The first-ever computer-generated piece of music that was created by Alan Turing has been restored by researchers.
The recording, which starts with a rendition of the British National Anthem, was created in 1951 using a machine built by Alan Turing, but the sound was distorted until now.
The University of Canterbury in New Zealand have managed to restore the audio, which includes renditions of God Save the Queen, Baa, Baa Black Sheep and In the Mood by Glenn Miller, was preserved on a 12-inch acetate disc.
“It was a beautiful moment when we first heard the true sounds of Turing’s computer,” said Jack Copeland and Jason Long, the researchers behind the restoration.
Turing, who is known for cracking seemingly unbreakable codes during the Second World War, helped create the two-minute-long track using a machine that filled most of the Computing Machine Laboratory in Manchester’s ground floor.
It marked the beginning of electronically composed music, including synthesizers and modern electronica.
“The frequencies in the recording were not accurate,” Copeland and Long told the AFP. “The recordings gave at best only a rough impression of how the computer sounded.”
To restore the sound of the audio, Copeland and Long increased the tempo of the track, filtered out “extraneous noise” and removed a “troublesome wobble” from the recording. They hope that their work will draw attention to Turing’s role in the creation of electronic music.
“Alan Turing’s pioneering work in the late 1940s on transforming the computer into a musical instrument has been largely overlooked,” the researchers said to the AFP.
Alan Turing is most well known for cracking the Enigma code while working at Bletchley Park during World War Two, an achievement which was recently celebrated in the film The Imitation Game.
Despite his code-breaking skills, Alan Turing was prosecuted for “gross indecency” after the war on account of his sexuality.
He ended up committing suicide in 1954 having undergone a forced “chemical castration” treatment. The Queen posthumously pardoned him in 2013.