Electronic music is a catch-all word for music created with electronic instruments (such as drum machines or synthesisers) or by employing electronic equipment to create music (cuts or pitch shifting), and is frequently not organic in sound. It’s occasionally called “Electronica” or “Techno” instead of “Electronica.” While techno is a subset of electronic music, it isn’t the best term to use to describe the entire supergenre. Electronica, on the other hand, is a name for electronic music that first became popular in the late 1990s, but is now widely regarded as a media buzzword that means nothing . Another prevalent misconception about electronic music is that it all falls under the category of Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short. However, while EDM is one type of electronic music, there are other more. (If you want to get inundated with knowledge, look at the List of Genres.)
What Is Electronic Music and How Does It Work?
Electronic music is ubiquitous in twenty-first-century America. It can be heard at multi-day gatherings like the Electric Daisy Carnival, on top-40 radio, and in a variety of advertisements. Electronic music has a long and complicated history that ranges from obscure avant-garde art music to glitzy disco ballrooms.
Electronic music is, as the name implies, music created with electronic instruments. Electronic music is best understood in contrast to acoustic or conventional music categories such as classical, jazz, or folk music. However, in the twenty-first century, it may be difficult to discern between electronic and non-electronic music because musical traditions such as classical, jazz, and folk are regularly recorded using digital technology, amplified using microphones, and broadcast over the internet.
Electronic Music from the Beginning
Leon Theremin, a Russian musician and inventor, invented the theremin in 1920. When a musician swings his or her hands around the theremin, electromagnetic fields are created, which produce sounds of various pitches. Theremins produce a loud, warbling sound that was popularised in horror and science fiction films in the 1950s.
Several inventors worked on various versions of what would become the synthesiser during the 1930s and 1940s. These electronic devices were designed to imitate the sounds of organs and other traditional instruments, but they quickly became recognised as distinct musical instruments in their own right. During the 1940s, the avant-garde musical movement known as musique concréte used electrical devices in a way that influenced later types of electronic music.
Bruce Haack, a highly inventive Canadian musician who appeared multiple times on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood TV with his different devices in the 1950s and 1960s, began composing electronic music that was originally meant for children. Robert Moog started making his famous line of synthesisers in the 1960s, and they would transform the area of electronic music. Today, Moog synthesisers are still in use.
Disco’s Beginnings and Musical Machines
Electronic music had an explosion of innovation, technological advancement, and appeal starting in the late 1960s. In many aspects, this phase of progress would mirror technological breakthroughs in other areas of technology, such as personal computers and video games. Giorgio Moroder, an Italian-born artist, became a key figure in the development of electronic dance music, particularly the Italo disco style, after relocating to Germany. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Germany was a hotbed of musical experimentalism, particularly in the realm of electronic music. Synthesizers and other electronic instruments were utilised by groups like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can, and Suicide to change rock music into new forms, motivating many individuals around the world to experiment with electronic music.
The space in which fans heard electronic music in the 1970s was just as crucial as the music itself, according to ethnographer and cultural theorist Sarah Thornton. The discotheque, later shortened to disco, was a venue where a DJ played new electronic dance recordings while fans danced to the beat. This was a place where technology reigned supreme, free of the restraints and costs of having a live band. These dance-centered venues paved the way for rave and club culture.
By the mid-1970s, disco music had reached its pinnacle of popularity. Electronic synthesisers and drum machines were coupled to create a dance-friendly type of music that quickly became popular around the world. The European version, led by Giorgio Moroder, was synthesizer-heavy and futuristic sounding. Disco in America was significantly more influenced by funk, soul, and other African-American styles. Disco’s popularity in the United States plummeted in the early 1980s, owing to homophobia and racism, according to some.