A lost work by minimalist composer Philip Glass has been found and restored, after 50 years, and is getting its world premier as a recorded work. Music In Eight Parts was performed a handful of time in 1970, but the manuscript was lost for decades. It was recently found and put up for auction at… Read More Philip Glass’s Music In Eight Parts Gets Official Debut After 50 Years
Riley’s pioneering electro-acoustic music of the 1960’s influenced musicians like Pete Townshend of The Who and classical composers like Steve Reich alike.… Read More Terry Riley Lost Interview + ‘Music With Balls’
This video captures a live performance, by joeSeggiola, of Terry Riley’s seminal minimalist work, In C.… Read More Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ On Modular Synthesizer
This video captures a performance of Terry Riley’s In C on Eurorack modular synthesizer.… Read More Terry Riley’s ‘In C’ On Modular Synthesizer
Before it reverted to Internet age-blandness, American kids’ TV enjoyed a golden age of music, scored by oddball indie composers and legends alike.
And, wow, it could even teach you about synthesis.
Perhaps the most famous of thesse moments is when none other than Suzanne Ciani went on 3-2-1 Contact in 1980 to step inside her studio:
Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame was actually a composer before going into television, and the show’s deep commitment to music education reflected that. That music was generally of the acoustic variety, but he did one day tote a rare ARP Soloist synthesizer along with his trademark shoes and handmade sweaters – and his message and song about “play” might well be an anthem for us all.
Canadian-born composer Bruce Haack made an epic appearance on that same show in 1968, where he demonstrated a homemade electronic instrument. Haack himself as as prolific a composer of far-out sci-fi music for children as he was (much darker) experimental compositions and psychedelic works.
The best all-time “Fairlight CMI on a kids’ program” (because, amazingly, there’s been more than one of those) – Herbie Hancock, Sesame Street, 1983. Herbie keeps a terrific sense of cool and calm that all kids’ shows could learn from in this day of cloying, sugar-sweet patronizing programming:
Synths were all over vintage Sesame Street, often providing sound effects as in this oddly hypnotic Ernie puzzle:
Steve Horelick, the composer behind Reading Rainbow, showed off his Fairlight CMI and how digital sampling worked. (I have vivid memories of watching this as a kid – sorry, Steve.) Steve apparently came up at a time when Fairlight ownership was rare enough to get you gigs – but a good thing, too, as a whole generation still sings along with that theme song. And you probably got a second educational gift from Steve if you ever followed one of his brilliant video tutorials on Logic.
Even better than that is Reading Rainbow‘s synesthesia 3D trip – John Sanborn and Dean Winkler’s Luminaire, which was made for Montrea’s Expo ’86, to music by composer Daniel “No, I’m not Philip Glass” Lentz.
Better video of the actual animation and music, which – sorry, Mr. Glass, I actually kind of prefer to Glassworks:
Somehow this looks fresher than it did when it was new.
A young, chipper Thomas Dolby explained synthesis to Jim Henson’s little known 1989 program The Ghost of Faffner Hall!:
Oh yeah, also, apparently Jem and the Misfits imagined an audiovisual synth in 1985 that predicts both Siri and Coldcut / AV software years before their time. Plus dolls should always have synthesizer accessories:
Apart from education, there’s been some wildly adventurous music from obscure (who’s that?) and iconic sources (the Philip Glass?!) alike.
For a time, an experimental music Tumblr followed some of these moments. Here are some of my favorites.
Joan La Barbara does the alphabet (1977):
And yes, trip out with a composition by Philip Glass written especially for Sesame Street:
You can read the full history of this animation on Muppet Wiki,
More obscure, but clever (and I remember this one) – from HBO’s Braingames (1983-85), evidently by a guy named Matt Kaplowitz.
Not growing up in the UK, I’d never heard of Chocky, but it has this trippy, gorgeous opening with music by John W. Hyde:
American composer Paul Chihara’s 1983 score for a show called Whiz Kids is hilariously dated and nostalgia-packed now. But the man is a heavyweight in composition – think Nadia Boulanger student and LA Chamber Orchestra resident. He has an extensive film resume, too, which now landed him a position at NYU:
From Chicago public access TV, there’s a show called Chic-A-Go-Go, which in 2001 hosted The Residents.
But The Residents were on Pee-Wee, too:
Absurdly awesome, to close: “The Experimental Music Must Be Stopped.” This one comes to us from 2010 and French animation series Angelo Rules:
The post The amazing classic synth and experimental moments on children’s TV appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
This performance recalls the minimalist patterns and textures of psychedelic new age works like Steve Hillage & Miquette Giraudy’s Rainbow Dome Musick and Terry Riley’s A Rainbow In Curved Air. … Read More Maison Vague – Moments Musicaux Part II
Glass is receiving the award for his ‘groundbreaking contributions to music and composition. One of the most prolific, inventive, and influential artists of our time, he has expanded musical possibility with his operas, symphonies, film scores, and wide-ranging collaborations.’… Read More Composer Philip Glass To Be Awarded The National Medal Of Arts
Music for 18 Machines is a reimagining of Steve Reich’s classic minimalist work Music for 18 Musicians – for 18 synthesizers. … Read More Music for 18 Machines Reimagines Steve Reich For Synthesizers
In this new interview, via Q on CBC, classical composer Steve Reich reflects with host Shadrach Kabango on his career in classical music. He starts by discussing his early tape loop works, like It’s Going To Rain and goes on to discuss his … Continue reading
American minimalist composer and performer Terry Riley is not as well known as fellow minimalists Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Nevertheless, his work – which explores tape looping, live performance with tape delay, microtonality, world music influences, synthesis and more … Continue reading