.
The main focus of the site is on instruments developed from the beginning of the century until the
1960's. The more modern and current Synthesiser companies have been included for the sake of
'historical completeness' but are already well documented elsewhere on the internet, a comprehensive set
of links are provided. To browse the site it is recommended that you leave open both windows as the
main menus page will take time to redraw, clicking on the links on the main menu will open a page in
the same window.
'120 Years Of Electronic Music' is an ongoing project and the site will be updated on a regular basis
(currently v3.0 feb 1998). Most of the sections have been updated in this revision and a links page and
bibliography have been added.
'120 Years Of Electronic Music' A Condensed History
The Helmoltz Resonator

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
The origins of electronic music can be traced back to the audio analytical work of Hermann Ludwig
Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894) the German physicist, mathematician and author of the seminal
work "SENSATIONS OF TONE: Psychological Basis for Theory of Music" (c1860). Helmholtz built an
electronically controlled instrument to analyse combinations of tones the "Helmholtz Resonator", using
electromagnetically vibrating metal tines and glass or metal resonating spheres the machine could be
used for analysing the constituent tones that create complex natural sounds. Helmholtz was concerned
solely with the scientific analysis of sound and had no interest in direct musical applications, the
theoretical musical ideas were provided by Ferruccio Busoni, the Italian composer and pianists who's
influential essay "Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music" was inspired by accounts of Thaddeus Cahill's
1870-1915: Early Experiments
The first electronic instruments built from 1870 to 1915 used a variety of techniques to generate sound:
the tone wheel (used in the Telharmonium and the Chorelcello)- a rotating metal disk in a magnetic field
causing variations in an electrical signal, an electronic spark causing direct fluctuations in the air (used
uniquely in William Duddell's "Singing Arc' in 1899) and Elisha Grey's self vibrating electromagnetic
circuit in the 'Electronic Telegraph', a spin-off from telephone technology. The tone wheel was to
survive until the 1950's in the Hammond Organ but the experiments with self oscillating circuits and
electric arcs were discontinued with the development of vacuum tube technology.
1915-1960: The Vacuum Tube Era.
The engineer and prolific US inventor Lee De Forest patented the first Vacuum tube or triode in 1906, a
refinement of John A. Fleming's electronic valve. The Vacuum tube's main use was in radio technology
but De Forest discovered that it was possible to produce audible sounds from the tubes by a process
known as heterodyning. twentieth century by radio engineers experimenting with radio vacuum tubes.
Heterodyning effect is created by two high radio frequency sound waves of similar but varying
frequency combining and creating a lower audible frequency, equal to the difference between the two
radio frequencies (approximately 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz). De Forest was one amongst several engineers to
realise the musical potential of the heterodyning effect and in 1915 created a musical instrument, the
"Audion Piano" . Other instruments to first exploit the vacuum tube were the 'Theremin' (1917) 'Ondes
Martenot' (1928), the 'Sphäraphon' (1921) the 'Pianorad' (1926). The Vacuum tube was to remain the
primary type of audio synthesis until the invention of the integrated circuit in the1960's.
1960-1980: Integrated Circuits.
Integrated Circuits came into widespread use in the early 1960's. Inspired by the writings of the German
instrument designer Harald Bode, Robert Moog, Donald Buchla and others created a new generation of
easy to use, reliable and popular electronic instruments.
1980-present: Digital.
The next and current generation of electronic instruments were the digital synthesisers of the 1980s.
These synthesisers were software controlled offering complex control over various forms of synthesis
previously only available on extremely expensive studio synthesisers. Early models of this generation
included the Yamaha DX range and the Casio CZ synthesisers.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
120 Years of Electronic Music
Electronic Musical Instrument 1870 - 1990
1 8 7 0
The Musical Telegraph
Elisha Grey
The Singing Arc
William Duddel
United Kingdom 1899
The Telharmonium
Thaddeus Cahill
1 9 0 0
The Choralcello
Melvin Severy
The "Intonarumori"
Luigi Russolo
The Audion Piano
Lee De Forest
The Optophonic Piano
Vladimir Rossiné
Soviet Union
The Theremin
Leon Termen
Soviet Union
1 9 2 0
The Sphäraphon
Jörg Mager
The Staccatone
Hugo Gernsbak
The Pianorad
Hugo Gernsbak
The Dynaphone
René Bertrand
The Celluphone
Pierre Toulon & Krugg
The Clavier à Lampes
A.Givelet & E.Coupleaux France
The Ondes-Martenot
Maurice Martenot
Piano Radio-Électrique
A.Givelet & E.Coupleaux France
The Givelet
A.Givelet & E.Coupleaux France
The Sonorous Cross
Nikolay Obukhov
The Hellertion
B.Helberger & P.Lertes
1 9 3 0
The Trautonium
Dr Freidrich Trautwein
The Ondium Péchadre
H. Péchadre
The Rhythmicon
Henry Cowell & Leon
The Theremin Cello
Leon Termen
The Westinghouse Organ
The Sonar
Soviet Union
Wolja Saraga

