A Recording of the First Singing Computer in 1961

The IBM 7094 at Bell Labs in New Jersey became the first computer to sing in 1961 with the 1892 Harry Dacre song “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)” in a very early demonstration of computer speech synthesis. Engineers John Kelly Jr., Carol Lochbaum, and Lou Gerstman developed the idea to program the song into the computer, and music pioneer Max Matthews contributed the accompanying music.

In 1961, the IBM 7094 became the first computer to sing, singing the song Daisy Bell. Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews.

This song inspired the scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey where an emotional HAL 9000 slowly regresses to rudimentary knowledge while being deactivated and sings “Daisy Bell”.

Here’s the full HAL 9000 deactivation scene.

Here’s the original 1894 phonograph recording of the song.

22 years prior to the recording, Homer Dudley, also of Bell Labs, demonstrated his Voder electronic speech synthesizer, one of the earliest speech machines documented. 

via Nag on the Lake

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