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.