Believe 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.