Dose of Delia: Birthday edition
I’m dead keen on limiting resources…You need to have discipline in order to be truly creative. If you’re just given total freedom to do anything you like… You’ve got to impose some discipline on either the form you’re going to use or the sounds you’re going to use.
Today’s Dose of Delia is in honor of what would have been the composer’s 72nd birthday. As I’ve said in the past, Delia Derbyshire is best known to sci-fi fans for her electronic realization of Ron Grainer’s theme music for the BBC television series Doctor Who.
It sounds like synthesizers, but Delia’s recording of Doctor Who was created with tape editing, electronic filters and tape loops. She’d record individual notes from oscillators and other electronic sources, one by one onto tape, cut them up with a razor and stick them back together in order. As someone who’s edited miles of tape, I can tell you: that’s a long and labor-intensive process. Delia assembled Doctor Who over the course of two weeks.
Within a matter of months [after joining the BBC Radiophonic Workshop] she had created her recording of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme, one of the most famous and instantly recognisable TV themes ever… “Did I really write this?” [Grainer] asked. “Most of it,” replied Derbyshire.
On the score he’d written “sweeps”, “swoops”… beautiful words… “wind cloud”, “wind bubble”… so I got to work and put it together and when Ron heard the results.. oh he was tickled pink!
Have a jelly baby and enjoy Delia Derbyshire’s recording of the Doctor Who theme. Happy birthday, Delia!