Delia Derbyshire Day 2022

A day to celebrate the history of British electronic music 

Words by The Coolicon Team

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Delia Derbyshire 1937 - 2001

Electronic music pioneer, Delia Derbyshire, found her inspiration for compositions in everyday objects; the seemingly mundane, filled with opportunity for sound.

Known for her arrangement of the Doctor Who theme tune among many other greats, Derbyshire’s work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop saw a whole new appreciation for electronic music rise in Britain. Her fascination with sound and exploration of instrument grew from a young age and was ignited “by a visit to the Brussels World's Fair in 1958 where she experienced Edgard Varèse's Poème Électronique installed in Le Corbusier's pavilion.” This experience of electronic music, infused with architecture and visual art, deeply influenced Derbyshire’s compositions throughout her career. 

When music and lighting meet

Experimenting with everyday objects, Derbyshire came across a “tatty metal lampshade” which gave off the perfect eerie tone. This lampshade was soon identified as an original Standard Coolicon® and became one of her favourite sound sources when composing music and scores. The haunting metallic ring can be heard throughout her work, at times alongside her own voice as in “The World About Us”, while others such as “The Dreams” comprised mostly of manipulated lampshade recordings. 

“A favourite sound source; the tatty green lampshade"

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Delia Derbyshire Day

Delia Derbyshire Day is a charity in honour of Delia Derbyshire who aim to advance the art and education of music technology and the history of British electronic music. By sharing the work of Derbyshire with the public, DD Day encourage local artists to join in, become inspired and create new music and art to in turn inspire others.

A lasting legacy of Delia Derbyshire

Derbyshire was a huge influence on those in the field of sonic invention and electronic music and will continue to inspire generations to come. 

In support of DD Day and the pioneering work of Delia herself, we’re pleased to recognise the important work DD Day are doing to preserve such an important influence on British electronic music. Continuing to celebrate this legacy today, brilliant artists, such as Caro C, pioneer sounds and installations generated by the original Coolicon lampshades of today.

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