October 28 – 50s tape music, Ian & Sylvia


First public performance of tape music by Vladimir Ussachevsky and Otto Luening at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

In the years before electronic musicians have access to computers, they are exploring the new technology of tape-recording. Using tape for composition or accompaniment can be very tedious. For example, at the time of the MOMA concert, John Cage is at work on his (somewhat more famous) Williams Mix. It involves recording 600 sounds, chopping up the tapes into pieces and splicing them into one of 8 tapes. With help, it takes him a year to complete the 4 minutes and 15 seconds piece. (It’s first heard March 21, 1953.)

Ussachevsky and Luening soon join forces to co-found the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions. Making music on really, really slow computers, they will learn, is even harder.

Luening:Low Speed (1952 4m)  Ussachevsky: Piece for tape recorder (1956 6m)  Cage:Williams Mix (1953 6m)  Vinyl Collection: Electronic Music (1950-1969 10m) 

See also: Halim El-Dabh, Society for Electro-Acoustic Music US


Ian and Sylvia Tyson folk masterpiece Four Strong Winds (writen by Ian, first recorded by The Brothers Four) climbs to #9 on Canadian charts.

It’s pure Canadian, so it’s a Beauty, ey. It’s later covered by Neil Young (on 1978 album Comes a Time), and by dozens of others. Their second album, Four Strong Winds was released in April, 1964; the two were married that June.