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Electronic Music

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Cassandra Ascenzi

on 26 May 2016

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Transcript of Electronic Music

Electronic Music
Expansion: 1960s
In the 1960s, the synthesizer was becoming more accessible for both academic and personal use
The theremin was becoming increasingly more popularly used in the advent of the science-fiction genre in both film and television (e.g.
Doctor Who
In 1961, composer Josef Tal established the
Centre for Electronic Music in Israel,
Israel's first electronic music studio, at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel
In 1962, American composers Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender established the
San Francisco Tape Music Center
, a nonprofit organization aiming to present concerts and offer education to those who wanted to learn about the tape music genre
In the same year, composer Stan Shaff and equipment designer Doug McEachern presented the first “Audium” concert at San Francisco State College, the first concert presented in surround-sound
In 1968, composer Wendy Carlos released his first album
Switched-On Bach
, a collection of pieces by Johannes Sebastian Bach performed by him on a Moog synthesizer
In the latter half of the 1960s, pop and rock bands including The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Pearl Jam, and Genesis began to use electronic instruments to define their sound
Popularization: 1970s - 1980s
In 1970, American instrument manufacturing company Moog Music released the
the first widely available, portable and relatively affordable synthesizer sold in the United States
The Mini-Moog became popularly used in popular and electronic music, becoming the most widely used synthesizer of that time
Musician Patrick Gleeson popularized the use of synthesizers for live performances, as they were lighter and more portable than earlier machines
In 1972, musician Isao Tomita produced
Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock,
the first Japanese electronic rock album
From progressive rock, several musical genres spawned:
new-age music
punk rock
, and
1930s - 1950s
In 1906, American investor Lee de Forest invented the triode
Audion tube
, a thermionic valve (or "vacuum tube") that could create and transmit audio signals and radio waves from place to place
In the years following the triode audion tube , the invention of other electronic instruments followed: the
Audion piano,
also by Lee de Forest, in 1915; and the
, by Russian professor Léon Theramin circa 1919-1920
Inspired by these inventions, as well as the now-public availability of the previously privately-sold
, developed by inventor Thaddeus Cahill in 1897, composers including Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters, and Fillipo Tomasso Marinetti began to use emerging technologies in their music in the early 1920s, sparking the Futurism movement
Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music
In 1907, Italian composer, pianist, conductor, editor, writer, and piano teacher Ferrucio Busoni published
Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music
, an essay that discussed the aspects of music, particularly the emerging technologies of music:

Music as an art, our so-called occidental music, is hardly four hundred years old; its state is one of development, perhaps the very first stage of a development beyond present conception, and we — we talk of 'classics' and 'hallowed traditions'! And we have talked of them for a long time! We have formulated rules, stated principles, laid down laws;—we apply laws made for maturity to a child that knows nothing of responsibility! Young as it is, this child, we already recognize that it possesses one radiant attribute which signalizes it beyond all its elder sisters. And the lawgivers will not see this marvelous attribute, lest their laws should be thrown to the winds. This child—it floats on air! It touches not the earth with its feet. It knows no law of gravitation . . . it is almost Nature herself.
(Busoni 3-4)
In 1935, German electronics company AEG developed the first audio tape recorder they branded the
Magentophan K1
, made of magnetic material
This invention opened up new possibilities for musicians, composers, producers, and engineers for a number of reasons:

1. It was generally cheaply sold
2. It was a pliable material not prone to breakage
3. It was easy to manipulate
4. It had excellent memory
The spread of tape recorders lead to the development of earliest form of
electroacoustic tape music
, called
musique concrète

Futurism and
The Manifesto of Futurist Musicians
was an early twentieth century art movement which encompassed painting, sculpture, poetry, theater, music, architecture, and astronomy
Futurist music rejected traditional approaches to music, instead focusing on experimentation inspired by machinery
In 1910, Italian composer, musicologist, and essayist Francesco Balilla Pratella joined the movement, and wrote the
Manifesto of Futurist Musicians
in 1910, the
Technical Manifesto of Futurist Music
in 1911, and
The Destruction of Quadrature
in 1912 in response to it; in the
Manifesto of Futurist Musicians
, he encourages Futurist musicians:
1. To convince young composers to desert formal schools, conservatories, and musical academies for free study
2. To ignore any reviews given by critics or academics
3. To abstain from participating in any competitions
4. To keep distance from commercial and academic circles and adopt a modest life
5. To feel the liberation of individual music sensibility free past influences
6. To destroy the prejudice for "well-made" music
7. To proclaim that the reign of the singer must end
8. To transform the title and value of the “operatic libretto” into the title and value of “dramatic or tragic poem for music”
9. To combat historical reconstructions, traditional stage sets, and contemporary dress
10. To combat sacred music
11. To provoke in the public an ever-growing hostility towards old works

The Art of Noises
In 1913, Italian painter and composer Luigi Russolo wrote
The Art of Noises
, a classification of "noise-sound" in six categories, in response to the sound art movement happening within Futurism:

1. Roars, claps, noises of falling water, driving noises, bellows
2. Whistles, snores, snorts
3. Whispers, utterings, rustlings, grumbles, grunts, gurgles
4. Shrill sounds, cracks, buzzings, jingles, shuffles
5. Percussive noises using metal, wood, skin, shouts, moans, screams, stone, baked earth, etc.
6. Animal and human voices: shouts, moans, screams, laughter, rattlings, sobs
Musicians could only create these sounds using Russolo's own invention, the

