Oramics is a drawn sound technique designed in 1957 by musician Daphne Oram. The machine was further developed in 1962 after receiving a grant from the Gulbenkian Foundation. The technique, similar to Yevgeny Sholpo’s “Variophone”, involves drawing on 35mm film strips to control the sound produced.
Oram’s composition machine was created using a large rectangular metal frame, which gave the user a table like surface, upon which ten synchronised strips of clear sprocketed 35mm film traversed. Upon the film the musician drew shapes to create a mask which modulated the light received by photocells.
Although the output from the machine was monophonic, the sounds could be added to multitrack tapes to provide more texture.
The technique has similarities to that used by Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren, in some of whose films sounds were created by drawing or printing various patterns (e.g. shapes such as triangles, circles, etc.) along the optical soundtrack area of the film.