Monday, September 30, 2019

Of Soundscapes And Northern Lights

This sound technology area within the Canada Science And Technology Museum featured both artifacts and interactive displays. How we've listened to music has changed down through the years. 

By the mid 1940s, radios could be smaller and placed on a counter or mantel.

And I'm sure many of us have had a walkman.

While most of us have some variation on its contemporary replacement.

Something of a historic treasure, though it looks quite utilitarian, is the first synthesizer, invented by Hugh Le Caine, a Canadian physicist and composer who worked for the National Research Council of Canada for many years, and who created the Electronic Sackbut.

It doesn't look like much, but every musician using a synthesizer today owes it to this device and its maker.

In an alcove off the entrance was a sound and light display. It is here that I end the series. The installation takes its inspiration from the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, with changing, shimmering lights overhead. I hope you've enjoyed this visit to the museum.


  1. Somewhat disconcerting to find things I used to own in a museum! But such is the pace of progress that if they don't snap up these items quickly they will disappear without trace. I remember the excitement of the first electronic synthesisers on records.

  2. Ja ich habe auch noch einen Walkman wird nicht mehr benutzt aber ein
    Radio bei uns ist bestimmt 30 Jahre alt und funktioniert noch.


  3. A walkman, yes, oh, and a pencil, just for in case!
    Yes, thank you, this journey of yours is my favorite so far!
    Looking forward to what´ll be next.

  4. The Northern Lights is my favorite!

  5. The depiction of the northern lights is lovely and iconically Canadian..

  6. The aurora borealis is on my bucket list to see. Do you see them in your area? If so, what months are best for viewing?


  7. It seems like a fascinating museum. I really like the light display.

  8. ...when it comes to music things have become smaller and smaller.

  9. I like the Northern lights display, very pretty.

  10. Hello, I would like the sound and light display. I have the ipod and earphones, all my favorite songs loaded. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

  11. I have enjoyed the museum visit William.. the light exhibition you finished with is lovely ✨

  12. I love the pretty lights in the light display.

  13. I have really enjoyed the tour of this museum, William!

  14. I remember the big cabinet radios. they had surprisingly good sound.

  15. Technology changes so fast...that it makes me feel obsolete!

  16. I love that northern lights's beautiful. I can't believe my ipod (4th photo) is on display in a museum. I still use mine although mine is plugged into a speaker system. It won't hold a charge any longer.

  17. I love this sound and light display. So beautiful and it does look like aurora!

  18. Everything gets smaller and smaller and then the trend reverses and we go large again. Weird

  19. @John: that is true!

    @Noke: thank you.

    @Iris: you're welcome.

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Ella: it's well designed.

    @David: I agree.

    @Laurie: I've had the occasional chance to see them. They are breathtaking.

    @Janis: they show themselves when they show themselves. Probably very rarely in your area.

    @Joan: I do as well.

    @Tom: that is true.

    @Sami: quite so.

    @Eileen: thanks!

    @Grace: thank you.

    @DJan: so do I.

    @RedPat: I've enjoyed showing it.

    @Red: that does not surprise me.

    @Janey: I know the feeling.

    @Sharon: tech doesn't last!

    @Tamago: it does!

    @MB: true!

  20. The northern light display is fantastic.

  21. Great to see how these instruments have changed, and I'm glad they did!

  22. Great sound machines and dazzling colors ~ ^_^

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor

  23. This post makes me feel a bit like a dinosaur! lol

  24. @Bill: it definitely is.

    @Marie: quite so.

    @Barbara: yes, things change.

    @Carol: thank you!

    @Happyone: so do I.

    @Michelle: hah!

  25. I've loved this museum. Thank you!

  26. A beautiful installation to depict the aurora borealis.

  27. Thank you for the wonderful virtual tour of the Museum!

  28. Interesting exhibit. I'm old enough to pre-date the Walkman! The Northern Lights display must be wonderful to see.

  29. The original iPod. I was the first in the family to own one -- barely -- but I admit to being slow to the cell phone experience.

  30. Love the NOrthern Lights installation. We were supposed to be able to see the real deal this weekend but we either went to bed too early or it didn't happen. Your exhibit would be the next best thing!

  31. The northern lights installation is fantastic!

  32. Great end of this tour, William. Except for the iPod I've had most of these devices starting with a radio made in 1957.
    I like that imagination of the Aurora Borealis.

  33. @Kay: you're welcome.

    @Joanne: I agree.

    @Magiceye: a pleasure to show it.

    @Pat: I did enjoy the display.

    @Italiafinlandia: definitely.

    @Anvilcloud: my phone isn't actually for making calls, I just use it for photography and the odd bit of web surfing.

    @Jeanie: I have seen the aurora periodically. The further north you go, the better chance you have of seeing it.

    @Jenn: I certainly think so!

    @Jan: thanks!

  34. A quick look at your blog rekindles my desire to visit Ottawa. I have friends living there and it is clear a visit would be a worthwhile trip -- even having to cross the province from the southwest to the eastern edge a long trip, almost the entire length of 401, should not be used as an excuse.

  35. makes me think of Superman ... i visited his neck of the woods recently. funny how your brain does that. ( ;