Digital Music: We Have Come a Long Way

IBM 7090 computer

Since it’s the first appearance, digital music has certainly come a long way! We all know Bell. The name has had a long and distinguished history in the worlds of technology and business. One thing you might not realize is that they put out an album of experimental computer-generated music in 1960 entitled: “Music from Mathematics”.

Various programmers tried their hands at creating computer-generated music. This was not an easy task because back then they needed to use their programming skills via punch cards. The album was created using the IBM 7090 computer. This was a cutting edge device optimizing its massive 32k of memory with an electronic-to-sound transducer.

The man responsible for the production of the recording was Professor Max Mathews. In the 1950’s he was a pioneer and the primary force for creating computer-generated music. Professor Mathews developed the groundbreaking Music-N software at Bell Labs. Although it wasn’t the first program developed to create music from computers, it was widely acknowledged and recognized in the digital community.

Music-N’s principles are the foundation of Digital Signal Processing. In fact, they were so innovative, that they are still used in today’s software and hardware for music creation.

This album is rare, and discovering a vinyl copy is considered quite a find by record collectors. The good news is that we do not have to go rummaging around swap meets and garage sales hoping to unearth this treasure. The album is posted on Youtube:

As you can hear, digital and computer-generated music have definitely come a long way.

Digital Music

An interesting fact is that the “Daisy/Bicycle Built for Two” track on the LP was heard by Arthur C. Clarke who just happened to be touring the lab at the time. It was the inspiration that led to Hal 9000 singing it as he was deteriorating in the Film, ”2001: A Space Odyssey”.

As opposed to music made from a phone system, at On-Hold Marketing we provide professional messages and music for your hold feature. Whether it is the phone system you have had for years or one of the latest brand new VOIP phone systems, we can provide you with original, professional and affordable messages to entertain and inform your callers.

So, after sampling the “Music for Mathematics” LP on YouTube,  please visit our sample page to hear some of our music offerings as well as the demos of our announcers.

The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing.” – Douglas Engelbart


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 NOTE: On-Hold Marketing continues to be available for your phone system recording updates including COVID-19 messages. Read More