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Who Was Oskar Sala? Google Doodle Celebrates German Electronic Music Pioneer On His 112th Birthday


GOOGLE DOODLE TODAY ON JULY 18: Today’s Google Doodle celebrates what would have been the 112th birthday of Oskar Sala, an innovative electronic music composer and physicist. Recognized for producing sound effects on a musical instrument called a mixture-trautonium, Salas electrified the world of television, radio and film.


Born in Greiz, Germany, in 1910, Sala was immersed in music since birth. His mother was a singer and his father was an ophthalmologist with musical talent. At 14, Sala began creating compositions and songs for instruments like the violin and piano.

When Sala first heard a device called the trautonium, he became fascinated by the tonal possibilities and the technology the instrument offered. His life mission became mastering the trautonium and developing it further which inspired his studies in physics and composition at school.

This new focus led Sala to develop his own instrument called the mixture-trautonium. With his education as a composer and an electro-engineer, he created electronic music that set his style apart from others. The mixture-trautonium’s architecture is so unique that it was capable of playing several sounds or voices simultaneously.

From behind the door of a recording studio, Sala composed musical pieces and sound effects for many television, radio and movie productions, such as Rosemary (1959) and The Birds (1962). The instrument created noises like bird cries, hammering and door and window slams.

Sala received several awards for his work—he gave many interviews, met numerous artists and was honored in radio broadcasts and movies. In 1995, he donated his original mixture-trautonium to the German Museum for Contemporary Technology.

Sala also built the Quartett-Trautonium, Concert Trautonium and the Volkstrautonium. His efforts in electronic music opened the field of subharmonics. With his dedication and creative energy, he became a one-man orchestra.

CLICK HERE to explore more about the life and work of German physicist, composer and pioneer of electronic music, Oskar Sala, with Google Arts & Culture.

GOOGLE DOODLE: ON THIS DAY

In 2021, Google celebrated the 160th birthday of Indian doctor Kadambini Ganguly — the first woman to be trained as a physician in India. (Image: Google.com)
In 2018, Google Doodle celebrated Pakistani ghazal musician Mehdi Hassan on his n91st birthday. (Image: Google.com)
In 2018, Google Doodle celebrated Pakistani ghazal musician Mehdi Hassan on his 91st birthday. (Image: Google.com)
In 2014, Google celebrated Nelson Mandela's 96th Birthday. (Image: Google.com)
In 2014, Google celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 96th Birthday. (Image: Google.com)

On July 12, Google Doodle celebrated the deepest infrared photo of the universe ever taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope — also known as the JWST or Webb — a scientific phenomenon and one of the biggest engineering feats of humanity.



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