Tag Archives: Delia Derbyshire

Daphne and Delia

Daphne Oram


I’ve been looking at, and listening to, the works of two remarkable women pioneers of electronic music. I first came across Daphne Oram via the Oramics app for IOS devices, a simulation of the Oramics machine detailed here. The Oramics machine used ten strips of clear film moving over light sensitive cells. Drawing on the strips caused tones to be produced in a way you can simulate in the app.

She was a co-founder of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop but left it within a year to produce material on her own.



Delia Derbyshire


Delia Derbyshire joined the Radiophonic Workshop three years after Daphne left and is perhaps most well known, if at all, for her production of the original Doctor Who theme. The links below include a brief video section showing Delia using tape loops and multiple tape machines decades before such techniques became commonplace.

Both women were original, talented, perhaps somewhat eccentric and largely unrewarded for their brilliance.

One would hope that nowadays recognition would come more easily as obstacles to women have been largely removed from participation in so many formerly male dominated domains.

I do worry, however, that they would nowadays find other obstacles equally insurmountable in the dominance of the arts by the media savvy types producing meretricious  drivel so keenly described by Ruth Dudley Edwards in Killing the Emperors.

There’s a wealth of material on both these brilliant pioneers on the web, some starting points are :-

Daphne Oram here here and on Wikipedia here

Delia Derbyshire here here and on Wikipedia here