The Grainger Electronic Studio

Detail, University of Melbourne Gazette, December 1971 'Electronics in Music'

Jean-Charles Francois and Ian Bonighton in the Grainger Electronic Studio, 1971

Ian Bonighton, Ring modulator diagram, 1969

Ian Bonighton, Ring modulator diagram, 1969

Humble’s return to Melbourne in 1966, after a decade living and working Europe, has been described as a major turning point for contemporary music in Melbourne. Humble chose to make the Grainger Museum the centre of his many activities in musical composition, improvisation, education, experimentation and electronic music. He had met Percy and Ella Grainger in Melbourne in 1956, while the couple were here for a few months organising the displays in the Grainger Museum. Humble became deeply fascinated by Grainger’s forward-thinking approach to compositional experimentation and improvisation.  Humble later wrote that he chose to set up the Electronic Music Studio at the Grainger Museum in 1966:

“ draw attention to the fact that music in Australia did not begin in 1966, it had a tradition which also involved Percy Grainger - and Grainger was not just some kind of crazy crackpot or extrovert.”

The activity that Keith Humble led at the Grainger Museum was an integrated experimental approach, using all the opportunities on hand:

“… it was a question of creating the environment, numbers of people and events. So, the electronic workshop, the SPPNM [Society for the Private Performance of New Music], the [tertiary] educational program…, and the Saturday morning children's programs were all ingredients of a potpourri: the development of a program of enthusiasm, utilising the available material in a positive and a direct way - instead of taking an academic approach."