The Experimental Music Studio (EMS) recordings consist of 158 audio reels of performances and compositions created at MIT as part of the EMS program. The collection features some of the earliest recordings of computer music including works by Joan La Barbara, Tod Machover, Mario Davidovsky, and Charles Dodge, along with other composers, programmers, and artists.



Founded in 1973 by Barry Vercoe, EMS was the first facility in the world to dedicate digital computers to the full-time research and composition of computer music. The studio was responsible for developing and improving technologies including real-time digital synthesis, graphical patching languages, and advanced music languages.


Professors Barry Vercoe and Marcus Thompson working in front of a graphical score editor, circa 1976.

Collections Processing and Access

The Experimental Music Studio Recordings is in the process of being digitized thanks to a generous Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. Please check back in June 2021 for the finding aid and samples of music, or email twebb@mit.edu for further information.


For inquiries on the use of images, video, and other materials, contact ACT’s Project Archivist  or email actreference@mit.edu.