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Photo Gallery: The IPEM studio: 50 years of electronic music in Belgium

April 2013

Composer Robin Heifetz on the piano at IPEM's Muinkkaai studio. This photo was taken by Michiel Hendryckx to illustrate Heifetz's piano and tape composition That Which Is The Beginning.

The Melowriter – a kind of music typewriter – designed at IPEM in 1976 by Hans Janssen. The Melowriter allowed users to notate compositions into an 8 bit code.

The insides of a Melowriter.

The mechanics lab at IPEM's Muinkkaai space (1965–1970).

Two instruments designed by Walter Landrieu. Top: rhythm programmer for the tracking of a waveform through a patch bay. Centre: bank of 12 tone generators, with a choice between different waveforms. Left: frequency meter.

A generator group developed by Walter Landrieu.

Landrieu's electronic organ (based on a design by Hubert Vuylsteke).

Generator bank with sine wave oscillator group, developed by Walter Landrieu.

Landrieu's mixer with filters.

Composer Louis De Meester at work in IPEM's Technicum studio (circa 1963).

Sound technician Ivan Schepers at work in IPEM's Muinkaai studio (early 1980s).

David Van de Woestijne operating an echo and reverb machine (circa 1963).

Composer Micheline Lesaffre at Brussels's Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). Part of the original IPEM studio is displayed at the MIM.

Ghent University in Belgium has run an electronic and electroacoustic studio for the last 50 years. This is our selection of images from the Institute For Psychoacoustics And Electronic Music (IPEM) archives, as featured in a recently published book on the studio.

In 1963, the BRT (Belgian Radio and Television) set up a studio for electronic music in cooperation with the State University of Ghent, with the intention of operating it as both a creative studio, and a research institution. The first director was Flemish composer Louis De Meester, and one of the first instruments developed was a sine wave generator by Hubert Vuylsteke. His assistant, an engineer called Walter Landrieu, (who built one of the first sequencers in Europe) also invented an instrument that used electronic tubes to generate eight octaves derived from a single base frequency.

470 compositions were realised at IPEM between 1963–1987. It is still operational, housed in the University building Technicum, in the same place it was founded.

IPEM: Institute For Psychoacoustics And Electronic Music: 50 years of Electronic And Electroacoustic Music At The Ghent University is published by Metaphon, and comes with 2CDs of music made at the studio between 1963 and 1999. More details on the book here.