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Computer music in the 60’s

Student at TAU for a B.Sc in Computer Science. Working as a Software Engineer at CEVA inc.
  • Joined May 2022
  • Published Books 1

Intro

The technology of modeling, processing, handling and producing music sound stamps through the computing machine was already introduced during the 50’s (a few experiments were made even earlier but wasn’t published as scientists saw no practical use in their foundings). since this course is in Popular music and not computer science, I will only cover the usage of this technology by musicians, which begun at the late 60’s and will ignore the scientific and engineering perspective.

 

At the 60′,  producing music while using computed sound stamps considered pioneering, today, we can find it in almost every modern genre.

 

Auto-tuners, synthesizers, mixing and mastering softwares, whole music genres that are based on electronic sounds only such as Techno, House, Trans, Dance and many more are all evidences for the enormous influence of computer technology on the music field.

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Electronic rock

Electronic rock is a music genre that involves a combination of rock music and electronic music, featuring instruments typically found within both genres. It originates from the late 1960s, when rock bands began incorporating electronic instrumentation into their music.

Artists that their work through the 60’s will be discussed in this ebook: Gershon Kingsley, Beaver And Kruse, and Silver Apples.

 

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Silver Apples

  • American rock band from New York City.

  • Originally operated from 1967 to 1970

  • reformed in mid 90’s.

  • Composed of the Duo Danny Taylor, the drummer, and Simeon Oliver which performed live with a primitive synthesizer of his own devising.

  • The duo were among the first to employ electronic music techniques outside of the academia, applying them to 1960s rock and pop styles.

  • were very experimental and considered as avant-garde.

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Computer music in the 60’s by Ofek Sela - Ourboox.com

considered to be the first EDM (Electronic Dance Music) song in history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1xOZyBc2Ck

 

 

folk styled song with some touches of synthesized sounds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szXX2G30-NI&list=PLOJWuc3CN300dlYiGE4LB3gDRASr0uiqy&index=9

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Computer music in the 60’s by Ofek Sela - Ourboox.com

Robert Moog  (1934 -2005)

American engineering physicist and pioneer of electronic music. He was the founder of Moog Music and the inventor of the first commercial synthesizer, the Moog synthesizer, which debuted in 1964. This was followed in 1970 by a more portable model, the Minimoog, described as the most famous and influential synthesizer in history.

Moog created fundamental synthesizer concepts such as voltage control, modularity, envelope generation and the pitch wheel. He is credited for helping bring synthesizers to a wider audience and influencing the development of popular music.

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Computer music in the 60’s by Ofek Sela - Ourboox.com

Gershon Kingsley(1922 – 2019)

 

  • A German-American composer

  • Pioneer of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer

  • Partner in the electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley

  • Founder of the First Moog Quartet

  • Writer of rock-inspired compositions for Jewish religious ceremonies.

  • Most famous for his 1969 influential electronic instrumental composition “Popcorn”

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As his father was Jewish, he fled Nazi Germany in 1938 to settle in Palestine-Land of Israel where the 15-year-old, self-taught musician began his career in music. He escaped Germany a few days before Kristallnacht and joined kibbutz Ein Harod, while his parents stayed behind at that time. At the kibbutz he taught himself to play the piano. He joined the Hagana Jewish Settlement Police (Notrim) and also played jazz in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. He studied at the Jerusalem conservatory of music. His parents and brother had escaped to Cuba, from where, eventually, they succeeded in obtaining visas for the United States, where Kingsley met up with them eight years later. After World War II, Kingsley emigrated to America where he became a pit conductor for Broadway musical shows after graduating from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.

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Computer music in the 60’s by Ofek Sela - Ourboox.com

Popcorn 1969

a single from “A Music To Moog by”

Perhaps the earliest song to be composed entirely with the synthesizer.

considered as a cult track, dozens of covers were made, few of the most famous among these covers to mention: Hot butter’s (1972) and The Crazy Frog’s (2005).

original song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSRCemf2JHc

the butter’s cover

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS3_SgILyy8

The Crazy Frog Cover

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwI1j7sslYI

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Computer music in the 60’s by Ofek Sela - Ourboox.com

Music to moog by (1969)

Instrumental, partially synth composed LP made by Kingsley while using the Moog modular synthesizer.

melodic, catchy and artistically accessible

considered a Master piece:

“as synth player, this album is what the original Black Sabbath album is to metalheads, what the Sugar Hill Gang is to rappers, what Van Halen is to guitarists”  – random YouTube comment in relate to this LP XD

at (5:03) : electronic cover to Betthoven.

at (17:25) : “Sunset Sound”

the full LP:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWbR4kweaFk

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Beaver and Krause

Beaver & Krause were an American musical duo comprising Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause. Their 1967 album The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music was a pioneering work in the electronic music genre.

The pair were Robert Moog’s sales representatives on the U.S. West Coast and their instrumentals took major role on popularizing the Moog synthesizer during the late 1960s.

later on as recording artists for Warner Bros. Records in the early 1970s, they released a few critically admired albums.

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Computer music in the 60’s by Ofek Sela - Ourboox.com

ground breaking album made by Beaver and Krause.

most of it composed of random synthesized sounds and in practice, as its name, really was used as a guide for electronic music artists later on.

for the simple listener it will almost sound like alien communication.

many parts from it were used in horror movies.

Moreover, there’s many modern electro Sub genres that we can find this album’s fingerprint on, two of them to mention:

  • Dubstep
  • Psy-Techno

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqhFvITV7kM

 

 

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Conclusion and afterwords

In Our days it’s almost trivial to use computing machines and electronic produced sound stamps in music productions. Processes which brought us to this point were mainly occur during the 70’s and 80’s but the first pioneers in this field, started their work during late 60’s as presented in this Ebook.

We should all be thankful to those who developed these producing methodologies and tools from scratch, bringing us to a point when it’s hard to imagine producing a popular song without electronic sounds. Artist and engineers alike, I dedicate my Essay to them.

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