Showing posts with label Siemens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Siemens. Show all posts

Monday, September 04, 2023

Punchcard synths at the Seimens studio in 1967

video upload by

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."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Deutsches Museum - Musical Instruments

You might remember the Deutsches Museum from this previous post on the Siemens Studio for Electronic Music. elgauchoandres decided to take a trip to the museum and while there he took a ton of pics of the instruments along with the video below.

"About the Siemens-Studio much was written and pictured but I want to remark the details of the mixing desk, the recorders, the generators of the Generatorwand (Synthesizer), the vocoder, the Frequenzumsetzer (frecuency shifter), the Nachhallgërat (reverberator)(this was new to me, never seen information about it), the Hohnerola, the MEL-filter, the Sägezahngenerator (sawtooth oscillator), etc."

Pictured: The Towiphon

Deutsches Museum - Electronic Musical Instruments
"A view of the historic electronic musical instruments in the Deutsches Museum"
YouTube via elgauchoandres.

Regarding the Towiphon. I ran a quick search on it and didn't find much, however I did find this book in German on Amazon. The following is the description in Googlish:

"Peter Thomas the unique German film composer, sometimes by his more experimental side. The people of bungalow records had the unique opportunity the Thomas own archive browse. For as much as nearly 3000 more or less short clips they searched 29 from the aie on the 2nd cd assembled. All instrumental office and with the emphasis on electronic sound generators. Peter Thomas is developed together with a technician a synthesizer (Towiphon) according to their own ideas, his abilities here massively apply. For those people more melodic pieces of this promise is rather less suitable. Who insight into early experiments with electronic searches, has a veritable treasure trove ahead. On CD1 is to hear what 17 young musicians today with this source material started. We are all very inspired and often danceable tracks.
Must! For people with open ears"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Electronic Room in The Deutsches Museum and The Siemens Modular

Beyond those glass doors lies the electronic instrument room in the Deutsches Museum. Peter Forrest, author of the excellent A-Z Books, posted a question on the AH list asking if anyone heard of the "Siemens modular synth from around 1970, with a very large number of oscillators, a pin matrix, and an interesting triangular design? This is later than their early (pretty magnificent) synthesiser / vocoder." Apparently The Deutsches Museum has one and it is most likely behind that door with more electronic goodness. I ran a quick search on flickr for The Deutsches Museum and found it. Update: Turns out this is not the synth Peter was referring to. The one he is referring to has a triangular design like a pyramid. If anyone has any more info on this unique synthesizer, please post a comment or contact me. My contact info is on the bottom right of this site.

flickr by jacktastic. full size
"Siemens electronic music lab circa 1960ish. The highlight of any trip to Munich and star of the Deutches museum."

Synthesizer. flickr by thefoggiest. full size

I also found the following:

hofner guitar with Oberheim DX, Casio VLTone and? flickr by thefoggiest. full size

click here for the Musical Instruments page on the official Deutsches Museum website. BTW, if anyone has more info on the Siemens please comment. If you have more images send them my way. My contact info is at the bottom right of the site.

Update: also see this link (in Googlish here).

Update via swissdoc in the comments:
"Whenever you are in the Museum, make sure to visit the HighVoltage Show and the "Bergwerk".

The Siemens Studio is featured on 6 pages in issue 03/07 of the "Synthesizer-Magazin". You can still get a copy here (in German only).

What looks like a modular synth is indeed "just" a bank of oscillators built 1956. It features 1 Tieftongenerator (Dual) which is a Dual-LFO, 19 oscillators (sinus or sinus to square variable, AR Env) and a Noise Generator (takes static noise from an FM receiver). There is a patchpanel to interconnect the oscillators.

There is a CD available with music recorded in that studio:

There is a small booklet available "Siemens-Studio für Elektronische Musik / [Hrsg.: Siemens-Kulturprogramm]" which can be found in German libraries with a little luck.

Some further links on the topic:


Link to the Synthesizer Magazin issues in Googlish

Patch n Tweak
Switched On Make Synthesizer Evolution Vintage Synthesizers Creating Sound Fundlementals of Synthesizer Programming Kraftwerk

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