Once upon a time there was a computer music system called GROOVE (Generating Realtime Operations On Voltage-controlled Equipment, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey) which outputted in the realm of sound, and was a wonderful and still-unique tool for the composition thereof. At that time a then-young composer who was using GROOVE for music got the harebrained idea that if she made a few minor changes here and there she could use it to compose images as well. This she did in 1974-6, and though the untimely demise of the system prevented creation of much documentation in the form of aesthetic works of its output, the system did function sufficiently to make some description worthwhile. While it is true that the mid-1960s DDP-224 computer on which GROOVE became a VAMPIRE (Video And Music Program for Interactive Realtime Exploration/Experimentation) was a massive room-sized computer, it has by now long been eclipsed in power by the constantly improving home computer. It is worth describing the concepts involved in part because there are by now many small computers capable of emulating its musical methods. Besides, I had a deep personal relationship with that computer, and wish to commemorate it. Here then follows the tale of Graphical GROOVE, aka the VAMPIRE.
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