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Daphne Oram was educated at Sherborne School for Girls, and then, during the war, she joined the BBC in London as a Music Balancer. There she worked with most of the well known international musicians in the field of chamber music and opera. But, alongside the work, she was intrigued by the possibilities of manipulating magnetic tape sound, and as early as 1948 began to bu Daphne Oram was educated at Sherborne School for Girls, and then, during the war, she joined the BBC in London as a Music Balancer. There she worked with most of the well known international musicians in the field of chamber music and opera. But, alongside the work, she was intrigued by the possibilities of manipulating magnetic tape sound, and as early as 1948 began to build special equipment for experiments. She was the first to compose an electronic sound track for a BBC television play (Amphitryon 38), all the composing being done in the middle of the night (using quickly assembled equipment) in the deserted Broadcasting House studios. When the BBC eventually built an experimental studio, the Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram helped to design it and then directed it. In 1959, she decided to leave the BBC to create her own studio in her converted oasthouse at Wrotham, Kent. Since then, she has become internationally known for her work in films, television, theatre and radio; she has presented successful concerts of electronic compositions at the Mermaid Theatre, London, and at the Edinburgh International Festival. She has lectured widely—at London University, Cambridge University Arts Society, The Institute of Physics, Harrow School, Wellington College, Roedean, and at many other Colleges, Schools and Music Festivals. She has also appeared a number of times on television and in films. For her Oramics research work, at her Kent studio, she received two Gulbenkian Foundation Grants.


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Daphne Oram was educated at Sherborne School for Girls, and then, during the war, she joined the BBC in London as a Music Balancer. There she worked with most of the well known international musicians in the field of chamber music and opera. But, alongside the work, she was intrigued by the possibilities of manipulating magnetic tape sound, and as early as 1948 began to bu Daphne Oram was educated at Sherborne School for Girls, and then, during the war, she joined the BBC in London as a Music Balancer. There she worked with most of the well known international musicians in the field of chamber music and opera. But, alongside the work, she was intrigued by the possibilities of manipulating magnetic tape sound, and as early as 1948 began to build special equipment for experiments. She was the first to compose an electronic sound track for a BBC television play (Amphitryon 38), all the composing being done in the middle of the night (using quickly assembled equipment) in the deserted Broadcasting House studios. When the BBC eventually built an experimental studio, the Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram helped to design it and then directed it. In 1959, she decided to leave the BBC to create her own studio in her converted oasthouse at Wrotham, Kent. Since then, she has become internationally known for her work in films, television, theatre and radio; she has presented successful concerts of electronic compositions at the Mermaid Theatre, London, and at the Edinburgh International Festival. She has lectured widely—at London University, Cambridge University Arts Society, The Institute of Physics, Harrow School, Wellington College, Roedean, and at many other Colleges, Schools and Music Festivals. She has also appeared a number of times on television and in films. For her Oramics research work, at her Kent studio, she received two Gulbenkian Foundation Grants.

30 review for An Individual Note: Of Music, Sound And Electronics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rob Adey

    A philosophy based on a very stretched but intriguing analogy... a primer on synthesised sound and tape splicing... a waveform-based argument on why you shouldn't take drugs... there really is nothing like this book from a supremely original mind. A philosophy based on a very stretched but intriguing analogy... a primer on synthesised sound and tape splicing... a waveform-based argument on why you shouldn't take drugs... there really is nothing like this book from a supremely original mind.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Such incredible incredible musings on music and electronic compositions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mick Bordet

