December 31, Birthday of Daphne Oram (1925-2003)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Daphne Oram was taught piano and composition from an early age but turned down a post at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London to take a job with the BBC as a “music balancer.” There she began composing and pushing the envelope of sound recording and synthetic sound to create some of the first works of “electronic music.” Using tape loops, recordings of machines, feedback, tone generation, and manual manipulation, she paved the way for Steve Reich, Kraftwerk, DJ’s, hip-hop, electronic, sampling, and scratching.

She went on to found the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which created soundscapes for many of BBC’s programs such as The Goon Show, Dr. Who, and The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

She left that job in the late 1950s to develop “Oramics” a method of composing music by drawing and scratching on 35-millimeter film, which was read by photoelectric eyes and fed into electronic equipment to produce music.

Below are example of some of her works. One, Still Point composed in the 1940s is scored for for turntables, “double orchestra” and five microphones. According to Wikipedia, “Still Point is held to be the first composition to combine acoustic orchestration with live electronic manipulation.”

Pulse Persephone

Oram Tapes Volume 1 Disc 2

Excerpt from Still Point

About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

One Response to December 31, Birthday of Daphne Oram (1925-2003)

  1. kvennarad says:

    She is an almost unknown genius.

    Liked by 1 person

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