MATRIXSYNTH: Punchcard synths at the Seimens studio in 1967

Monday, September 04, 2023

Punchcard synths at the Seimens studio in 1967

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Click the CC in the player controls on the bottom right for subtitles.

"The electronic music studio of the Siemens company in Munich in 1967, one of the first private electronic music studios in the world. Programming electronic music back then was a complex process that involved punch cards and maths. On the plus side, there were lots of gorgeous dials to turn and Bakelite switches to play with.

The Seimens studio was set up in 1958 and used until 1968. The studio initially created “musique concrète” but later explored purely electronic works, with engineers building equipment specifically for this task. I’ve seen it said that vocoders – which were invented during World War II to encrypt voice messages – were first used in music production at this lab.

The first major work produced here was the soundtrack to a documentary called 'Impulse of our Time' ('Impuls Unserer Zeit') directed by Otto Martini. After this, the studio was rented out to radio stations for compositions and sound effects, and composers were also invited to use the equipment. Karlheinz Stockhausen was one prestigious guest who used the studio, but there were many others. But really, the studio was a showpiece for Siemens and a chance for them to test out new ideas and equipment

The studio was placed in storage and forgotten from around 1968 to 1992, when it was rediscovered. It is now permanently installed at the Deutsche Museum von Meisterwerken der Naturwissenschaft und Technik in Munich.

I took this from a 13 minute video that’s available in full on the YouTube channel freeartslab. I added the subtitles so they are not very accurate, but they give you an idea of what’s going on if you don’t speak German."

1 comment:

  1. Should punch card synthesizers be considered Hollerithmic?


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