Researchers Unearth 65 Year Old Audio Of 1st Ever Computer Generated Music

Electronic music might have resulted in the one-thousand-synthesizers-shorting-out-at-the-same-time, cocaine-fuelled audio nightmare that is Skrillex, but 65 years ago it was a noble science pursued by only our most troubled of geniuses.

Famous for cracking the infamous Enigma code in World War II and, only a handful years later, being prosecuted for homosexuality, you might also know Alan Turing as the guy Benedict “Brumblepatch Cummerbund” Cumberbatch played in that movie that won every award ever granted to a film.

Turing himself wasn’t all that interested in making the computer make music, but included a section in his book ‘Programmers’ Handbook for Manchester Electronic Computer Mark II‘ detailing how to program the machines to make music at pitches corresponding to specific notes, which intrigued school teacher Christopher Strachey.

The BBC made a recording of the primitive synthesiser at the time but it was too distorted to really hear what was going on. Luckily, some Kiwi researchers at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch gave it a crack and managed to work it so you can hear the not-extremely-pleasant sounding instrument in crystal clear quality.

They open with the rather tepid ‘God Save The Queen‘ and ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep‘ but really kick it up a notch when they bust out Glenn Miller‘s classic ‘In The Mood‘:

Apparently Turing wasn’t all that impressed to hear the thing be played, responding only “Good Show”. The past was a truly wonderful place.

Source: The Guardian.