Today’s Google Doodle, on Monday 18 July (2022), marks the 112th birth anniversary of Oskar Sala.
Today’s Google Doodle: who is Oskar Sala?
Oskar Sala was an inventive electronic music composer and German physicist born in Greiz, Germany, on 18 July, 1910.
Dubbed the pioneer of electronic music, Sala reportedly was surrounded by music since birth with a mother who was a singer and a father who, despite being an ophthalmologist, was also a musical talent.
Sala became famous for developing and mastering the ‘mixture-trautonium’ in 1936, which imparted a unique sound to movies, television, and radio.
This was only one year after he was studying physics at the University of Berlin in 1935.
By creating this musical instrument, Sala “electrified the world of television, radio, and film,” according to Google’s Doodle page.
Even at age 14, Sala had cemented his reputation as a musical genius as he started composing songs across instruments like the piano and violin.
Why is Oskar Sala famous?
After inventing the ‘mixture-trautonium’, Sala composed sound effects and musical pieces for a wide array of productions which saw him reach fame.
This included famous movies like The Birds (1963) and Rosemary (1959).
Due to the versatility of his instruments, which could perfectly produce sounds like doors slamming or birds chirping, Sala received multiple awards for his talents including a Merit Cross.
In 1995, it was reported that Sala donated his original mixture-trautonium to the German Museum for Contemporary Technology and built other instruments including the Concert Trautonium, the Volkstrautonium and the Quartett-Trautonium.
“His efforts in electronic music opened the field of subharmonics. With his dedication and creative energy, he became a one-man orchestra,” the Google doodle page said.
What is a Mixture-trautonium? Oskar Sala’s crowning achievement
The Trautonium is an electronic synthesiser invented by Friedrich Trautwein in Berlin, back in 1930.
It is played by sliding a finger along a resistive wire which contacts a rail underneath, producing sound.
This was later developed into the ‘Mixture-trautonium’ by the Trautonium virtuoso himself, Oskar Sala, in 1936.
Sala added an electronic percussion to his enhanced design, along with other components like noise generators and an electric metronome.
Eventually, he enhanced the instrument to the point that it could simulate a fully electronic orchestra, a remarkable feat for the time of its creation.
When did Oskar Sala die?
Oskar Sala died on 26 February 2002 at the age of 91.
The exact cause of his death is not fully understood but it is suspected that it was simply due to old age.
On 18 July we honour Oskar Sala for his legendary career and lifetime dedicated to music. Happy birthday, Oskar Sala.