Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Delia Derbyshire (May 5, 1937 - July 3, 2001) was a pioneer of electronic music. She is perhaps best known for her electronic realisation of Ron Grainer's theme to the British science fiction television series Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
Ron Grainer was so amazed by her rendition of his original theme that he attempted to get her a co-composer credit, but this was prevented by BBC bureaucracy. Derbyshire's interpretation of Grainer's theme used electronic oscillators and magnetic audio tape editing (including tape loops and reverse tape effects) to create an eerie and unearthly sound that was quite unlike anything that had been heard before or since. Derbyshire's original Doctor Who theme is believed to have been the first television theme to be created and produced by entirely electronic means. More recent arrangements of the theme, realized using conventional synthesizers, have been criticized by some Doctor Who fans as being poor imitations.
Some of her most acclaimed work was done in the 1960s in collaboration with the British artist and playwright Barry Bermange , for the Third Programme (the radio station which later evolved into BBC Radio 3). Besides the Dr Who theme, Derbyshire also composed and produced scores, incidental pieces and themes for many BBC radio and TV programmes. A selection of some of her best 1960s electronic music creations for the BBC can be found on the album Radiophonic Music (BBC Records), which was re-released on CD in 2003.
See also: Peter Zinovieff
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