September 1998
In Memoriam
Three Pioneers of Electronics and Information


In this month's column, I was going to continue the discussion I started last issue on the future of documentation, but that can wait. (The debate continues in Talkback.) Instead, I want to pay tribute to three people who passed away recently--two after good long lives, and one, sadly, in the prime of his career. You may never have heard of them--they were never on the cover of Rolling Stone, or of this magazine, for that matter--but each of them, in his or her own highly individualistic and modest way, had a profound influence on the way I and, I would venture, many others make and think about music.

Clara Rockmore, who died in May at the age of 88, was the first musical virtuosa of the electronic age. Her instrument was the Theremin, that eerie-sounding invention of the Russian physicist by the same name. It was the first musical instrument that could be played without touching it, and it found its way into dozens of science-fiction film soundtracks, started Bob Moog's career as an instrument designer, and captivated a new generation when Brian Wilson laid it on top of his masterpiece "Good Vibrations."

The rest of this column, along with 56 more, is now available in The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader, published by Thomson Course Technology PTR.

Copyright ©2006 by Paul D. Lehrman