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Special SoundThe Creation and Legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop$
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Louis Niebur

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195368406

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195368406.001.0001

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Ideological Struggles and Pragmatic Realities

Ideological Struggles and Pragmatic Realities

(p.35) 2 Ideological Struggles and Pragmatic Realities
Special Sound

Louis Niebur

Oxford University Press

Opening with a discussion of the material problems encountered by the Workshop's supporters after its initial proposal, this chapter primarily concerns the aggressive but ultimately futile attempts by the BBC's Music Department to prevent the studio's creation. Frightened of an academic studio under the BBC banner, and determined to protect the “rational development of music” in Britain, department heads proposed a series of often‐ridiculous alternatives to a full‐fledged electronic music studio. Ultimately, those in opposition to the studio were successful in shaping a great deal of the final studio's makeup, largely forbidding the use of the studio by outside composers and initially limiting the output of the Workshop to electronic “sound effects” for dramatic productions. The chapter then examines the studio's tiny budget, offers detailed discussion of the equipment it acquired, and explores its early compositions.

Keywords:   BBC, radio, sound effects, radiophonic, electronic music

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