Britain’s First Technohead


This is too delicious not to share, via The Guardian. Daphne Oram had a cut-glass accent, looked like Margaret Thatcher and laid the way for modern techno music.

She began her career at the BBC as a sound balancer in 1943 and composed instrumental pieces while working in their radiophonic workshop, before setting up on her own in Tower Folly studio in Kent. But it was the creation of Oramics, a technique she developed in 1957 that involved “drawing on 10 strips of 35mm film, which were then read by photo-electronic cells and converted into sound” that is the most remarkable. In effect, this was one of the earlier electronic instruments.

Her dream was to create a machine with which the composer could ‘convert graphic information into sound’. He is currently the subject of a show at the Science Museum. Way to go, Daphne!

3 comments on “Britain’s First Technohead”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Developments like this are always amazing, especially as you wonder how the connection is made between what is and what might be. “She” is currently….”?

  2. Steve says:

    “….dead, no doubt.

  3. Steve says:

    ….and of course I had to go read up on her. She apparently died in 2003. Fascinating story. Predates “Forbidden Planet” by quite a number of years – the movie had the first entirely electronic score.

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