April 6 – Telharmonium patents, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mama Mia!


Thaddeus Cahill‘s gigantic musical instrument the Telharmonium (aka ‘Dynamophone’) is granted a patent (US#580,035). ▷Synth Museum▹

With financing from engineer Oscar T. Crosby, the ‘New England Electric Music Company’ is established. Two machines are built; a 1901 7-ton prototype and a second, 1906 model that, it’s claimed, weighed over 200 tons.

Another patent, US#1,213,804 was granted Jan 23, 1917 for ‘Art of and Apparatus for Generating and Distributing Music Electrically’.

The plan is to sell subscriptions to music broadcast through the telephone lines. But, despite a third 1910 machine built to overcome problems, there isn’t enough interest. Bankruptcy arrives in 1914.

Docu 1 

See also: Staccatone (1926), Coupleux-Givelet organ (1929)  ~ Electronic music interfaces 


See me? Feel me!

Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey is released.

The $10.5 million film is based on a book by Arthur C. Clarke. Monolithic success.

Unlike most films, in which music often plays the part of an extra, in this film music is cast as a central character, absolutely essential to the entire experience. In particular, Johann Strauss II‘s The Blue Danube waltz, Richard Strauss 1896 tone-poem Also sprach Zarathustra and selections from 4 works by 20th-century Hungarian György Ligeti.

The film’s HAL 9000 computer was ‘born’ (incept date) on Jan. 12, 1992 (1997 in the novel). One scene in the film features the old hit tune Daisy Bell sung by Douglas Rain as HAL 9000. This chilling denoument was inspired by a 1961 IBM 704 computer performance — programmed by computer music pioneer Max Mathews —  which Clarke had overheard.

Making Of  ▷Special FX ▹  HAL of a Computer ▷2001 samples▹

Opening in London’s West End of Mamma Mia!, a jukebox musical based on the music of Swedish megaband ABBA.

Since then it’s been performed around the world in 16 languages, seen by over 42 million 50 million people (yep!) and taken in over $2billion worldwide.

It continues to run in Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre since opening day, Oct 18, 2001. A film version starring Meryl Streep premiered June 30, 2008. The International tour will reopen in 2013.
 ( Musical site