Synthetic Music (Mar, 1963)

Synthetic music is being produced in a German film studio by reversing a familiar process. When artists sing and orchestras play before a microphone, their music is recorded as a wavy black line on the sound track. What would happen if an artist were to draw shapes, imprint them on sound film, and play it back? Technician Oscar Fischinger got startling results. Concentric circles drawn in a strip imitated an electric bell, eye-like spots reproduced a bassoon, and a pattern of clots sounded like a xylophone. Variations in sizes and shapes produced changes in pitch, loudness, and timbre.

  1. Kosher Ham says: February 27, 201211:49 am

    Interesting technique for early electronic tone generation.

  2. Jari says: February 27, 20122:06 pm

    Not only that. He also did visual music and other things. http://www.centerforvis…

    They kind of reminds me of Amiga demos in 80’s.

  3. Hirudinea says: February 27, 20126:20 pm

    I always tought that sound on film was underused during its time, I mean its a hell of a lot easier to edit than a transcription disc, or even a wire recording.

  4. woofer says: February 27, 20128:45 pm

    Everest records, back in the 60s, used to record their stuff on 35 mm sound tracks. It was considered pretty high-tech for the time but eventually magnetic recording with timing signals surpassed it for studio use.

  5. Hirudinea says: February 27, 20129:53 pm

    @ woofer – But that was in the 60s, 35mm soundtrack technology has been around since the 30’s, seems so obvious, but I guess it wasn’t then.

  6. Links – February 27, 2012 | zota says: February 28, 201212:27 am

    […] Synthetic Music […]

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