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Electronic Music Before 1945

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Electronic musical instruments invented prior to World War II were performance instruments designed to play live in real time. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Electronic Music Before 1945


1
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • Contents
  • Music, Invention, and Culture
  • Earliest Experiments
  • Into the Age of Electronics
  • Early Electronic Music Performance Instruments
  • Other Early Approaches to Electronic Music
  • Early Recording Technology
  • Looking Forward

2
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • The first era of electronic music comprises the
    instruments and music created prior to 1945.
  • In 1863, Hermann von Helmholtz published On the
    Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for
    the Theory of Music, a classic work on acoustics
    and tone generation.
  • The field of electronic music has often been led
    by composers and inventors with a need to invent
    a way to realize their musical visions.

Chapter 1
3
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • Two early electrical music devices, the Reis
    Telephone (1861) and Musical Telegraph (1874),
    were offspring of the new field of
    telecommunications.
  • The first electronic music synthesizer was the
    massive Telharmonium patented by Thaddeus Cahill
    in 1896 and using a dynamo with rotating pitch
    shafts and tone wheels.
  • Composer Feruccio Busoni published Sketch of a
    New Aesthetic of Music in 1907 and anticipated
    the use of electrical machines in the development
    of new music, revealing an important relationship
    between the inventor and the musician.

Chapter 1
4
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo published LArte
    dei rumori (The Art of Noise) in1913, a musical
    manifesto that encouraged the use of noise in
    music. Russolo and Piatti constructed mechanical
    noise-producing instruments for creating Futurist
    music, predating the availability of audio
    recording technologies for the inclusion of noise
    in music by many years.
  • Edgard Varèse was an experimental composer who
    anticipated the development of electronic musical
    instruments. In 1922 he spoke of the need for the
    collaboration of inventors and musicians and
    devoted much effort prior to World War II
    composing for available electronic musical
    instruments and seeking funds for research in the
    field.

Chapter 1
5
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • Electronic musical instruments invented prior to
    World War II were performance instruments
    designed to play live in real time.
  • The first boom in electronic musical instrument
    development began in 1917 with the availability
    of the De Forest vacuum tube. The vacuum tube
    provided miniaturization of electrical circuits,
    amplification, and tone-generating capability.
  • Electro-mechanical instruments used electrical
    means to amplify and modify mechanically produced
    tones. Examples include the tone wheel design of
    the Telharmonium and Hammond Organ and the use of
    magnetic pickups to convert the vibrations of
    piano strings into electrically amplified sounds.

Chapter 1
6
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • Electronic tone generation was accomplished using
    vacuum tubes. The first such instruments used
    beat frequency technology and included
  • Theremin
  • Ondes Martenot.
  • Another generation of instruments used multiple,
    tuned tube oscillators to reproduce tones,
    including
  • CoupleauxGivelet organ (early 1930s)
  • Hammond Novachord (1939).
  • The Trautonium (1928) was a tube oscillator
    instrument that used a pressure-sensitive
    fingerboard instead of piano keys.

Chapter 1
7
Chapter 1 Electronic Music Before 1945
  • The magnetic tape recording was invented in 1928
    but was not widely available outside of Germany
    until 1945.
  • The introduction of high-quality sound recording
    and editing ended the first era of
    live-performance electronic music and began the
    era of composing with recorded sounds.

Chapter 1
8
Reis Telephone (left) and Microphone (right)
Chapter 1
9
Grays Musical Telegraph
Chapter 1
10
Telharmonium in Holyoke, MA, 1906
Chapter 1
11
Telharmonium Patent
Chapter 1
12
Russolo and Piatti with Intonarumori, 1914
Chapter 1
13
Vintage Theremin, 1930 (photo Thom Holmes)
Chapter 1
14
Vintage Ondes Martenot, showing finger-ring
(photo Thom Holmes)
Chapter 1
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