Computer Music

John K. john3000 at
Sat Dec 30 09:49:07 CST 2006

Hi Will,

Look for an Apple II with the "Alpha Centauri" (or did they call it "Alpha 
Syntauri"?) package.  It was fantastic!  It used two cards from a company 
named "Mountain Hardware" and was an amazing synthesizer with 5 octave AGO 
keyboard and waveform design software.  It was polyphonic but I don't 
remember the number of voices.  I had the pleasure of using one while at 
George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia.  We bought one (I was a 
computer center administrator there at the time) for evaluation and then 
bought more for the music department, and they loved them!

If you can find one, it will be a real treasure!  I don't remember if I 
have any recordings, and if I do they would be on cassette tapes that would 
be nearly 30 years old.  I did use a lot of metal tape back in those days, 
so if the binder on the tape is still good, they may be playable.  First, 
I'll have to see if any of the recordings still exist, and that will have 
to wait until I'm recovered (bronchitis).

Good luck with your project!


At 12/24/2006 04:08 PM, William Donzelli wrote:
>I am currently working on a project involving music made with
>computers before MIDI. Some aspects and examples might be the old
>mainframes playing tunes on band printers, minicomputers making tunes
>with RFI, microcomputers controlling analog synthesizers, and so
>I have no strict timeline on this, but I would like to pull things
>together in a few months maximum.
>Things I am looking for:
>1) Recordings of 2nd generation (or even before, if they exist)
>mainframes making tunes. There are a few recordings out there, and I
>may be getting some help from CHM for more.
>2) A working 1970s era minicomputer with core, probably a PDP-8 or
>Nova, that is reliable enough to make a performance.
>3) A 1970s era microcomputer controlling an analog synthesizer.
>4) Outstanding examples of Atari and/or C64s making music.
>5) Leads to artists and musicians that used classic computers in
>recordings, famous or not. Decent quality MP3s would be great.
>6) An example of the HP printer (a deskjet?) that contains the musical
>Easter Egg, operational.
>7) Any examples of music made by computer algorithms, remixes by
>computer, and so forth. Experimental works are welcome.
>8) Any suggestions to expand this. The computers need not be classics,
>the music need not be oddball, but the results should be a little on
>the weird side (for example, I do not need a Pentium 3 running
>Protools making trance).
>While I am not looking to buy any of these machines, I am looking for
>examples that are very reliable, and can travel to New Jersey for a
>Saturday morning (probably). Appearance is not important, being this
>will all take place in a studio.
>There is a very slim chance I can provide the minicomputer, but all my
>tapes are lost in limbo, so I doubt it. Being a PDP-8/S, normal PDP-8
>music tapes will not work. There is also a chance I can provide a
>Minimoog synthesizer, if someone can provide the microcomputer with
>D/A cards (for the control voltages) and some sort of software for
>making a tune.
>So please go and think about this, and tell me what you think, and if
>you can contribute. Certainly proper credit will be given to those
>that can help out, but sorry, no money. I am not getting paid for this
>Thank you for your time.

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