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Novachord. Photo by Hollow Sun at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,

In the late nineteenth century two facts conspired to change the face of music: the collapse of common practice tonality (which overturned the certainties underpinning the world of art music), and the invention of a revolutionary new form of memory, sound recording (which redefined and greatly empowered the world of popular music).

A tidal wave of probes and experiments into new musical resources and new organisational practices ploughed through both disciplines, bringing parts of each onto shared terrain before rolling on to underpin a new aesthetics able to follow sound and its manipulations beyond the narrow confines of ‘music’. This series tries analytically to trace and explain these developments, and to show how, and why, both musical and post-musical genres take the forms they do.

In PROBES #35 we examine the quiet electronic revolution ushered in by the Hammond organ and excavate traces of the visionary but short-lived Novachord - a polyphonic synthesiser born a quarter-century ahead of its time, which briefly flared - and then disappeared.  

Curated by Chris Cutler. Photo by Hollow Sun at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,
2023. This text is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
ExtraProbesChris CutlerNovachordHammondCreative Commons