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The First Computer Widely Used Program for Sound Generation (1957)


In 1957 electrical engineer Max Mathews of Bell Labs wrote MUSIC, the first widely-used program for sound generation, on an IBM 704 computer. MUSIC was the first computer program for generating digital audio waveforms through direct synthesis. Prior to this the first computer music was generated in Sydney Australia in 1951 by programmer Geoff Hill on the CSIRAC computer, which was designed and built by Trevor Pearcey and Maston Beard. However, CSIRAC produced sound by sending raw pulses to the speaker; it did not produce standard digital audio with PCM samples, like the MUSIC-series of programs.  According to the Wikipedia article on Music-N, Mathews' original MUSIC program spawned a family of computer music programs and programming languages.

Filed under: Music , Software