Oramics: Precedents, Technology and Influence: Daphne Oram (1925-2003)

Richards, Tom. 2018. Oramics: Precedents, Technology and Influence: Daphne Oram (1925-2003). Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Since the recent re-emergence of the work of British composer and inventor Daphne Oram, and the purchase of her Oramics Machine by the Science Museum, and their subsequent Oramics to Electronica exhibition, there has been much enthusiastic comment and re-appraisal of her work since she faded into obscurity from the late seventies onwards. Some of her recordings have been (re)released and she is now regularly written and blogged about, yet still, relatively little is known about her in terms of real detail with regard to her research and innovational achievements.

Drawing heavily on the Daphne Oram archive at Goldsmiths, and the Oramics Machine in the collection of the Science Museum, this research is an attempt to define and contextualise Oram's achievements with the Oramics Machine and her subsequent attempts to miniaturise and commercialise the concept with Mini Oramics. It is an investigation as to why her ambitious and holistic approach to electronic music production did not make a bigger impact, at a time when the palette of the electronic musician was rapidly expanding, and anyone with good ideas, technical prowess and financial backing might have succeeded, before the eventual domination and homogenisation of the synthesiser/sequencer market by the major electronics corporations of Japan; before the era of the home studio.

Central to this research is the construction of a version of Mini Oramics, an existing design (of Oram’s with a considerable input from John Emmett, Norman Gaythorpe and others), which, had it been developed further and brought to market, would have become Oram's commercial and educational product. The newly constructed Mini Oramics has been experimented with and evaluated by musicians and composers. This practice-based research will inform the other strands of the research and will feed into arguments about the artistic, technical, and commercial feasibility of the Oramics Machine at what became a pivotal moment for Electronic Music and Music Technology.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00026356

Additional Information:

Research carried out in association with the Science Museum, London.

Keywords:

Daphne Oram, Oramics, Mini Oramics, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Electronic Music, Experimental Music

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Computing

Date:

30 September 2018

Item ID:

26356

Date Deposited:

22 May 2019 12:03

Last Modified:

24 May 2019 04:43

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/26356

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