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1906 __ Telharmonium concert
Comment : On March 16, 1906, a concert took place in the ballroom of the Hotel Hamilton in Holyoke, Massachusetts, that changed the nature of music in our century. The program, including selections by Schumann, Beethoven, and Bach, was standard concert A fare. But the music that filled the hall was made by an entirely new instrument: a music synthesizer. Nearly a mile away the gears of the first synthesizer spun. The two-hundred-ton instrument, called a telharmonium, filled the cavernous space of a renovated factory. The current that flowed from its 145 alternators was channeled through a maze of telephone switches and directed via telephone line to the hotel, where it emerged.astoundingly.from a single loudspeaker placed on a chair in the middle of the dance floor. The audience and press in attendance were ecstatic. Ray Stannard Baker, a writer for the popular McClure ‘s Magazine, described the music as “singularly clear, sweet” and surprisingly free of “the whir of machinery.” A writer in Electrical World called the instrument’s tone “remarkably pure and beautiful.” Other reporters hailed the telharmonium as the herald of democracy in music, since it would allow people hundreds of miles apart to have synthetic music delivered right to their homes via telephone. This incipient revolution in the production and distribution of music was the work of a man named Thaddeus Cahill. (Matthew Nicholl, “Good Vibrations”)
Original excerpt : « First [sic] Public Cahill Telharmonium Concert.261st Meeting of the New York Electrical Society.September 26, 1906.PROGRAM.Examples of some of the tone qualities made possible by the instrument : Flute, Cornet, Clarinet, Oboe, French Horn.(by Mr. Carl Schulz :) Rossini, “Oboe solo from Overture of William Tell”; Mendelssohn, “Song Without Words”, Op. 102 no. 3; Schumann, “Träumerei”; Grieg, “Humoresque”, Op. 6 no. 3; (by Mr. Henry W. Geiger :) Haydn, “Rondo”; (by Miss Florence Fiske, accompanied by Mr. Franklin Harris :) McDowell, “Thy Beaming Eyes”; Burleigh, “Jean”; Jamison, “Lullaby”; (by Mr. Harold Smith :) Illustrations : Dixie, with fife and drums, & Scotch Air, with bagpipes; (by Mr. Edwin Pierce :) Thomé, “Under the Leaves”; Beethoven, “Trio”, Op. 55; (by Messrs. Pierce and Geiger :) Godard, “Berceuse”; (by Messrs. Pierce and Schulz :) Old songs : “Ave-Maria”, Bach-Gounod; (by Messrs. Schulz and Harris :) Goltermann, “Andante from Cello Concerto”. »
Urls : http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/1993/4/1993_4_26.shtml (last visited )

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