Music History

Ongoing History Daily: Who the hell is Daphne Oram?

If you’re at all interested in the electronic side of rock, you owe a debt of thanks to Daphne Oram.  Who? 

She was born in 1925 and became a sound engineer for the BBC during World War II.  One of the things she loved was the then-brand-new tape-recording technology.  That led to her discovery of the avant-garde music some modern composers were making.  Working after hours in the BBC studios, she eventually was put in charge of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop which produced new and unusual sound effects for the Beeb’s TV and radio productions including what ended up in the theme for Dr. Who. 

In 1960, she left to set up her own studio where she got deeper into electronics and tape effects and wrote film scores, including many science fiction movies.  Her work helped lay the groundwork for the experimentation that ultimately led to modern electronic music.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38319 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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