History Of Music And Technology, A [Music Extra]

Episodes

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The Future of Music Technology20190622

In this final episode of A History of Music and Technology, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason discovers how rapid digital innovation is shaping the way we make, listen and interact with music.

He reveals how artificial intelligence is taking human input out of musical composition and how virtual reality is reshaping the recording studios of tomorrow.

But in an age where everyone can have access to music-making technology, how do you stand out? And has the internet made it too easy to copy what has come before us, rather than create something which is completely brand-new?

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

CONTRIBUTORS

Professor Ge Wang, Stanford University and author of 'Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime'

Professor Justin Patterson, University of West London and co-creator of Variplay

Imogen Heap, musician and creator of the MiMu glove

Adam Stark, MiMu

Guillaume Devigne, Crypton Future Media

Drew Silverstein, CEO and co-founder of Amper Music

Simon Reynolds, journalist and author of 'Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past'

Hannah Peel, musician and creator of Rebox

Produced by Craig Smith

(Photo: An artistic soundwave Credit: Getty Images)

Pink Floyd\u2019s Nick Mason explores the new innovations shaping the way we make music

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

The Studio: The Beatles and Beyond20190615

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason continues the story of the recording studio, exploring how bands such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys brought avant-garde production techniques into the mainstream during the 1960s.

The programme also charts the role jazz and dub reggae played in advancing studio production, and how increasingly sophisticated studio technology slowed down the recording process.

But the advent of portable tape recorders – and then digital technology - saw the studio begin to shrink in size, while at the same time expanding access to the recording process.

With it came a boom in in alternative music which was previously ignored by the major record labels, and bedroom producers making music on home computers kick-started an explosion in electronic dance music.

Today, digital studio technology has become so sophisticated that it can help even the shakiest of singers deliver the perfect performance.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Contributors

Ken Scott, sound engineer and producer who worked with The Beatles and David Bowie

Prof Simon Zagorski-Thomas, The London College of Music at the University of West London

Brian Kehew, producer and historian, co-author of Recording the Beatles

Dr Sean Williams, The Open University

Arthur Baker, producer and remixer

Chris Lord-Alge, mix engineer

Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo

Prof Susan Rogers, Berklee College of Music and former sound engineer for Prince

Roni Size

Andy Hildebrand, inventor of Autotune

(Photo: The Beatles at the BBC in 1965 Credit: BBC)

Pink Floyd\u2019s Nick Mason continues the story of the recording studio

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

01The Story Of Sound Recording2019042720190428 (WS)

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason tells the story of how we first captured sound, giving birth to a global recording industry.

While music has advanced in its complexity over the millennia, the means of recording it remained the same: it had to be written down.

It took until the back-half of the 19th Century before credible attempts were made to bottle sound for the first time, and in 1877 Thomas Edison produced the Phonograph.

Over the next century, major advances were made in recording formats, recording duration, and sound quality, from the Gramophone record to the cassette tape to the compact disc.

But as this programme reveals, cost and convenience played a major role in this progress, rather than the quality of technology - sometimes the best inventions didn't win out.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

CONTRIBUTORS

Prof Mark Katz, University of North Carolina

Richard Osborne, Middlesex University

Nick Morgan, writer on music history

Sophie Maisonneuve, Université Paris Descartes

Prof Andre Millard, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Sean Williams, The Open University

Greg Milner, author of Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music

(Photo: A gramophone record player. Credit: Getty)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason tells the story of how we first captured sound

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

02Electronic Music Pioneers2019050420190505 (WS)

For centuries music was made by strumming strings, blowing horns and banging drums - but at the turn of the 20th Century, the harnessing of electricity meant artists and inventors could create all-new tones and timbres.

In this programme, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason tells the story of some of electronic music's pioneers - from the eerie sound of the Theremin, to German avant-garde experimentation and the automatic music-making machines of Raymond Scott.

