Speaking to artists, producers, engineers and inventors, the series shines a light on innovations such as the synthesizer, the electric guitar, the Hammond organ, samplers and drum machines, the recording studio, as well as the work of electronic music pioneers. To find out more, visit the BBC programme page.
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A history of music and technology
Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason explores the impact of technology on music throughout the years.
19th May 2019 at 8:06PM
Technology has changed the way we play music, how we listen to music, and music itself, and the series also explores where technology might take music in the future.
- The story of electronic recording
- Electronic music pioneers
- The Electric Guitar
The Hammond Organ
Laurens Hammond didn’t know how to play a musical instrument, and according to some accounts was tone deaf – and yet this avid inventor had an unparalleled influence on popular music.
When first unveiled, the unearthly tones of the Hammond Organ spooked audiences, but it went on to underscore a plethora of hits across a range of musical genres, from gospel to reggae to progressive rock.
Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason spins the tone wheels, pulls the drawbars and turns up the volume to tell the story of the world’s most-famous electric organ.
- The Synthesizer
- The Studio Part 1
- The Studio Part 2
- Samplers and Drum Machines
- The Future
Alexander Kolassa looks at how we hear music and discusses the categories which musical instruments belong to.Read now ❯How do musical instruments produce sound?
Dr Robert Samuels explores looping in music and demonstrates how technology can make musical use of the sound of a dog eating a carrot.Read now ❯Musicians, loops and the longest piece ever
On our music degree, you'll learn how music is created, study a wide range of styles, and unlock your own creativity. This degree will broaden and deepen your understanding of musical practices, encompassing western art music, jazz, popular music, and non-western musics. You'll develop the technical skills to analyse music in different styles, and the critical skills to discuss music in relation to its cultural contexts. You'll also acquire critical and reflective skills to develop your own musical practice. Add to that some expert guidance in the use of technology to create and record music, and you'll not just gain a degree but a passionate pursuit.Learn more ❯BA (Honours) Music
The degree starts by developing your understanding of the world we live in through a variety of perspectives, periods and subjects – including art history, classical studies, creative writing, English language, English literature, history, modern languages, music, philosophy and religious studies.Learn more ❯BA (Honours) Arts and Humanities (Music)
This diploma will broaden and deepen your understanding of music through study of a wide range of genres (including western art music, jazz, popular music, and non-western musics). You will develop the technical skills to analyse and create music in different styles, and examine the technologies that are used to produce, manipulate and transmit music.Learn more ❯Diploma of Higher Education in Music
This module explores the nature of musical sound and the ways that technology can be used by musicians working in the creative industries. You'll be introduced to the skills needed for making recordings, and the module resources include software packages for analysing and editing recorded sound. You'll study how the physics of sound underlie musical experiences, and investigate the acoustic properties of different instruments. The module aims to deepen your understanding of the nature of sound and to equip you better as a musician, whatever your background and musical interests.Learn more ❯Music, sound and technology
This broadly-focused module introduces you to university-level study in the arts across a range of subject areas - art history, classical studies, English, history, philosophy, music and religious studies. It is structured around four themes, in order to guide you through some of the basic concerns of arts subjects: Reputations; Tradition and Dissent; Cultural Encounters; and Place and Leisure. Your studies will range from poetry to string quartets, and from sculpture to short stories ? across a wide variety of cultures and historical periods. This key introductory OU level 1 module is also a useful means of acquiring the key skills required for further study of arts and humanities subjects.Learn more ❯The arts past and present
This module is an introduction to the creative principles of music. You'll begin by examining the fundamental elements of Western music and comparing them with those of other musical cultures (such as India). You'll develop a detailed understanding of western rhythm, melody, harmony, polyphony, instrumentation, structure and form. You'll learn how to use these elements in song composition and ? by the end of the module ? will have written a complete song with piano accompaniment, using the Sibelius music notation software widely employed in the creative industries.Learn more ❯Inside music
Our free courses
Whether you're a professional musician, play music with your friends on the weekends or just like to listen to CDs, music technology affects your life. In this free course, Sound for music technology: An introduction, you will learn some of the basics of music technology, starting with what sound is, how it is created and how it travels.Learn more ❯Sound for music technology: An introduction
This free course, Recording music and sound, provides an historical introduction to music and sound recording in the creative industries and offers some guidance about making your own recordings. Many of the processes that have been developed and the issues that have been raised in the first 150 years of recording are still relevant today, and a solid grounding in them will help you understand the wide range of recording techniques currently in use.Learn more ❯Recording music and sound
Since the invention of the phonograph in 1877, the recording and playback of sound has been a key element of life in the western world. This free course, Revolutions in sound recording, traces the technology and characters of the sound recording industry as it advances from Edison's original phonograph to the formats we know today.Learn more ❯Revolutions in sound recording
Dr Sean Williams
After several years as an independent engineer and recording artist, Sean took an MSc in Sound Design at the University of Edinburgh and continued on a PhD in Creative Music Practice with Simon Frith and Martin Parker, focusing on the relationship between performance practice, instrument design, and composition in electronic music. He was awarded DAAD funding for several months research in Germany, which was followed by a 3 year Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. He currently divides his time between lecturing at the University of Kent and The Open University.
Dr Robert Samuels
Robert studied for a Ph.D. in Music from 1987 to 1989 and graduated with the thesis, Semiotics and Mahler: Analyses of Musical Signification in the Sixth Symphony. Afterwards he was appointed Leverhulme Research Fellow in the Department of Music, the University of Lancaster, and in 1990 he was appointed Lecturer in the same department. In 1995 he was appointed Lecturer in the Music Department of the Open University.
Dr Alexander Kolassa
Alexander is a Lecturer in Music at the Open University. He has a PhD in Music Composition from the University of Nottingham. As a composer he has written music for professional and amateur ensembles around the country. He has also composed for award winning ‘transmedia’ theatre. His research currently concerns the intersections of musical modernism, medievalism (which is to say the modern medieval imaginary), and popular culture: in the concert hall, on stage, and on screen.