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1957: Computer Music.

Computer Music.

  When did it first occur to someone to play music on a computer? Forty years ago, and that someone was Max Mathews of AT&T. In the 1950's, weird music enjoyed a renaissance through the electronic experiments of John Cage, musique concrète, and the self-destructing circuitry of Bebe and Louis Barron (used in the sci-fi film, Forbidden Planet). Mathews was investigating speech synthesis when he realized that it would be much easier for a computer to make music than the human voice. He wrote a program -- Music I -- and the computer synthesizer was born. It was primitive, and it sounded terrible, but it was the first digital music. Decca records released a single of his work, "Music From Mathematics."

  Real-time music synthesis arrived in the late 1970s. By then Mathews had invented the electronic violin and the sequential electronic drum.

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