What is Electronic Music?
Electronic music (AKA Bleeps and Bloops) has come to be one of the most widely expressed and diversified genres in the current musical climate, if simply because it incorporates such a wide definition. Since its use in the mid-20th century as a form of experimentation, artists have employed the use of synthesizers to generate sound and computers to modulate and edit music in new and innovative ways not previously seen possible.
Electronic music is referred to on /mu/ in a number of forms. Formally, the term regards music that employs the use of electronic instruments to create and modify sound; however, there are a great number of sub-genres each with active and vibrant communities.
Whether it be dance, electro, drum-and-bass, ambient, jungle or techno, electronic music has evolved to fit many forms of musical expression.
Origins of Electronic Music
Early Uses of Electronic Music (pre-1900's)
As early as the 1850's, engineers used the capabilities of existing machinery to generate sound through electrical signals, though the concept of a device that could play in melody was not explored. Early instruments, such as the Telharmonium, created in 1897, consisted of a physical medium (a tonewheel) augmented with the capability of transmitting its audio signals across wires. Composers embraced the possibility of using new technologies as either gimmicks, or, in the case of Italian futurists such as Ferruccio Busoni and Luigi Russolo, conceptual and experimental statements about the future of music.
Electronic Experimental Music / Musique Concrete (1940's - 1960's)
In the 20's and 30's the Hammond Organ and Theremin became novelties that built upon the design principles of instruments made the previous century. It was not until the popular use of the tape recorder that the next great development in electronic music would originate. 'Tape music', as it was called, predominated fringe experimental art circles and found popularity in France, Germany, the U.S. and Japan. Composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen used tape to 'compose' with synthesized sounds, a process that reached its most popular in the late 1960's as experimental and avant-garde music.