While electronic music might be deemed to be a thoroughly modern genre, we remember its history goes back over a hundred years.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Contributors:

Sean Williams, The Open University

Lydia Kavina, Theremin player

Tom Rhea, electronic music historian

Wally De Backer a.k.a Gotye, musician

Gottfried Michael Koenig, Westdeutscher Rundfunk Electronic Music Studio and The Institute of Sonology

Herb Deutsch, emeritus professor of electronic music and composition at Hofstra University

(Photo: Leon Theremin plays his musical invention, The Theremin. Credit: Getty Images)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason tells the story of some of electronic music's pioneers

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

03The Electric Guitar2019051120190512 (WS)

The electric guitar is the instrument which defined 20th Century pop culture.

In this programme, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason tells the story of the electric guitar, revealing how a frying pan, a railroad track and the paradise island of Hawaii all played a role in its evolution.

In turn, the programme charts how the desire to get louder fundamentally altered the instrument’s sound - and while it has a reputation for turning men into semi-mythical figures, the programme reveals how women are now playing the lead when it comes to the electric guitar today.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Contributors:

Brad Tolinski - Co-author of Play it Loud: A History of the Electric Guitar

Richard Hawley - Musician

Paul Reed Smith - Founder of PRS Guitars

David Hepworth, music historian

Jim Peterik - Guitarist and founder of the band Survivor

Robert Christgau - Essayist and music journalist

Anna Calvi - Singer-songwriter and guitarist

Steve Vai - Guitarist

Phil Wells - Marshall Amps

Lee Harris - Guitarist for Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets

Joey Santiago - Lead guitarist for the Pixies

Producer: Craig Smith

(Photo: A man plays an electric guitar Credit: Getty Images)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason tells the story of the electric guitar

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason tells the story of the electric guitar, revealing how a frying pan, a railroad track and the paradise island of Hawaii all played a role in its evolution.

He charts how the desire to get louder fundamentally altered the instrument’s sound - and while it has a reputation for turning men into semi-mythical figures, the programme reveals how women are now playing the lead when it comes to the electric guitar today.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Contributors:

Brad Tolinski - Coauthor of Play it Loud: A History of the Electric Guitar

Richard Hawley - Musician

Paul Reed Smith - Founder of PRS Guitars

David Hepworth, music historian

Jim Peterik - Guitarist and founder of the band Survivor

Robert Christgau - Essayist and music journalist

Anna Calvi - Singer-songwriter and guitarist

Steve Vai - Guitarist

Phil Wells - Marshall Amps

Lee Harris - Guitarist for Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets

Joey Santiago - Lead guitarist for the Pixies

Producer: Craig Smith

(Photo: A man plays an electric guitar Credit: Getty Images)

04The Hammond Organ2019051820190519 (WS)

The songs we sing-a-long to would never exist without technological innovation – from the instruments played, how they were recorded, and the echoes and effects. There’s then how we choose to listen to our favourite songs – on vinyl, CD or MP3. Technology is at the heart of musical creativity.

In this nine-part series, narrated by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, we explore a history of the instruments and studio innovations which have shaped popular music over the past century.

Among the contributors are artists, producers and engineers such as Ken Scott (The Beatles, David Bowie), Trevor Horn, Susan Rogers (Prince), Sylvia Massey (Tool, System of a Down), Hank Shocklee (Public Enemy), Roni Size, Rick Wakeman, techno pioneer Derrick May, house music pioneer Jesse Saunders, Kurtis Mantronik, Bob Power (Erykah Badu and A Tribe Called Quest), Arthur Baker (Afrika Bambaataa and New Order), Steve Vai, Anna Calvi, Paul Reed Smith (PRS guitars) and Joey Santiago (Pixies).

The series will also speak to inventors such as Peter Vogel – the man behind the Fairlight CMI sampler, which defined the sound of the 1980s. Andy Hildebrand – the man who invented AutoTune and Roger Linn, who designed the LinnDrum drum machine and the AKAI MPC Sampler, which played a major role in shaping electronic music and hip hop.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason charts a history of music and technology.