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
The "Ekvodin"
Andrei Volodin &
Soviet Union
The Trillion Tone Organ
A. Lesti & F. Sammis.
The Variophone
Yevgeny Sholpo
Soviet Union
The Emiriton
A.Ivanov & A.Rimsky-
Soviet Union
The Emicon
The Rangertone Organ
Richard H.Ranger
L'Orgue des Ondes
Armand Givelet
Syntronic Organ
I.Eremeef & L.Stokowski
The Polytone Organ
A. Lesti & F. Sammis
The Hammond Organ
Laurens Hammond
The Electrochord
The sonothèque
L. Lavalée
The Heliophon
Bruno Hellberger
The Grösstonorgel
Oskar Vierling
The Welte Licht-Ton-Orgel E.Welte
The Singing Keyboard
F. Sammis
The Warbo Formant organ Harald Bode & C. Warnke Germany
The Kaleidophon
Jörg Mager
The Novachord
L Hammond &
1 9 4 0
The Voder & Vocoder
Homer Dudley
The Univox
Univox Co.
The Multimonica
Harald Bode
The Pianophon
The Ondioline
Georges Jenny
The Solovox
Hammond Organs
The Electronic Sackbut
Hugh Le Caine
The Tuttivox
Harald Bode
Hanert Electric Orchestra
J. Hanert
The Minshall Organ
The Clavioline
M. Constant Martin
The Melochord
Harald Bode
The Monochord
Dr Freidrich Trautwein
The Free Music Machine
Percy Grainger & Burnett
1 9 5 0
The Electronium Pi
René Seybold
The Polychord Organ
Harald Bode

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Dr Kent's Electronic Music
Dr Earle Kent
The Clavivox
Raymond Scott
The RCA Synthesiser I & II Harry Olsen & Hebert
The Composertron
Osmond Kendall
MUSIC I-V Software
Max Mathews
Daphne Oram
United Kingdom 1959
The Siemens Synthesiser
H.Klein & W.Schaaf
The Side Man
1 9 6 0
Milan Electronic Music
director: Luciano Berio
Moog Synthesisers
Robert Moog
The Mellotron &
Leslie Bradley
United Kingdom 1963
Buchla Synthesisers
Donald Buchla
The Donca-Matic DA-20
Keio Corp
The Synket
Paul Ketoff
United Kingdom 1963
Tonus/ARP Synthesisers
Philip Dodds
PAiA Electronics, Inc
John Paia Simonton
MUSYS Software
David Cockrell & Peter
United Kingdom 1968
EMS Synthesisers
Peter Zinovieff & David
United Kingdom 1969
1 9 7 0
Max Mathews
The Optigan
Mattel Inc.
The Electronium-Scott
Raymond Scott
Con Brio Synthesisers
Roland Synthesisers
Roland Corporation
Maplin Synthesisers
Trevor G Marshall
The Synclavier
New England Digital
Korg Synthesisers
EVI wind instrument
Nyle Steiner
EDP Wasp
Chris Hugget
Yamaha Synthesisers
Yamaha Corp
PPG Synthesisers
Wolfgang Palm
Oberheim Synthesisers
Thomas Oberheim
Serge Synthesisers
The Fairlight CMI
Peter Vogel & Kim Ryrie

