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The Latest Firsts! : NPR for Expedience.
>All Things Considered, March 1, 2002 ·
German composer and physicist Oskar Sala has died at the age of 91.
He developed a device invented in 1929 called the trautonium, which was billed as the first electronic musical instrument.
Many people know its sound from its prominent part in the soundtrack to the Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. <
includes sound file :
* * *
The concept of 'first electronic musical instruments' is as subject to nationalist Chauvinisms as the varieties of the first "inventor of radio". Note NPR's use of "first" together with past subjunctive, in the construction "...which was billed as the first electronic..." Why? NPR is always practicing whatever "consensus building" tricks a modern National Public Broadcaster employs for the color-coded terrorism alarm we enjoy.
[[NPR today had a full 40 minutes of brilliantly "on-point", articulate, businesslike, ånd manly National-Security-prepped "callers" praising the NeoCon's latest proposed rep to the UN... alternating, fairly and in lock step, with the allegedly random and sexually segregated mush-mouths they use to represent the opposition- the "culture of fear", the whiners. Who knew NeoCon idol Bush ever had such a strong unbroken string of "unconventional diplomatic victories"?! Get used to it, I guess.]
Anyway, it may have been somebody's First, but not 'ours'.
[1929 puts the Trautonium maybe 60 years late to be any of the "First electronic musical instruments" in use in the country of Edison and Tesla. Actually, "Trautonium" must be the last e-istrument to be revived...
[http://www.obsolete.com/120_years/ <"120 years of Electronic Music"> ]]
Such a years-out-of-date instrument may explain
an inexplicable warping in the anti-avian sound of the crazed
"Birds" in that film. It wasn't at all just crapped-on, melting celluloid.
* * *
HERE IS A MORE politically redeeming NPR feature
- yet equally offensive for audience-manipulating value
in its appeal to elites... and the primitive appeal of cute robots.
In this case, 'Robbie the Robot', and vintage 'outsider' muses :
"_First LAdy_ of Electronic Music" Bebe Barron and her partner
[no big firsts there either; But, what about gold-plated W. Carlos even? Not a lady I suppose?]
"The couple composed, entirely without screen credit, the 1956
Academy Award nominated score to FORBIDDEN PLANET-
and a number of other important works."
These works include wonderful, highly original music
like the compelling and joyous score to
CBS Radio Workshop's 1956, Huxley-informed reading of BRAVE NEW WORLD,
a 1952 film featuring Anais Nin, "Bells of Atlantis"; and
a year of tape work for John Cage's fascinating 4-minutes-of-a-1950-that-never-was,
the "WILLIAMS MIX" - as well as more unheard original work, rotting in storage.
Apparently Hollywood's union rules do not allow pioneer
electronic composer/engineers to be credited -
or even acknowledged, much less cash in,
until well after they are gone.
Anais Nin reading in film clip; photo gallery; sound file :
>LeOSulllivan <> Berkeley <> USSA
We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood.
But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there. -Dana Gould
>o> >o> >o>
LeOSulllivan <> USSA
It’s time to move in for the kill. -E. Nadelmann, Drug Policy Alliance, 3Feb 2005