British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Music and Sound on the Moving Image Gateway

Learning on Screen’s Gateway includes over 2,000 websites relating to moving image and sound materials. These have been subdivided into over 40 subject areas. To suggest new entries or amendments, please contact us by email or telephone (020 7393 1500).

Daphne Oram
Site dedicated to electronic musician and composer Daphne Oram. Oram, who co-founded the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, devoted her career, after she left the BBC in 1959, to the development of her own Oramics system, a pioneering form of sound sythesis based on the use of 35 mm film strips which are drawn or written on by the musician and generate sounds when passed over photo-electric cells. This site features biographical details along with information about how to access the Daphne Oram collection which is held in Goldsmith’s University’s special collections and includes papers relating to Oram’s work at the BBC, personal documents, papers relating to the Oramics system, photographs, musical scores, computer code and sound recordings. A small but fascinating selection of sound clips features Oram introducing some of her own pieces including the soundtrack to the Geoffrey Jones film ‘Snow’ which was made for British Transport Films in 1963. The clip below, entitled ‘The Sound of the Future’, is from the British Movietone newseel collection.

Europeana Sounds
Aiming to put ‘Europe’s sound heritage at your fingertips’ the Europeana Sounds project collects over 600,000 sounds – including traditional, classical and popular music, environment recordings, radio programmes, interviews,  and sound effects – from European archives, libraries and museums, as well as over 300,000 contextual items, including documents, music sheets and photographs. This site features playlists and virtual exhibitions, as well as detailed contextual information about the various different sound categories. 

Sound Matters
A podcast which explores the ways in which people listen to sounds, and the inventions, discoveries, possibilities and ideas around sound. Written and produced by Tim Hinman, the content is original and thought-provoking. Covering all aspects of sound, from prehistoric musical instruments, recording wildlife sounds, interstellar noise, soundscape ecology, and the links between music and sport, users can subscribe via Soundcloud and iTunes.

Thankful Villages
Musician Darren Hayman has created this website to document his ‘project about rural life’ in which he visits every one of the 54 Thankful Villages in England and Wales . A ‘Thankful’ or ‘Blessed Village’, is the name given by writer and educator Arthur Mee to a settlement where every soldier returned alive from the First World War. The films, music and text on the site rarely refer directly to the Great War itself: Hayman’s project is more a way of exploring aspects of life in small rural communities through music and oral history. Hayman documents his own responses to his journey through the music he makes (which is written and recorded in each village) along with interviews with the people he meets – usually the result of chance encounters – as well as random ambient sounds which are captured by the microphones as part of the recording process.

Three Composers
This website (which is available in English and Polish) features the work of three of the 20th century’s pre-eminent Polish composers: Henryk Górecki, Witold Lutosławski and Krzysztof Penderecki. Over three hundred pieces of music are available to stream, the majority of which have been digitised from the archives of Polish Radio by the Polish National Audiovisual Institute (NiNA). The site is nicely designed and easy to browse: users can filter their searches by year, genre, form and category in a thoughtfully designed search field. All the pieces are accompanied by detailed production credits, extended descriptions and other contextual information, including the composers’ own opinions about the music, as well as the opinions of critics and musicologists. The quality of the recording is generally very high, but recordings of lower quality have also been made available, due to their historical value.

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