Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Studio for electronic music -Google Doodle

It's 66 years since the foundation of "The Studio for Electronic Music".
Google celebrated this milestone with a Google Doodle.
 The doodle is created by Berlin-based illustrator Henning Wagenbreth.

The studio was established in the old WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) building in Cologne on the 18th Oct, 1951. The WDR was a West German Broardcaster. Though closed in 2000, it is now regarded as the first modern Electronic Music Studio.

To put this in context, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was founded in 1958 and the San Francisco Tape Music Center was founded in 1962. The score for the film Forbidden Planet, by Louis and Bebe Barron was composed in 1956. They used custom built electronic circuits and tape recorders.

 By © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15666361

In these early post war days the only organisations that could afford complicated and expensive electronic equipment were national broardcasters like the BBC and WDR or universities like Colombia in the USA. These were often set up for nationistic reasons or to help in production of TV shows like Dr Who (in the case of the BBC). Before the advent of smaller & cheaper modular synthesizers, electronic musicians were heavily reliant on these institutions.

The composers Werner Meyer-Eppler, Robert Beyer, and Herbert Eimert were instrumental the foundation of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) studio. The studio welcomed musicians from all over the world including including Ernst Krenek (Austria/USA), Cornelius Cardew (England) and Nam June Paik (Korea). Karlheinz Stockhausen was one of the studios most famous artistic directors.
.Karlheinz Stockhausen in the Studio for Electronic Music in 1991

The studio was set up around the idea of producing "electronically synthesised sound".
This was in sharp contrast to the "musique concrète" acoustic approach at "Groupe de Recheches Musicales" in Paris.

Heath Ag-10 Sine & Square wave generator.

Bruel & Kjaer - Beat Frequency Oscillator





Eimert was officially succeeded as director of the studio by Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1963.


Other instruments used in the studio included some from the following manufacturers:
ARP, Buchla, EMS, Hamond (organ?), Korg, Moog, Oberheim, Roland, Sequential Circuits and Yamaha.
I have read they they had a Ondes Martenot, an early Thermin, a Trautonium and a Telharmonium, but i can't confirm this. If you have any info regarding this please let me know.



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