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Music

We are so familiar with the application of electricity for transmitting, storing and amplifying music that it's interesting to recall some innovative uses. The ondes martenot created excitement when it appeared in 1928. Controlled by a keyboard and a slide, it produces pure tones of a glassy ethereal quality. Listen to Messaien's magnificent Turangalila Symphony where it creates eerie glissando sounds or to Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake where its rising scale accompanies the saintly martyr's last haunting song. Bob Dylan scandalised the purist guitar folkies at the 1965 Newport Festival by singing three numbers with electronic backing, among them Maggie's Farm and Like a Rolling Stone. Listen to the songs and try to work out the reason for the commotion - just what was all over now, Baby Blue?

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