Tape music  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Tape music is a form of music which began soon after tape recording was invented, as people could now create sounds that were for the first time identical with each performance.

Tape music is an integral part of musique concrète, utilizing pre-recorded fragments, loops, and sampled sounds, altering and manipulating them through techniques such as speed manipulation. The work of Halim El-Dabh is perhaps the earliest example of tape (or, in this case, wire-recorded) music. El-Dabh's The Expression of Zaar, first presented in Cairo, Egypt, in 1944, was an early work using musique concrète–like techniques similar to those developed in Paris during the same period. El-Dabh would later become more famous for his work at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, where in 1959 he composed the influential piece Leiyla and the Poet.

US composer John Cage's assembly of the Williams Mix serves as an example of the rigors of tape music. First, Cage created a 192-page score. Over the course of a year, 600 sounds were assembled and recorded. Cut tape segments for each occurrence of each sound were accumulated on the score. Then the cut segments were spliced to one of eight tapes, work finished on January 16, 1953. The premiere performance (realization) of the 4'15" work was given on March 21, 1953 at the University of Illinois, Urbana.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tape music" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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