Caption: Director Dianna Dilworth
Director Dianna Dilworth 

Mellodrama: the Signature Sound of Progressive Rock

From: John Diliberto
Series: Echo Location: Soundings for New Music
Length: 03:30

The Mellotron was the sound of progressive rock and space music in the 1970s. Before digital synthesizers, it was an instrument that played back the sounds of orchestras, choirs, and more to generate the grandeur of The Moody Blues, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson and more. Dianna Dilworth has chronicled the birth of the Mellotron, going back to the late 1940s and the Chamberlin keyboard as well as its current revival. We talk to her about these instruments and their epic journey.

Dilworthdianna_small

The Mellotron was the sound of progressive rock and space music in the 1970s. Before digital synthesizers, it was an instrument that played back the sounds of orchestras, choirs, and more to generate the grandeur of The Moody Blues, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson and more. Dianna Dilworth has chronicled the birth of the Mellotron, going back to the late 1940s and the Chamberlin keyboard as well as its current revival. We talk to her about these instruments and their epic journey.

It's part of Echo Location: Soundings for New Music, the weekly digest from Echoes host and Peabody Award winning producer John Diliberto, exploring the latest in modern music with quick hitting interviews, music and commentary. Each edition of Echo Location features a beautifully edited music blend, that's combined with John's thoughtful insights and artists's comments to make a sound-rich journey for listeners. Each episode can stand on its own or be scheduled as a weekly or occasional series.

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Piece Description

The Mellotron was the sound of progressive rock and space music in the 1970s. Before digital synthesizers, it was an instrument that played back the sounds of orchestras, choirs, and more to generate the grandeur of The Moody Blues, Tangerine Dream, King Crimson and more. Dianna Dilworth has chronicled the birth of the Mellotron, going back to the late 1940s and the Chamberlin keyboard as well as its current revival. We talk to her about these instruments and their epic journey.

It's part of Echo Location: Soundings for New Music, the weekly digest from Echoes host and Peabody Award winning producer John Diliberto, exploring the latest in modern music with quick hitting interviews, music and commentary. Each edition of Echo Location features a beautifully edited music blend, that's combined with John's thoughtful insights and artists's comments to make a sound-rich journey for listeners. Each episode can stand on its own or be scheduled as a weekly or occasional series.

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top shelf stuff

very well-crafted & mighty informative.

Broadcast History

WXPN, Philadelphia and WITF, Harrisburg

Transcript

Music: Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare
:14
SOMETIMES JUST THE SOUND OF AN INSTRUMENT CAN HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT. MARK SHREEVE IS A NOTED ENGLISH SPACE MUSIC COMPOSER. HE REMEMBERS LYING IN BED IN 1974, WHEN HE TUNED INTO THE BBC AND HEARD THE MELLOTRON ON TANGERINE DREAMS ALBUM, "PHAEDRA."

:18
Mark shreeve: I switched on the radio, I laid back onto the pillow, my head started to spin, and these mellotron chords started to wash over me. Almost instantly I thought, this is possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I have never, ever heard anything like this.

Musik "Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare"
:15
THE MELLOTRON WAS THE SOUND OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK, BUT EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOUR GENESIS FROM YOUR GENTLE GIANT, YOU'VE HEARD THE INSTRUMENT. WHEN DIRECTOR DIANNA DILWORTH IS EXPLAINING HER MELLOTRON DOCUMENTARY, ME...
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Timing and Cues

incue: SOMETIMES JUST THE SOUND OF AN INSTRUMENT CAN HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT.

Outcue: I’m John Diliberto and this has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare Tangerine Dream Phaedra. 1974 :15
Strawberry Fields Forever The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. :10
In the Court of the Crimson King King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King. :10
Tuesday Afternoon The Moody Blues Days of Future Passed . 1967 :05