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The Ballet Mecanique and its computer- aided heritage

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Electronic music is topping the charts these days. Electronic music is becoming so pervasive an art form that you might not even realize the impact it has on your life. Do you like the newest beats on the radio? Chances are the music has been mixed with the help of a computer or other form of engineered equipment to give it that beat that makes you want to dance. Electronic music has even been used in recent years to transform a part of history known as the Ballet Mecanique. This piece of music, written in the 1920s by composer George Antheil, was just a little ambitious for its time. It was intended for a percussion orchestra and 16 player pianos - automated instruments that play when the keys are activated by air pressure, under control of a long roll of perforated paper (no humans necessary!). But the music could not actually be played in this way. You cannot line up 16 player pianos and have them all stay together at the same speed.

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Women in Engineering Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 1 )