Fascinating music

Who was Oskar Sala? Google Doodle celebrates German electronic music pioneer on his 112th birthday

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

Born in Greiz, Germany, in 1910, Sala has been immersed in music since birth. Her mother was a singer and her 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 with the tonal possibilities and the technology offered by the instrument. His life mission became the mastery of trautonium and its development, which inspired his studies in physics and composition at school.

This new orientation led Sala to develop his own instrument called the melange-traautonium. With his training as a composer and electro-engineer, he creates electronic music that sets his style apart from others. The architecture of the mix-traautonium is so unique that it was able to play multiple sounds or voices simultaneously.

From behind the door of a recording studio, Sala composed musical pieces and sound effects for numerous television, radio and film productions, such as Rosemary (1959) and The Birds (1962). The instrument created noises like bird calls, pounding and slamming of doors and windows.

Sala has received several awards for his work – he has given many interviews, met many artists and been honored in radio shows and films. In 1995 he donated his original trautonium mixture to the German Museum of Contemporary Technology.

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

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


In 2021, Google celebrated the 160th birthday of Indian physician Kadambini Ganguly, the first woman to train as a doctor in India. (Picture: Google.com)
In 2018, Google Doodle celebrated Pakistani ghazal musician Mehdi Hassan on his 91st birthday.  (Picture: Google.com)
In 2018, Google Doodle celebrated Pakistani ghazal musician Mehdi Hassan on his 91st birthday. (Picture: Google.com)
In 2014, Google celebrated Nelson Mandela's 96th birthday.  (Picture: Google.com)
In 2014, Google celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday. (Picture: 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 JWST or Webb – a scientific phenomenon and one of the greatest technical prowess of mankind.

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