Daphne Oram

The beeb is running a piece on the virtually unknown pioneer of electronic music and soundscapes Daphne Oram, who hooked up with BBC radio in the early 1940s and immediately began finding creative ways to hook up tape decks and other equipment to create sounds no one had ever heard before. Her job eventually brought her into contact with modernist / experimental composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage. Later, Oram pushed the envelope of the audio-visual bridge with “Oramics” :

Daphne continued composing and developed a system to convert pictures into sounds. It involved drawing on 10 strips of 35mm film, which were then read by photo-electric cells and converted into sound, and became known as Oramics.

Discussions of early electronic pioneers usually center around people like Robert Moog, Raymond Scott, Clara Rockmore, and the like. Interesting to see how far back this stuff goes.

2 Replies to “Daphne Oram”

  1. Most people leave Raymond Scott out of the picture as well…. If you haven’t already checked it out, the dual-disc “Manhattan Research, Inc.” is a great history of his work.

  2. Ha, how funny – I temporarily forgot Raymond Scott’s name, but just remembered it and came back to update the post, only to find your comment about him…

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