The Gramophone Co. (HMV) and the Columbia Graphophone Co. combined
to form Electrical and Musical Industries (EMI). Alan Dower Blumlein
(EMI) was granted a patent for a stereo recording technique that
provided the basis for present day techniques. Edison died aged
BASF manufactured 50,000 metres of magnetic recording tape for
use by AEG for large scale experiments.
AEG-Telefunken gave the first public demonstration of the Magnetophon
tape recorder at the Berlin Funkausteilung.
BASF engineers, using a Magnetophon, recorded Mozart’s Symphony
No.39 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir
Thomas Beecham. The first tape recording of a full symphony orchestra,
it still exists and is of surprisingly good quality.
Experiments were being carried out on the problems of multi track
optical and magnetic recording onto 35mm film stock.
Leopold Stokowski, who since 1917 had shown an interest in musical
techniques to improve recorded performance, conducted the recording
sessions for the soundtrack of the Walt Disney film ‘Fantasia’.
The result was a technical and artistic triumph.
RCA Victor presented the first ever ‘Gold Disc’ to Glenn Miller
for the million selling ‘Chattanooga Choo-choo’.
The immediate post-war release of research facilities to peaceful
purposes gave tremendous impetus to sound quality improvement.
The frequency spectrum covered by recording increased dramatically.
During the war years background music came of age. By decreasing
fatigue and raising morale, it contributed significantly to wartime
productivity. Some estimates found it increased output by as much
as 25%. This revelation had an enormous impact on the history
and development of recorded sound.
The oil industry had developed a multi purpose thermo plastic,
polyvinylchloride (PVC), suitable for making recording tape and
gramophone records with very low surface noise. The flow characteristics
of PVC made possible the pressing of microgroove long playing
records developed by a CBS team headed by Dr Peter Goldmark. Edison
had released ‘Long Playing Discs’ with a duration of twenty minutes
per side as early as 1926 but they could not be fairly compared
with the CBS microgroove LP.
The first demonstration of the transistor by Shockley, Brittain
and Bardeen caused a revolution in recording equipment design
and performance parameters, and was to have the same effect on
domestic equipment. With the release by RCA of the first 7 inch
diameter, 45 rpm microgroove discs, a short lived and good tempered
battle to establish a new standard, 10 inch (or 12 inch) diameter
records at 33.33 rpm or 7 inch (or larger) diameter records at
45rpm, commenced. In the event, both existed happily side by side
each serving a particular purpose.
Cinerama presented multi sound track replay to the public for
the first time. This stimulated public interest in the possiblility
of stereo recordings and research was stepped up.
The record companies generally adopted the new standards with
the vast improvements in sound quality. Production of the 78rpm
shellac disc began to be discontinued.
The companies began to provide the equipment for stereo recording
in major studios. The possibility of recording ‘right hand’ and
‘left hand’ signals simultaneously on separate tracks on quarter
inch magnetic tape had already been demonstrated and some of the
major problems inherent in transferring both signals to one groove
of a disc had been solved by Baumann in 1930.
Stereo LPs became available and new releases were issued in both
mono (monaural) and stereo (stereophonic) versions. The Philips
original cast recordings of ‘My Fair Lady’ was one of the first
million seller LPs together with Van Cliburn playing Tchaikovsky’s
First Piano Concerto.