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In this programme Tristram Cary, a composer who is also Professor of Music at the Royal College, explains the background to the work of a composer of electronic music and the differences between co...mposing electronic music and composing music for conventional instruments. Students and other viewers are put in the same position as his own composer students and the first section of the programme is set in the electronic workshop of theRoyal College of Music The programme goes back to the raw material of sound and shows the basic wave forms produced by synthesizers and some of the ways in which they can be modified or treated to produce the sound which the composer wants. Then, at his own studio at Fressingfield in Norfolk, Tristram Cary shows different techniques for treating raw sounds by using tape loops in conjunction with filtration and manipulation. Finally, at the computer studio of E.M.S., Putney he shows a different and more modern method of treating raw sound by converging it to digital information and changing it while it is in this form. Obviously, in a short programme neither students nor viewers can grasp all the technicalities which Tristram Cary is describing, but the range of a composer's work in this field and the possibilities within his control are described tellingly, in some detail.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A304, The development of instruments and their music
Item code: A304; 13
First transmission date: 21-08-1974
Published: 1974
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:22:28
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Producer: John Selwyn Gilbert
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Digital information; Fressingfield; Norfolk; Tape loops; Wave forms
Subject terms: Royal College of Music (Great Britain); Sound; Synthesizer (Musical instrument)
Footage description: Programme opens with Tristram Cary entering his garden studio at home. He explains that composers who wish to use electronics have to learn the basic language of accoustics. Shots of the entrance to the Royal College of Music. In the studio here, he demonstrates a synthesizer and shows the difference between periodic and random sound, and the use of filters. He goes on to demonstrate the potential of an 'envelope shaper' and voltage control, using the oscilloscope trace and graphics (all diagrams in this programme are reproduced in the broadcast notes). Next he shows how white noise can be modified using these techniques. At his home studio at Flessingfield in Norfolk, Cary works on recordings of machine sounds in connection with a new piece of music commissioned by a business machine manufacturer. By re-recording the sounds several times through filters and synthesizers, using tape loops, he develops a sound that can be fitted in to the final composition. Summing up the outline of basic techniques illustrated so far, he moves on to discussion of computers. Final sequence is at the EMS Studios at Putney. Cary describes the facilities here, similar to the other two studios but much larger, with digital equipment and computer storage. He feeds in the tape loop signal developed at Fleesingfield and briefly indicates how it can be transformed. He comments on the potential power of the computer to realise any sound. Credits over oscilloscope.
Master spool number: 6HT/71384
Production number: 00525_3058
Videofinder number: 2634
Available to public: no