Who tells history?


Session Title:

  • Latin American Forum #1: Alternative History of Computer Music

Presentation Title:

  • Who tells history?




  • Panel: Latin American Forum #1: Alternative History of Computer Music

    Who tells history: Who knows about it or who has the opportunity to do it? We can find several versions on the development of electronic musical instruments during the past century but it is unusual to find a reference to devices coming from non first-world countries. Why is this happening?
    Juan Blanco registered the description and design of a new musical instrument at the Patent and Trademark Office of Cuba in 1942. He called his creation the “Multiórgano” (Multiorgan). The Multiorgan concept predated the Mellotron by several years. Raúl Pavón, a Mexican engineer interested both in electronics and music, developed in 1960 a small electronic musical instrument that featured an oscillator with multiple waveform outputs, a variety of filters, an envelope generator, a white noise generator and a keyboard, among other materials. Pavón named the instrument the “Omnifón”. It was among the firsts voltage-controlled electronic sound synthesizers built. In Argentina, Fernando von Reichenbach invented the Analog Graphic Converter (a.k.a. Catalina) in the 60s. It was used to transform graphic scores -from drawings done on a paper roll- into electronic control signals adapted to work with analog equipment in producing electroacoustic music. If you know about the history of the electronic arts -in general- or the history of electroacoustic music and its associated technologies -in particular- but never heard about these persons, it is clear that something has not been said. It has been lost (in translation?) or for some reason didn’t show up in the official history (story?). If history is written by the winners: Are those persons some of the losers of the electronic-arts history? And why is that still happening?