From Steam-Organs To Synthesisers

Today we explore the wide and amaz­ing-sound­ing world of Mechan­i­cal Music — from 19th cen­tu­ry bar-room and par­lour Polyphons and steam-engine dri­ven fair­ground organs to today’s elec­tron­ic wonders.

Along the way we’ll encounter some mar­vel­lous record­ings: from famous com­posers’ play­ing immor­talised by the play­er piano to Huub de Lange in Hol­land, who learned how to make the punched-cards required to “pro­gramme” a street organ and wrote a series of pieces — “Life And Death In A Street Organ” — for street organ and string quartet.

In addi­tion­al to “tra­di­tion­al” mechan­i­cal instru­ments, now found large­ly in muse­ums and at steam fairs, today’s pro­gramme includes sev­er­al exam­ples of clas­sic elec­tron­i­ca — includ­ing some elec­tron­i­ca that sound like tra­di­tion­al mechan­i­cal instru­ments — and some con­ven­tion­al instru­ments that sound mechanical.…

Plus… Every 4 hours from 4am Pacif­ic, you can catch The Engines of Our Inge­nu­ity” from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton — about the machines that make our civ­i­liza­tion run, and the peo­ple whose inge­nu­ity cre­at­ed them.

Then at 12 noon and 4pm Pacif­ic Time, tune in for Episode 5 of “Where’ve You Been?” — our twice-month­ly series on things to do and places to see on the Sec­ond Life Grid, with Cale­do­nia Sky­tow­er and Elrik Mer­lin. In this episode we vis­it Zamo­nia, includ­ing the Val­ley of the Pon­der­ing Eggs, the Hid­den Lake, some cat­a­combs absolute­ly stuffed with books! — and much more.

Zamo­nia: The Val­ley of Pon­der­ing Eggs … From there you can take the por­tal to the Hid­den Lake and Zamo­nia Catacombs.

SL Group:

Friends of Zamo­nia flickr group:


“A Morti­er fair­ground organ at the Great Dorset Steam Fair” by Anguskirk is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0