Computer Music

William Donzelli wdonzelli at
Sun Dec 24 15:08:36 CST 2006

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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