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the very first computer music

Jack Campin 27 Sep 16 - 04:59 AM
leeneia 28 Sep 16 - 01:23 AM
BobL 28 Sep 16 - 03:44 AM
Jack Campin 28 Sep 16 - 06:00 AM
eftifino 29 Sep 16 - 03:43 AM
GUEST,CJB 29 Sep 16 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Sep 16 - 01:48 PM
Steve Parkes 29 Sep 16 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Sep 16 - 06:57 PM
Stanron 30 Sep 16 - 02:45 AM
Stanron 30 Sep 16 - 06:50 AM
DaveRo 30 Sep 16 - 08:06 AM
ripov 30 Sep 16 - 09:32 AM
Stanron 30 Sep 16 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Sep 16 - 02:49 PM
punkfolkrocker 30 Sep 16 - 05:34 PM
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Subject: the very first computer music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Sep 16 - 04:59 AM

Not exactly folk or blues, but anyway:

Alan Turing's recording from 1951


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: leeneia
Date: 28 Sep 16 - 01:23 AM

Thanks for the link, Jack. I read the article. I had no idea that computer-driven music had been produced so early.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: BobL
Date: 28 Sep 16 - 03:44 AM

Not too difficult, and generally regarded as an engineer's party trick: all that it needed was a few lines of code to generate regular pulses somewhere, and a few more to select the frequency and duration of each note from a list. A speaker had to be hooked up for the purpose - with valves (vacuum tubes) there was enough power to drive a small one without further amplification.

I don't know about the Manchester computers, but some later ones had speakers fitted as standard, connected either to a dedicated output or to a selected part of the circuitry. Programmers and operators got to know the sound of normal operation (typically a hissy, rustling noise) and could tell immediately if a program got stuck in a loop or otherwise misbehaved.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Sep 16 - 06:00 AM

"Lines"? - Turing didn't have an assembler...

I used the binary-through-a-speaker trick as late as the 1980s, with a network of Perq workstations, to check whether network transfers were working right.

The Glasgow SOLIDAC was one of the first musically useful computers:

http://www.findlayw.plus.com/SOLIDAC/

It was made by the optics company Barr and Stroud and we called it the BASTARD. It was still sitting in the hallway of the Glasgow Uni computer science department when I arrived there in 1983 (green metal box the size of a small van). I have a couple of paper tapes of code for it.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: eftifino
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 03:43 AM

IBM Ireland had a 1401 computer when I joined in 1969, with a card reader and a 1403 printer with a spinning print cartridge. When we were having visitors, we often started a print routine with the cards punched certain ways to produce a musical sound as the print hammers hit the paper. One hit I remember was 'Anchors Aweigh"!


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 10:26 AM

In the 1960s I wrote a programme in Fortran 2D on punched cards for making music on the IBM 1620 at Loughborough University. When we graduated in 1971 my parents and some relatives attended the ceremony. After this I was happily showing them around the campus, and also the computer room. I wanted to demo. my computer music programme. But it failed to load. It turned out that my brother - only 11 at the time - had shuffled the cards whilst I was not looking.

As an aside the computer had two printers: a huge IBM line printer, and an old fashioned typewriter. This latter had individual keys and made a right racket. Someone printed out the entire core of a programme in hex. for his degree dissertation. If only he has thought of adjusting the frequency of the keys hitting the paper he might have created a synthetic drum machine (of sorts).


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 01:48 PM

The fourth Yorkshireman is still missing ...


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 04:53 PM

Get in touch with these folks -- they'd love to hear your stories.
The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, UK.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Sep 16 - 06:57 PM

Well Jack...you are well off-base...however, you do invoke discussion and that is good.

If you consider "punch cards" ... but taped together and produced like Jack K's "On the Road" then the "piano player", or the "automatic reed playing organ" from1900, or the Swiss music-box, , all proceed your majestic proclamations for Ms. Turing.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle



Well Done....Keep Trying....you will get it right soon.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: Stanron
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 02:45 AM

The Jacquard loom used sequential punched cards back in 1801, but it couldn't play music or decipher code.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: Stanron
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 06:50 AM

The only computer before Turin's was Babbages. Babbage designed the machine and partly got it built in the 19th century. His lady collaborator, Ada Lovelace,

Byron's daughter

is credited with writing the first program. Turin was aware of their work and attempted to build an electrical equivalent. It was a GPO electrical engineer called Tommy Flowers who actually built, at his own expense, the first working electrical computer. Further research might reveal if he was from Yorkshire.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: DaveRo
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 08:06 AM

Obviously there have been 'programmable' mechanical music-machines for ages - musical boxes, pianos, etc. But these were not 'computers'. I wouldn't be surprised if this Turing machine was the first, or among the first, electronic general-purpose computers, capable of other tasks but programmed to play music. There must have been earlier programmable electronic machines that were designed only for playing music - i.e. not computers. A cross between a music box and a tone generator?

Babbage's Difference Engines were arguably the earliest programmable computers. They must have made a lot of noise. I wonder if Ada Lovelace ever tried making it play a tune? (And could she tell if it started looping?)

Was the Antikithera mechanism a computer? Did some Greek astronomer hear music in the turning of its cogs?


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: ripov
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 09:32 AM

I've often wondered if tunes such as the Whitefriars hornpipe incorporate the rhythm of a machine working. But machines reliant on people power (at 8.50 - but all worth watching) still have their music.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: Stanron
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 12:06 PM

DaveRo wrote: Was the Antikithera mechanism a computer? Did some Greek astronomer hear music in the turning of its cogs?

It was a computer, but wouldn't you say it was an analogue computer?. Do you know of the Bidston tide computer? That was an analogue computer and worked by moving an array of pulleys against a line of cord. Incidentally it was called a Calculator. The operators were called computers.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 02:49 PM

An article, in the same flow, on the use of analytics to mock-up a Beatles song.

http://www.flow-machines.com/ai-makes-pop-music/

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

only last year I finally tossed the final briefcase of programs and data punch cards...the metal bin-drawers for storing the cards made a fine place for tools.


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Subject: RE: the very first computer music
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Sep 16 - 05:34 PM

Ozzy Osbourne's introduction to Alan Turing's famous Nazi code breaking machine...

http://www.history.com/shows/ozzy-and-jacks-world-detour/season-1/episode-6


"Ozzy and Jack's bucket lists collide when father and son head to the UK.
While both want to visit Stonehenge, the mythic structure of Druid lore,
the rest of their itinerary is up for debate, and both Ozzy and Jack each want their way.
Will Ozzy get his hands on Alan Turing's famous Nazi code breaking machine?
Will Jack convince his dad to go to the newly found remains of a Neolithic monument known as "Superhenge"?
And will Ozzy let Jack pursue his dream of getting his dad knighted?


Currently available on demand for Sky subscribers... or free somewhere off the naughty internet for everyone else...


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