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
1 9 8 0
Simmons Drum
Casio Synthesisers
Casio Ltd
The McLeyvier
David McLey
Kawai Synthesiser
Kawai Musical Instrument
The Emulator
Emu Systems
Oxford Synthesiser
Chris Hugget
United Kingdom 1983
Akai Musical Instruments
Akai Corporation
Ensoniq Synthesisers &
Steinberg Software
GEM Synthesisers
Crumar Synthesisers
Raymond Kurzweill
Sequential Circuits
Alesis Corporation
Keith Barr
1 9 9 0

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Musique Concrète
In 1948 Paris, history was made. Pierre Schaeffer, a French radio broadcaster, working for the
Radiodiffusion-Television Francaise (RTF), created the first electronic music studio. With a multitude
of microphones, phonographs, variable speed tape recorders, and sound effect records he created a new
art form, musique concrete, and with it a world of new music opened up -- the world of electronic music.
Schaeffer chose to name his new art musique concrete to differentiate it from normal music, musique
Music concrete was recorded directly to tape with real (concrete) sounds, while musique abstraite was
the traditional way of composing by writing down the score to be played later.
Music Concrete was based on manipulation of tape. (Although the first research involved phonograph
records, eventually tape technology became more available, and with it the possibilities of splicing and
pasting parts together versus a non-re-recordable fixed format). It also concentrated on 'found sounds' or
natural recordings rather than electronically produced sounds such as synthesizers.
Pieces that would last only a few minutes could take months of recording, cutting and splicing to create.
Here are some of the tape techniques used.
Cutting the tape at different angles was used to create different attacks and decays.
Attack and Delay Cuts
A. soft attack or decay
B. combined attack and decay of two sounds
C. medium attack or decay
D. hard attack or abrupt finish
E. softer and less abrupt than D
Not only did musique concrete composers use the cuts shown above, but they would go so far as to take
a long horizontal cut , cut it into smaller calculated sizes, and splice the cuts together vertically or at
different angles!

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Tape Loops
Creating a loop consisted of taking tape with recorded material and splicing the ends of the tape to make
a loop.
Short loop
Long loop
Straight line delay: The simplest echo effect can be created by using a 2 channel recorder. The signal is
recorded, monitored by the playback head, and sent back to the lower track of the record head. At 15
ips, the delay is around 100 milliseconds.
Feedback delay: Created by feeding the signal back into the record head of the channel originally
recorded on. It may involve multiple channels and create a number of repetitions.
Obviously changing the speed of playback will affect the pitch. Lower pitch if slower, higher if sped up.
Using 2 decks, pitch changes can be recorded to tape. Early flanging effects were created by lightly
touching the reel as the track is being bounced to another track.
Reversing the reels of recorded material and playing the tape backwards can be used to create reverse
reverbs, attacks, etc. Recording the reversed track to another tape deck is the easiest way, although
bouncing the reversed track to an empty track on a multi track can be done.
Early Tape Decks
Schaeffer created the phonogene. With it he was able to transpose a loop in 12 distinct steps from using
a keyboard (this led to the mellotron keyboard). The keyboard selected one of 12 capstans of different
diameters, like changing gears on a bike. A 2 speed motor allowed for octave transposition.
Used in the Paris studio. It was a specialized loop deck. It had an erase head, record head, and ten
playback heads with an adjustable filter for each to create special timbre effects.
The lengths the fathers of electronic music went to create a new sound is amazing. The excitement of
pushing through new frontiers of sound must have been exhilarating. We take the technologies available