    Certainly an interesting read, but less about Oram's music and more about taking a musical (specifically in electronic music terms) approach to human thought processes, behaviour and interactions. Certainly an interesting read, but less about Oram's music and more about taking a musical (specifically in electronic music terms) approach to human thought processes, behaviour and interactions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    http://www.soundgirls.org/review-of-d... Review of Daphne Oram’s An Individual Note I discovered this book on a trip to Moog in Asheville, NC.  After the incredible tour, I was drooling in their gift shop with a small wallet.  It was this beautifully packaged book with a soft matte white hardcover that caught my attention.  Vaguely waveform-like shapes and a subtitle that paired music with electronics led me to skim the summary.  From there it checked the final box: a book written by an audio pion http://www.soundgirls.org/review-of-d... Review of Daphne Oram’s An Individual Note I discovered this book on a trip to Moog in Asheville, NC.  After the incredible tour, I was drooling in their gift shop with a small wallet.  It was this beautifully packaged book with a soft matte white hardcover that caught my attention.  Vaguely waveform-like shapes and a subtitle that paired music with electronics led me to skim the summary.  From there it checked the final box: a book written by an audio pioneer who just happened to be female. Daphne Oram was an electronic musician and sound designer when these terms were in their infancy.  She co-founded and was the first director of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, famous for the ethereal sounds of the television show Dr. Who and the radio drama Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Through Oram’s vision, BBC Radiophonic Workshop was an incubator for musique concrete, experimental compositions that focus on sound manipulation.  Oram herself left BBC Radiophonic Workshop soon after its creation and pursued electronic sound synthesis in her facility and on her own terms. There is a story behind the edition I acquired, and one can feel the love in its creation.  This publication was commissioned by the Daphne Oram Trust and funded through a Kickstarter campaign.  The manuscript was re-typed, the diagrams were digitally redrawn, and new photographs were added in addition to the originals.  The new outside cover is unique unfinished paper with abstract designs, and while reminiscent of a textbook it is smaller and gives a soothing feeling.  Inside the endpapers are dark green rastered photos. Daphne Oram’s portrait graces the front, and her studio is featured in the back. Each page is a thin cardstock that gives weight to the words printed.  Topic guidelines are added to each chapter heading and reflect the style of writing within. A preface has been added that offers a fitting tribute to Daphne Oram, as well as preparing the reader for the mind from which the main text was created. An Individual Note of Music, Sound and Electronicsis written as a guide to understanding the philosophy of sound and its creation.  Starting from the definition of sound, Oram leads the reader through the path of that note as an individual to overtones, chords, and various ways of creation.  The final result is her Oramics Machine, a synthesizer that uses pictorial waveforms as the control interface. And like her device, An Individual Note combines different academic disciplines to reach the sonic goal. Admittedly when I picked up this text, I had thought it would be filled with formulas and circuit diagrams.  And while there is mention of Fourier and the basics of an oscillator, this is book favors humanities and art.  Even Oram’s writing style is almost more poetry than prose with her use of alliteration, repetition, and metaphors.  Nearly every single chapter had a reference to her coined term “cele” as a counterpoint to “elec” (electricity). These flourishes are interspersed in a stream of consciousness that does not reveal its goal until the last few chapters.  Complex formulas and jargon are set aside in favor of the nuances of emotion and thought experiments. And some of those thoughts stretch too far in the realm of speculative fiction. In comparing resonance to consciousness and manipulation of it as a form of signal processing drugs become white noise.  “You will be using white noise to overwhelm yourself…” Up until the end, I was impatiently waiting for the secrets to proficient analog sound synthesis and methods for tape manipulation. Instead, I found a succession of somewhat restrained nonsequiturs leading towards a creative thought process. One cannot build the illustrious Oramics Machine from this book unless one has a background in Electrical Engineering, but An Individual Note can serve as a preface to experimentation with pre-made synthesizers.  Often she refers to Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, a text which feels anachronistic.  “Wee also have diverse Strange and Artificial Eccho’s…”  And Oram is not afraid to look into the past to find inspiration for the future.  Nothing is off limits to influence the creation of sound. Daphne Oram does not write a how-to book, but a why-to.  This is a text to inspire curiosity and to provoke new perspectives, as Daphne Oram did. And I guess I should co-opt a term from Oram herself and say that this book is a muse.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James D

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  6. 5 out of 5

    gdg

    I really enjoyed this book. While I have only heard a small amount of her music [and I am frustrated to find out that the Oramics 4lp set is sold out :( ] Oram clearly was an expert in the field of electronic music and in this book attempts to use that knowledge in the context of her personal philosophy. While a few ideas may appear overly "classical," often she theorizes about points which are relevant today and which predict musical concepts that have become reality. She 'speaks' in a compelli I really enjoyed this book. While I have only heard a small amount of her music [and I am frustrated to find out that the Oramics 4lp set is sold out :( ] Oram clearly was an expert in the field of electronic music and in this book attempts to use that knowledge in the context of her personal philosophy. While a few ideas may appear overly "classical," often she theorizes about points which are relevant today and which predict musical concepts that have become reality. She 'speaks' in a compelling manner which make 'an individual note' a pleasure to read. So glad I was able to get this out of the library!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    An amazing look into the workings of sound and music on a theoretical, spiritual and practical level, this book delves into more than what is on the surface and what we are taught (though reading from a sheet of paper with squiggles, crosses and lines is a little more difficult that sheet music!)...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Connor Browne

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frank Plowman

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Mouchous

  12. 5 out of 5

    Max

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ben Vance

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lara

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Pesina

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nada El

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nima

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marco

  23. 4 out of 5

    Roland

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike Hillier

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sultan Eylem

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Schuette

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jakub Fiala

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alessandro Carlini

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vangelis

  30. 4 out of 5

    Settimio

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