Introducing “Composers & Computers,” a new podcast about digital music

Written by
Aaron Nathans, School of Engineering and Applied Science
June 10, 2022

A revolution in music happened in the Princeton Engineering Quadrangle, but chances are, you don’t know the story. Sixty years ago, some music-loving computer engineers happened upon some musicians who were enamored with a new computer installed on the third floor.

The work they did together helped turn computers – at the time, a hulking, silent machine – into a tool to produce music. Their innovations made it easier to hear that music. Then they made it possible to make more nuanced music, and made those tools better. Pretty soon, the computer was singing. The work of musicians and computer engineers at Princeton planted the seeds of music synthesis technology in widespread use today.

They made a lot of wild music along the way. You’ll get to hear it — as well as learn more about the science of how a computer makes sound. And you’ll learn a thing or two about how music itself is constructed as well. Musicians and engineers went looking for a machine capable of playing some of the most complex music ever written. The rest is history.

Listen on the Princeton Engineering website or wherever you get your podcasts.