Recording and electricity crack open the world of sound.
We start at the Brussels World’s Fair, Expo ’58 where a number of threads in the story were to converge and thence to radiate.
Then we go back in time to Rabelais who wrote presciently about frozen sounds back in the 16th Century.
We look at a variety of very early technologies and concepts that were to play an important role in the development of electronic music: Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s Phonautograph; Thomas Edison’s phonograph and Emile Berliner’s gramophone; John Cage’s CREDO manifesto; Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori – mechanical noise instruments; Percy Grainger’s and Conlon Nancarrow’s work with player pianos; early electronic instruments the Theremin and Ondes Martenot; the mind-boggling work done by Russian film-makers, laboriously piecing together optical soundtracks; and much more.
These Hopeful Machines - Episode 1
Written and presented by James Gardner, produced by Tim Dodd and James Gardner for Radio New Zealand.
Scroll down for handy links, a bibliography and the playlist for this episode.
Grateful thanks in the production of this programme go to:
Warren Burt, for the Percy Grainger ‘Sea Song’ recording;
Luciano Chessa, for the intonarumori recording;
Patrick Feaster, for the Emile Berliner recording and information on early recordings;
Jonathan Golove, for the Theremin Cello recording;
Clinton Green, for the Jack Ellitt recording;
National Public Radio USA, for the recording of Bob Moog playing the Theremin;
Pathé News, for footage of Maurice Martenot;
Andrey Smirnov, for the Russian “Graphical Sound” examples;
Dave Tompkins, for the Bell Labs vocoder demonstrations.
- Luciano Chessa talks about Luigi Russolo and the Intonarumori
- Luciano Chessa album on Sub Rosa
- Luigi Russolo’s ‘The Art of Noises’
- More on 'The Art of Noises'
- Some Futurist-related material
- British Novachord site
- Another Novachord site
- The Novachord at The New York World’s Fair 1939-40
- Demonstration of the Voder
- Another clip about the Voder
- Maurice Martenot at Pathé
- Trautonium Demonstration from 1941 (in Dutch and German)
- A presentation by Patrick Feaster
- Feaster's own site devoted to early recordings etc.
- Information about Feaster's book ‘Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980–1980’
- Mark Katz on ‘Capturing Sound’
- Ian Helliwell’s short animation about The Atomium
- Ian Helliwell’s page about music from Expo/World fairs
- Virtual Philips Pavilion project
- Andrey Smirnov on Sound in Z
- Evgeny Sholpo's Variophone
- Another clip about the Variophone
- Arseny Avraamov
- Nikolai Voinov
- Theremin plays Theremin
- Albert Glinsky – a brief Theremin History
- Jonathon Golove on the Theremin Cello
- Lydia Kavina, Theremin virtuosa
- Pamelia Kurstin on the Theremin
- John Cage website
- John Cage scores at the New York Public Library including ‘Imaginary Landscape No.1’
Walter Ruttmann's ‘Melodie der Welt
Pictures of Sound: One Thousand Years of Educed Audio: 980–1980
The Recording Angel: Music Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa (2nd ed.)
Yale University Press 2005
Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music (revised ed.)
University of California Press 2010
Luigi Russolo, Futurist: Noise, Visual Arts and the Occult
University of California Press 2012
Sound in Z: Experiments in sound and electronic music in early 20th-century Russia
Walther Koenig 2013
Theremin: Ether music and Espionage
University of Illinois Press 2000
Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (eds)
Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
How to Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop: The Machine Speaks
StopSmiling Books/Melville House Publishing 2011
The Sound Of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled Into the Mainstream