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason tells the story of Laurens Hammond and the musical legacy of the instrument which bears his name.

The Hammond Organ is arguably the first mass-market electronic instrument and in this episode we head to the heart of the Hammond Organ story: Chicago.

One of the most familiar and versatile instruments to emerge in the 20th Century, the Hammond Organ’s reach ranges from the gospel of African-American churches, to jazz and reggae, to the swirling sound of progressive rock.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Producer: Craig Smith

(Photo: Close-up image of Hammond B3 Organ Keyboard Credit: Alamy)

Nick Mason tells the story of Laurens Hammond and the instrument which bears his name.

05The Synthesizer2019052520190526 (WS)

The first synthesizer was so big, it filled an entire room, but during the 1960s inventors built downsized machines which would go on to revolutionise pop music.

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason charts the work of synth pioneers Bob Moog, Don Buchla and Dave Smith in the story of the most influential electronic instrument of all time.

We learn how the synth came to sing with multiple voices, and how Japanese giants came to dominate the market - but arguably at a cost to creativity.

CONTRIBUTORS

Brian Kehew, producer and music historian

Tom Rhea, electronic music historian

Herb Deutsch, musician and collaborator with Bob Moog

Morton Subotnick

Suzanne Ciani

Peter Zinovieff, EMS and inventors of the VCS3 synthesizer

Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo

Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran

Rick Wakeman

Dave Smith, Sequential Circuits and inventor of the Prophet 5

DJ Jazzy Jeff

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason tells the story of the synthesizer.

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

The first synthesizer was so big, it filled an entire room, but during the 1960s inventors built downsized machines which would go on to revolutionise pop music.

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason charts the work of synth pioneers Bob Moog, Don Buchla and Dave Smith in the story of the most influential electronic instrument of all time.

We learn how the synth came to sing with multiple voices, and how Japanese giants came to dominate the market - but arguably at a cost to creativity.

CONTRIBUTORS

Brian Kehew, producer and music historian

Tom Rhea, electronic music historian

Herb Deutsch, musician and collaborator with Bob Moog

Morton Subotnick

Suzanne Ciani

Peter Zinovieff, EMS and inventors of the VCS3 synthesizer

Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo

Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran

Rick Wakeman

Dave Smith, Sequential Circuits and inventor of the Prophet 5

DJ Jazzy Jeff

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

(Photo: A Moog synthesizer Credit: Getty Images)

06Samplers And Drum Machines2019060120190602 (WS)

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason explores how samplers and drum machines created new musical genres.

During the 1980s, samplers and drum machines fuelled a new wave of music from hip hop to house to techno.

In this programme we hear from the inventors behind this landmark technology and reveal how it first found traction with millionaire rock stars, rather than hip young DJs, due to its huge expense.

We learn how cheaper Japanese products – first deemed a commercial flop - were then re-discovered, re-used and abused by dance floor innovators who created new musical genres which could never have existed without this technology.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

(Photo: Afrika Bambaataa plays The Venue in London in November 1983 Credit: Getty)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason explores how samplers and drum machines created new music genres

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

Contributors:

Peter Vogel, inventor of the Fairlight CMI

Trevor Horn

Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran

Roger Linn, inventor of the LM-1 drum machine

Prof Susan Rogers, Berklee College of Music and sound engineer

Arthur Baker

Kurtis Mantronik

Richard Katz, Roland Instruments

Hank Shocklee, Public Enemy

Jesse Saunders

Derrick May

Roni Size

(Photo: Afrika Bambaataa plays The Venue in London in November 1983 Credit: Getty Images)

07The Studio: From Acoustic To Electric2019060820190609 (WS)

The recording studio has changed dramatically since the advent of sound recording - as has our understanding of the ‘perfect take’.