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
today for granted...and perhaps in the far future, the technologies of today will be looked back on with
the same amazement.
The Cologne Studio:
Birth Place of Elektronische Musik
The Cologne studio was built from a collaboration of several individuals. Each individual had different
skills and backgrounds which contributed to the shaping of electronic music principles that grew from
In 1948, Dr. Werner Meyer-Eppler, a mathematician, physicist, and director of Phonetics at Bonn
University, was visited by Homer Dudley, a researcher at Bell Labs. Dudley had brought a brand new
invention called a vocoder (Voice Operated reCOrDER) which analyzed and synthesized speech. Meyer
- Eppler was impressed. He made reference to it in an account on the history of electronic instruments
(Elektrische Klangerzeugung). He demoed a tape of vocoder sounds at a lecture on electronic sound
production at North-West German Music Academy. In the audience was Robert Beyer from West-
German Radio.
Beyer, an inventor and author, was interested in the use of electronic in music production. He and
Meyer-Eppler joined forces and gave a lecture on ' The Sound World of Electronic Music' at Darmstadt.
Beyer concentrated on design and manufacturing of electronic equipment, and Meyer-Eppler
concentrated on research in speech synthesis. They were joined by composer Herbert Eimert. Eimert
was a devotee of 12 tone music, and saw the potential of electronic sound in creating pure 12 tone
compositions, un -encumbered by the acoustic limitations of available instruments.
In 1950, Harold Bode brought a Melochord, a monophonic wave form generator with a keyboard, for
them to check out. They used it to produce music by layering tracks of tones. In 1951 they presented
their results at Darmstadt in a lecture entitled, 'The possibilities of Electronic Sound Production', Beyer
wrote a paper on 'Music and Technology', and Eimert discussed 'Music on the borderline'. Schaeffer
attended the summer program that year and the tension between Music Concrete and Electronic Music
came to a boil.
1951. A radio station in Cologne broadcast an evening program called 'the Sound World of Electronic
Music'. The show featured a forum between Eimert, Beyer, and Meyer- Eppler. The director of the
station, Fritz Enkel, was impressed and agreed to establish a studio to research electronic music. The
studio took two years to become fully operational. Eimert was named as the artistic director.
During the interim that the studio was being constructed, Meyer-Eppler gave a lecture on '"The Methods
of Electronic Tone Generation' to around 2000 technologists in Bonn. The gospel of electronic music
was spreading.
In 1952, composer Bruno Maderna produced 'Musica sue due Dimensioni', which featured flute,
percussion, and taped tones projected through a loud speaker, which was presented at Darmstadt. In the
audience was Stockhausen as well as other future electronic music composers such as Klebe, Koenig,
Hambraeus, Goeyvaerts, and others. Stockhausen was also studying with Messian at this time.

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Electronic and Computer Music History of Electronic Music
Ironically, the Maderna piece was not pure electronic as it also featured natural flute and percussive
instruments, revealing a softening in the hard-line principles of pure electronic music.
Beyer and Eimert composed the first all-electronic works while the studio was still in construction.
Klang im unbegrenzten Raum (1951-1952), Klangstudie 1 (1952), and Klangstudie II (1952-1953).
They were ironically premiered in Paris.
The studio became partially functional and other composers began to compose. At this time
Stockhausen became associated with the studio. In 1953 he was appointed to assistant director under
Eimert. In 1963 he became the sole director until 1978. When he became director, the studio was
reconstructed to include two production rooms. One for sound and tone generation, and the other for
recording and playback. Music Concrete and Electronic Music began to merge as in Eimert's Selecktion
(1959) in which spoken text was included (although it was manipulated beyond recognition, it still
involved found sound).
"The first step to real musical control of nature has been taken by electronic music. Its dependence for
reproduction on the loudspeaker - which moreover has brought about an as-yet-scarcely-noticed
subterranean revolution in hearing- at last permits risking the hypothesis that the symphony fixed on
disk or tape may be the surrogate and electronic music the true music . Here, we may surmise, is the
point at which the true order of music is revealed."
Tape Loops
The tape loop is a loop spliced end to its beginning. The tape must be kept in the proper relationship to
the heads and cutoff sensor without benefit of the take-up or supply reels.
Tape Echo
Tape echo is developed by the distance between the record and play heads on a tape deck. The tape
must take some time to travel this distance. Therefore, if you are listening to the tape as you are
recording you hear the recorded sound a little later than the original.
Multiple echoes are achieved by using a mixer to combine some of the playback signal with whatever is
being recorded. This is a feedback situation and care must be taken to see that echoes diminuendo as
they come around rather than build up.
The most interesting applications of tape delay involve processing the feedback signal. This is simple to
add, merely patch from output to input by way of some processing device. Now whatever that device
does will be doubled for each echo, often with startling results. I leave the various possibilities to your