The First Computer Music Was Created In A Garden Shed

Zinovieff computer music on Bobby Owsinski's Production BlogBelieve it or not, electronic music started in the 1920s, gained steam in the 40s, took off in the 50s, and has become a part of our everyday lives today. We think nothing of having a computer generate music today, especially as artificial intelligence makes great strides, but the first time that music was created by a computer came in 1966 when Peter Zinovieff connected two DEC PDP-8 computers to a number of tone generators in his garden shed in Putney, England.

This process came to a peak when he tore down his gear then reassembled it all The Watermill Theater for a concert of randomly generated music. The 1968 video below from the BBC shows both the shed and the concert.

Peter went on to create the EMS synthesizer company, who’s VCS-3 was used by Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, and most German electronic music bands of the time. Unfortunately, the VCS-3 never made it to the States, which was just getting its feet wet with ARPs and Moogs at the time.

The video gives some insight into Zinovieff at a time when he was taking electronic music to the next level in its evolution. Too bad the world didn’t know it at the time.

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