by Ron Mak.
X2077.2001, Gift of Ron Mak.
1403 printer was noisy, but it could also be musical!
Clever engineers figured out what line of characters to print
to make a noise at a given pitch, and how many times to print
that line repeatedly to sustain that pitch for a given duration.
In other words, the printer could play musical notes.
All that was
needed was a program for the IBM 1401 computer system that
read in a deck of punched cards, each card containing a single
note of melody, and then played the melody on the printer.
The tempo could be adjusted using the sense switches on the
here are from a performance recorded in about 1970 in the
computer room of the Richmond (California) Unified School
District,. The computer operators (whose voices can be heard
on the original tape recording) made the recording by holding
the microphone in front of the printer.