18/01/2023 57' 17''
Hammond organ speaker. Photo by Hustvedt.

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.  

Musical references

01 Gregorio Paniagua, ‘Anakrousis’, 1978
02 Ethel Smith, ‘Tico Tico’ (excerpts), 1944
03 Jimmy Smith, ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’ (excerpts), 1957
04 Jimmy Smith, ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ (excerpt), 1962
05 Jimmy Smith, ‘Root Down (Live)’ (excerpts), 1972
06 Brian Auger, ‘Pavane’ (excerpts), 1971
07 Gabriel Fauré, ‘Pavane’, 1887 played by the Philadelphia Orchestra
08 Miles Davis, ‘Rated X’ (excerpt), 1974
09 Egg, ‘Blane Over Camden (Live at the Roundhouse)’ (excerpts), 1972
10 Booker T. & the M.G.’s ‘Green Onions’ (excerpt), 1962
11 Sonny Boy Williamson, ‘Help Me’ (excerpts), 1963
12 Karlheinz Stockhausen, ‘Mikrophonie II’ (excerpt), 1964/5
13 Leslie
14 Paul Petersen, ‘She Rides With Me’, 1964
15 The Beatles, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, 1966
16 Cream, ‘Badge’ (excerpt), 1968
17 Phil Cirocco, ‘First Spooky Sounds’
18 Vera Lynn, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ (excerpts), 1939
19 Phil Cirocco, ‘Novachord Improvisation No. 3’ (excerpt), 2005
20 Colin H. Driggs, ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldiers’ (excerpt), 1941
21 Phil Cirocco, ‘Fingertips’ (excerpt), ‘Inner Sanctum’ (excerpt)
22 George Gershwin, ‘The Man I Love’, played by the Mexican bandleader Pedro Morquecho (excerpt), 1964
23 Max Steiner, ‘Intermission Music’ (excerpt), 1939
24 Franz Waxman, ‘Rebecca’s Room’ (excerpt)
25 Jerry Goldsmith, ‘The Invaders’ (excerpts), 1961
26 Harry Lubin, ‘Demon With a Glass Hand’ (excerpt), 1964
27 Gregorio Paniagua, ‘Anakrousis’, 1978

Curated by Chris Cutler. Photo by: Hustvedt. CC BY-SA 3.0, source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3472626.
2023. All rights reserved. © by the respective authors and publishers.
ResearchProbesChris CutlerNovachordHammond

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