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Posted by on apr 26, 2011

Computermuziekpionier Max Mathews overleden

In de jaren dat ik werkte bij het Frank Mohr Instituut in Groningen was het een vanzelfsprekendheid: als je serieus met electronica omsprong was softwarepakket Max/MSP zo ongeveer de enige serieuze optie. Het programma is deel vernoemd naar Max Mathews, één van de pioniers van de computermuziek. Hij overleed vorige week donderdag op 84-jarige leeftijd. Tijdens het symposium Horizons in Computer Music (1997) zei hij over zijn werk:

Computer performance of music was born in 1957 when an IBM 704 in NYC played a 17 second composition on the Music I program which I wrote. The timbres and notes were not inspiring, but the technical breakthrough is still reverberating. Music I led me to Music II through V. A host of others wrote Music 10, Music 360, Music 15, Csound and Cmix. Many exciting pieces are now performed digitally. The IBM 704 and its siblings were strictly studio machines – they were far too slow to synthesize music in real-time. Chowning’sFM algorithms and the advent of fast, inexpensive, digital chips made real-time possible, and equally important, made it affordable.”

“Daisy Bell” was composed by Harry Dacre in 1892. In 1961, the IBM 7094 became the first computer to sing, singing the song Daisy Bell. Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. This performance was the inspiration for a similar scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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