Google Doodle commemorates German musician and Mixtur-Trautonium inventor Oskar Sala.

The Google Doodle for today pays tribute to Oskar Sala, a German musician who helped pioneer electronic music by developing the Mixtur-Trautonium instrument.

Oskar Sala was born on July 18, 1910, into a musically inclined family in Greiz, Germany. Oskar started playing the piano and violin at a young age and even created his own music for both.

Around 1930, Friedrich Trautwein created the Trautonium, an instrument that employed a resistor wire and a metal plate to create an electronic sound wave, and this is when things started to change for Oskar Sala. Although synthesizers are commonly used to generate electronic music nowadays, this was not the case prior to the 1964 release of the Moog synthesizer. The Trautonium and kindred instruments, such as the theremin, were forerunners of the synthesizer and contemporary electronic music in this fashion.

Sala found much inspiration in the instrument’s distinctive sounds. As a result, he became one of the few artists of his time to learn the Trautonium, even performing in front of an audience to help popularize the instrument.

After that, beginning in 1932, Oskar Sala enrolled in the University of Berlin to study physics. He was able to work with Trautwein to give the Trautonium new possibilities because to his schooling.

The Mixtur-Trautonium, so named for its capacity to blend together numerous sound waves and provide the once monophonic instrument multiple melodic voices, was eventually created as a result of this study.

Oskar Sala recorded numerous albums and film scores with the upgraded instruments after their introduction in 1952. Oskar Sala’s variety of sound effects for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds is without a doubt his most notable contribution to popular culture; the electronic aspect of the Mixtur-Trautonium surely added to the film’s eerie atmosphere.

For the rest of his life, Oskar Sala worked to further develop and refine the Mixtur-Trautonium. Sala passed away in 2002, but not before he had taught musicians Peter Pichler how to play the Mixtur-Trautonium, preserving it for future generations. Oskar Salas’ original Mixtur-Trautonium is currently housed in Berlin’s German Museum for Contemporary Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).

The Google Doodle for today is a picture of Oskar Sala playing the Mixtur-Trautonium to honor his life and legacy. Like the Mixtur-remarkable Trautonium’s range of sounds, each letter of the word Google is styled in a completely unique way. The artist also included what look to be two ravens in the top corners, evoking Salas’ contribution to The Birds.

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