Monday, January 09, 2012

Daphne Oram documentary - Wee Have Also Sound-Houses & Early BBC radiophonics: Private Dreams and Public Nightmares (1957)

Daphne Oram documentary - Wee Have Also Sound-Houses

YouTube Uploaded by straypixel on Jan 6, 2012

"To mark the 50th anniversary in 2008 of the creation of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the programme examines the life and legacy of one of the great pioneers of British electronic music - the Workshop's co-founder Daphne Oram.

As a child in the 1930s, Oram dreamed of a way to turn drawn shapes into sound, and she dedicated her life to realising that goal. Her Oramics machine anticipated the synthesiser by more than a decade, and with it she produced a number of internationally-performed works for the cinema, concert hall and theatre.

Daphne Oram was among the very first composers of electronic music in Britain and her legacy is the dominance of that soundworld in our culture today.

Introduced by Robert Moreby
Produced by Ian Chambers
TX BBC Radio 3, Sun 3 Aug 2008 21:45"


Early BBC radiophonics: Private Dreams and Public Nightmares (1957)

YouTube Uploaded by straypixel on Jan 8, 2012

"An early BBC experiment in radiophonic sound, predating the establishment of the Radiophonic Workshop, created by Frederick Bradnum and Daphne Oram (pictured) and produced by Donald McWhinnie.
TX BBC Third Programme, 07/10/1957.

McWhinnie's spoken introduction (the work starts at 4:20):

"This programme is an experiment. An exploration. It's been put together with enormous enthusiasm and equipment designed for other purposes. The basis of it is an unlimited supply of magnetic tape, recording machine, razor blade, and some thing to stick the bits together with. And a group of technicians who think that nothing is too much trouble - provided that it works.

"You take a sound. Any sound. Record it and then change its nature by a multiplicity of operations. Record it at different speeds. Play it backwards. Add it to itself over and over again. You adjust filters, echos, acoustic qualities. You combine segments of magnetic tape. By these means and many others you can create sounds which no one has ever heard before. Sounds which have indefinable and unique qualities of their own. A vast and subtle symphony can be composed from the noise of a pin dropping. In fact one of the most vibrant and elemental sounding noises in tonight's programme started life as an extremely tinny cowbell.

"It's a sort of modern magic. Many of you may be familiar with it. They've been exploiting it on the continent for years. But strangely enough we've held aloof. Partly from distrust. Is it simply a new toy? Partly through complacency. Ignorance too. We're saying at last that we think there's some thing in it. But we aren't calling it 'musique concrète'. In fact we've decided not to use the word music at all. Some musicians believe that it can become an art form itself. Others are sceptical. That's not our immediate concern. We're interested in its application to radio writing - dramatic or poetic - adding a new dimension. A form that is essentially radio.

'Properly used, radiophonic effects have no relationship with any existing sound. They're free of irrelevent associations. They have an emotional life of their own. And they could be a new and invaluable strand in the texture of radio and theatre and cinema and television.'"

Also see:
Delia Derbyshire - Sculptress of Sound documentary 1 - 7

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