A History of Music and Technology
June 19, 2019 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason presents A History of Music in Technology, a nine-part Open University/BBC series "charting the history of music and technology and exploring the world of legendary artists, producers, engineers and inventors. The series shines a light on game-changing innovations including the synthesiser, electric guitar, samplers, drum machines and the recording studio itself," and airs until June 22. Episodes available to date: Sound Recording, The Studio Part 1, The Studio Part 2, Samplers and Drum Machines, The Synthesizer, The Hammond Organ, Electronic Music Pioneers, and The Electric Guitar.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (14 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
If anyone can come up with an RSS feed for this, I'd be super excited to be able to listen to it off-line! I'm not seeing an obvious link for it anywhere.
posted by straw at 2:03 PM on June 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

There's a general RSS for the BBC Documentary Podcast, which is how I came across the episodes, but I haven't seen one for just this series.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:09 PM on June 19, 2019

The history of electronic music podcast might also interest folks
posted by kokaku at 3:13 PM on June 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

Many thanks for this! Very excellent.
posted by carter at 3:51 PM on June 19, 2019

Oh boy ... good catch!

"the technology innovation that most changed music?"

Tape definitely made a huge difference, but two earlier inventions were needed first: amplification (valves/tubes) and electronic mikes (mid-1920s). Listening to records made before them - you're hearing people screaming into a big metal horn. (There were few ballads or crooners b4 them!)
posted by Twang at 4:00 PM on June 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks for this post! I'm excited to queue these up and binge them if I can find the time.

I'd be super excited to be able to listen to it off-line! I'm not seeing an obvious link for it anywhere.
There is a download link for each show if you go to the episode. Looks like one can download a 128kbps or 64kbps mp3. Hopefully that will work.
posted by terrapin at 4:05 PM on June 19, 2019

(There were few ballads or crooners b4 them!)

Seconding all of that. Bing Crosby was essentially the first star of the amplified microphone era, and definitely the only one we remember, Rudy Valleé being remembered more among the last of the megaphoners. While everybody could sing into recording equipment, which enabled the crooner stylings, nobody could sing with low vocals onstage without electrified audio equipment. Radio was the third rail for all of this that blew everything open, creating a (commercial) culture of pop music as an individual experience.

A great history of this period is Repeated Takes by Michael Chanan.
posted by rhizome at 4:53 PM on June 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

Thanks so much for this. And the perfect presenter...
posted by Devonian at 6:54 PM on June 19, 2019

I beg to differ that Bing Crosby invented crooning it was the “first star of the electrical microphone era.”

Jimmie Rodgers was a massive star — the biggest record seller of his short era — preceded Crosby, Autry, etc. as a crooner on songs like “Daddy and Home,” thanks to the first commercial electrical microphones being available to him in the Victor Camden studios. It’s true his breakout recordings at the Bristol Sessions were more basic but once he became a star he had access to the very best gear.

No JR, no Autry, no Crosby, no Sinatra. Also worth mentioning is Louis Armstrong.
posted by spitbull at 3:57 AM on June 20, 2019

I'm late to this party as usual. Anyone know where I can listen to the first four episodes? BBC has pulled them from their site (at least in the US). Thanks for any help.
posted by hilberseimer at 7:05 AM on June 20, 2019

Anyone know where I can listen to the first four episodes?

They're all available via The Documentary Podcast (outside of the UK in Canada, anyway) as a browser-based stream or they can be downloaded as an mp3.

If you use any podcasting app, you can look up The Documentary Podcast from the BBC and grab the episodes that have been released so far that way as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:31 AM on June 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks mandolin conspiracy!
posted by hilberseimer at 5:53 PM on June 20, 2019

Here’s a filtered RSS feed with just the ’A History of Music and Technology’ episodes: https://siftrss.com/f/zRMVlGm0Bp
posted by dst at 4:54 AM on June 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Finished listening to this, and gonna have to go back and listen to it again. I don't know that there was anything particularly revelatory about it, but just going through all of the changes in musical styles as they were driven by and influencing recording technologies is changing my relationship with music.

Especially as I'm trying to sit down with Logic Pro and a keyboard and turn out some basic rhythm/dance tracks for modern square dancing (and considering how square dancing changed through the recorded era).
posted by straw at 11:57 AM on July 16, 2019

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