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Cut And Splice 2005
Daphne Oram in the Oramics Studio
Conceptual plans and drawings for the Oramics System (1959)
Daphne Oram
The technique of Oramics was developed by Daphne Oram, who was an electronic composer working at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in England from 1959 onwards. The Oramics system was developed by her with assistance in specialist aspects from with her brother John Anderson Oram and by electrical engineers such as Graham Wrench and Fred Wood and consisted of drawing onto a set of ten sprocketed, synchronised strips of 35mm film, which covered a series of photoelectric cells that in turn generated an electrical charge to control the sound frequency, timbre, amplitude and duration. This technique was similar to the work of Yevgeny Sholpo's "Variophone", produced some years earlier in Leningrad, and in some ways to the punch-roll system of the RCA Synthesizer. The output from the instrument was only monophonic, relying on multi-track tape recording to build up polyphonic textures.

The attraction of this technique was a direct relation of a graphic image to the audio signal and even though the system was monophonic the flexibility of control over the nuances of sound production was unmatched in all but the most sophisticated analogue voltage controlled synthesisers.

Daphne Oram continued to use the process throughout the sixties, producing work for film and theatre including; "Rockets in Ursa Major"(1962), "Hamlet"(1963) and "Purple Dust" (1964).


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