In the first of two programmes about the history of the studio, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason explores the limitations of the acoustic era, and how the switch to electrical recording ushered in the age of more intimate recording, giving rise to the superstar crooner.

We look at the how, after World War 2, a boom in independent recording studios run by army-trained communications engineers helped to drive the birth of rock n roll, and how technology developed during the war made it possible for musicians to start recording music that was physically impossible to play, using techniques pioneered by a man better known for his guitars – Les Paul.

CONTRIBUTORS

Prof Mark Katz, University of North Carolina

Prof Simon Zagorski-Thomas, The London College of Music at the University of West London

Prof Albin Zak, The State University of New York at Albany

Prof Allison McCracken, DePaul University

Greg Milner, author of Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music

Brian Kehew, producer and music historian

Clem Cattini, The Tornados

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

(Photo: A woman sings in front of an acoustic recording horn Credit: Getty Images)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason begins the story of the recording studio.

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

08The Studio: The Beatles And Beyond2019061520190616 (WS)

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason continues the story of the recording studio, exploring how bands such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys brought avant-garde production techniques into the mainstream during the 1960s.

The programme also charts the role jazz and dub reggae played in advancing studio production, and how increasingly sophisticated studio technology slowed down the recording process.

But the advent of portable tape recorders – and then digital technology - saw the studio begin to shrink in size, while at the same time expanding access to the recording process.

With it came a boom in in alternative music which was previously ignored by the major record labels, and bedroom producers making music on home computers kick-started an explosion in electronic dance music.

Today, digital studio technology has become so sophisticated that it can help even the shakiest of singers deliver the perfect performance.

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Contributors

Ken Scott, sound engineer and producer who worked with The Beatles and David Bowie

Prof Simon Zagorski-Thomas, The London College of Music at the University of West London

Brian Kehew, producer and historian, co-author of Recording the Beatles

Dr Sean Williams, The Open University

Arthur Baker, producer and remixer

Chris Lord-Alge, mix engineer

Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo

Prof Susan Rogers, Berklee College of Music and former sound engineer for Prince

Roni Size

Andy Hildebrand, inventor of Autotune

(Photo: The Beatles at the BBC in 1965 Credit: BBC)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason continues the story of the recording studio

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

09The Future Of Music Technology2019062220190623 (WS)

In this final episode of A History of Music and Technology, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason discovers how rapid digital innovation is shaping the way we make, listen and interact with music.

He reveals how artificial intelligence is taking human input out of musical composition and how virtual reality is reshaping the recording studios of tomorrow.

But in an age where everyone can have access to music-making technology, how do you stand out? And has the internet made it too easy to copy what has come before us, rather than create something which is completely brand-new?

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

Produced by Craig Smith

(Photo: An artistic soundwave Credit: Getty Images)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason explores the new innovations shaping the way we make music

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.

In this final episode of A History of Music and Technology, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason discovers how rapid digital innovation is shaping the way we make, listen and interact with music.

He reveals how artificial intelligence is taking human input out of musical composition and how virtual reality is reshaping the recording studios of tomorrow.

But in an age where everyone can have access to music-making technology, how do you stand out? And has the internet made it too easy to copy what has come before us, rather than create something which is completely brand-new?

The series is produced in association with the Open University.

CONTRIBUTORS

Professor Ge Wang, Stanford University and author of 'Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime'

Professor Justin Patterson, University of West London and co-creator of Variplay

Imogen Heap, musician and creator of the MiMu glove

Adam Stark, MiMu

Guillaume Devigne, Crypton Future Media

Drew Silverstein, CEO and co-founder of Amper Music

Simon Reynolds, journalist and author of 'Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past'

Hannah Peel, musician and creator of Rebox

Produced by Craig Smith

(Photo: An artistic soundwave Credit: Getty Images)

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason explores the new innovations shaping the way we make music

Selected BBC music documentaries drawn from across the world.