Research in computer music at the University of Padua, Italy, began in the early 1970s and was formalized in 1979 by establishing the Centro di Sonologia Computazionale (CSC). Since its foundation, CSC has established itself as a leading research center in the field of computer music. This article describes the scientific and musical research activities of the center and of the composers and members who worked in association with it in its first four decades. The center's historical background with its musical and scientific precursors is also chronicled, as are important events at CSC. An outline of its scientific research activity is then traced, with aspects of the technical details in its different areas of activities, showing the distinctive research ethos and the changing priorities of the center. Research from the 1970s is also included, as it led to the foundation of the CSC. Moreover, selected musical works, representative of CSC works from historical and scientific points of view, are described. Finally, perspectives for future developments are discussed.