Rememberance of Things Past

This weekend TrioMetrik played a show at the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival (BEAF). A good time was had by all, we made some new friends, and heard some great, and not so great (you know who you are), new electronic music.One of the concert venues at BEAF is the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, which made the trip worth it in itself. We saw, and toggled, some incredible knobs and switches, the likes of which just aren’t made these days. This place has some outstanding, one of a kind, pieces of gear from the dawn of the radio era. (Plus a really great RCA ribbon mic.)

One of the things that really interests me, obviously, is the intersection of music, technology and culture. Our raison d’etre at BEAM Foundation is bridging the gap between instrumental virtuosity, and technological sound and interaction. Musical technology is always at the forefront of a culture’s technological development. This pictures below are from a telegraph machine, developed in France. This being the dawn of the radio communications era, Telegraphy was in its infancy, and most of the workforce was not educated on a typewriter or stenography keyboard. However, there was a large tradition of musical virtuosity in Europe, and the makers of this telegraph leveraged that colloquial knowledge to soften the learning curve on their technology.

As you can see, the machines below have piano keyboards, but these are in fact telegraph machines. This concept resonates. One of our primary philosophies is that traditional musical virtuosity and skill must be drawn upon when utilizing new computer music technologies. Years of technique that the instrumentalist builds can bridge the gap between classical chamber music and new experimental computer music. By creating a hybrid form of the traditional and cutting edge, we can create well performed music that speaks with the tools of this century.

This idea was not lost on those building technologies at the turn of the last century.

Keyboard Telegraph

Keboard of Telegraph

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