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Music July, 29 2011

Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic Music

Now open at the Science Museum in London, Oramics to Electronica: Revealing Histories of Electronic Music focuses on the work of Daphne Oram, who helped establish the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and invented the Orgaznomics Machine. Her invention was central to the development of British electronic music.

Electronic music is everywhere, from the television that we watch to the music we listen to in clubs and even the ringtones on our mobile phones. But who created these electronic sounds? And how did electronic music develop?

The Oramics Machine is a revolutionary music synthesiser that was created in the 1960s by Daphne Oram. Daphne had a strong passion for both sound and electronics and the vision to combine the two.

It is too fragile to restore to working order, but you can use our new interactive to recreate the sounds that it made.

In October 2011 more exhibits will be added to this core display that will be co-created by people who are working with electronic music today as well as a group of Daphne’s contemporaries.

They will tell the intriguing story of how electronic sound has advanced, changed and was democratised from the 1950s through to the modern era, and they will look at how people envisioned new sounds and pushed the boundaries of what was possible. They will explore how over the years musicians have invented, altered and improved (often cheap) equipment to be able to produce these dreamt-up electronic sounds. And finally they will show how the production of electronic music has moved from purpose-built laboratories to a music studio the size of a laptop.

The exhibition runs through December 1, 2011 and is the first of several shows that will explore the origins of electronic music fully.

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