Technology as composition tools: Early Music Concrete

After the war, radio stations were limited by the available technology of the day. 

  • Shellac record players: were able to change speed ratios which could give the sound a transposed effect ( octave)
  • Mixing desk: this made possible volume  (gain) control  of sound, where several sources could be mixed together, and then sent onto a recorder and on to the speaker system. These early mixers for radio sometimes had filters or reverberation units
  • Shellac recorder:  was able to  record from the mixing desk 
  • Mechanical reverberation: this was usually made from metal plate or metal springs, and was used primarily to fuse the sounds together
  • Filters: usually Hi and low pass filters, which allowed or eliminated selected sound frequencies
  • Microphones: early microphones such as ribbon type 

This available technology allowed for discoveries in sound manipulation techniques such as: 

  • Sound transposition: which allowed for reading sound at a different  speed to that which it was recorded at
  • Sound looping: which involved creating loops at specific locations of a recording, but needed some technical skill to operate this function
  • Sound sample extraction: letting the stylus on the gramophone only reading a small segment of the recording (sampling)
  • Filtering: by eliminating the central frequencies of the sound signal by using the Hi pass or Low pass filters, some element of the original sound recording could be maintained

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