Musique concrète
Musique concrète
is a genre of electroacoustic music that combines
acousmatic sound
and musical instruments, the human voice, and/or processing
It was created by Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabu, who recorded a section of a traditional zaar ceremony using a wire recorder and processed the tape using reverberation, echo, voltage controls, and re-recording; his creation,
The Expression of Zaar
, became the first
musique concrète
However, in 1942, French composer, writer, broadcaster, engineer, musicologist and acoustician Pierre Schaeffer founded the Studio d'Assai, where he began to experiment with sound manipulation that by 1949 became publicly known as
musique concrète
In 1952, Schaeffer published
À la recherche d'une musique concrète
, a collection of works which discussed the development of musique concrète:
"When I proposed the term 'musique concrète,' I intended . . . to point out an opposition with the way musical work usually goes. Instead of notating musical ideas on paper with the symbols of solfege and entrusting their realization to well-known instruments, the question was to collect concrete sounds, wherever they came from, and to abstract the musical values they were potentially containing"
(Schaeffer 10)
Based on Schaeffer's works, three major groups established: the
Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète
, and the
Groupe de Recherches Musicales,
and the
Traité des objets musicaux
Tools used in
musique concrète
included record players, recorders, mixing desks, filters, and microphones
Elektronische Musik
For a number of years, beginning in 1952, German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen worked in Schaeffer's studio, where he learned from him the techniques involved in
musique concrète
In 1953, the
studio für elektronische Musik
(Studio for Electronic Music), the world's first electronic music studio, opened by physicist, experimental acoustician, phoneticist and information theorist Werner Meyer-Eppler, and music theorist, musicologist, journalist, music critic, editor, radio producer, and composer Herbert Eimert in Cologne, Germany
Meyer-Eppler earlier conceived the idea to solely synthesize music from electronicaly produced signals in his 1949 thesis
Elektronische Klangerzeugung: Elektronische Musik und Synthetische Sprache
Meyer-Eppler and Eimert were soon joined by Stockhausen (having become disinterested in
musique concrète
) and German-Argentine composer Mauricio Kegel
In 1954, Stockhausen composed
Elektronische Studie II
, the first electronic piece to be published as a score; from its success, electronic music studios began to appear all over the world
Japanese electronic music
After Word War II ended, the Japanese began to experiment with electronic music
In 1948, Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu developed his own version of
musique concrète
, in which he
"[brought] noise into tempered musical tones inside a busy small tube"
In 1949 and 1951 respectively, electronics corporation Sony developed their own versions of magnetic tape: the G-type (for courtroom and office use) and the H-type (for home use)
In 1950, musicians Toru Takemitsu, Kuniharu Akiyama, and Joji Yuasa — supported by Sony — founded the
Jikken Kōbō
(Experimental Workshop), Japan's first electronic music studio
The studio's first piece, "
Toraware no Onna
" ("Imprisoned Woman") was the first electronic music piece ever recorded in Japan
Japan was formally introduced to
musique concrète
through composer Toshiro Mayuzumi in 1952 after he attended a Schaeffer concert in Paris, France, in which he recorded a
musique concrète
piece for the Japenese comedy film
Carmen Jyunjyosu
(Carmen With Pure Heart), which inspired several Japanese electroacoustic musicians to use of serialism and twelve-tone techniques
American electronic music
From 1939 to 1952, American composer John Cage published pieces which would become the series
Imaginary Landscape

the first electronic music work published by an American composer
In 1952, Columbia University purchased its first tape recorder; though its original use was for recording purposes, composer Vladimir Ussachevsky experimented with it, and presented several demonstrations of his tape music and effects that he created at his Composers Forum in the McMillin Theatre on May 8 of the same year
Three months later, German-American composer and conductor Otto Luening invited Ussachevsky to his home in Bennington, Vermont to collaborate with him, and they composed several pieces they would go on to present at the first American tape music concert on October 28
From this concert, electronic music spread throughout the United States, and by 1954, major composers including
In 1958, Columbia, in collaboration with Princeton University, developed the
RCA Mark II Sound Synthesizer
, the first programmable synthesizer
Birth of computer Music
Computer music
is the application of computing technology in music composition
In 1951, Australian scientists Trevor Pearcey and Maston Beard had invented
the first computer to play digital music
In 1961, American computer engineer LaFarr Stuart programmed Iowa State University's
computer to play commonly-known tunes through an amplified speaker
However, it was not until February 10, 1962 when computer-produced music was exposed to the public in a radio broadcast on the NBC radio network program Monitor, in which a pre-recorded piece composed by a computer was played
Progressive rock
Progressive rock
is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom that was prominent in the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s
The goal of progressive rock music was to abandon typical instrumentation and compositional techniques common in rock music of the time in favour of those associated with classical or jazz music
Progressive rock musicians usually have a higher degree of instrumental and/or vocal skill
Unusual tempo, key, and time signature changes and blurred musical forms are common in progressive rock compositions
Bands and artists including The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Pearl Jam, and Genesis began the progressive rock movement
New-age music
New-age music is a genre of music intended to create a sense of artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism in the listener
It is commonly used in yoga, massage, and meditation sessions to assist in stress management or to create a peaceful atmosphere
Topics present in new-age music often include environmentalism or spirituality
New-age music combines both electronic music and acoustic music with the use of electronic instruments including synth pads and sequencers and acoustic instruments including flutes, a piano, and acoustic guitars
Stephen Halpern's
Spectrum Suite
and Mannheim Steamroller's
Fresh Aire
, both released in 1975, are regarded as the first new-age music albums ever made, and are what started the new-age movement
New-age was initially produced and sold only by independent labels
By 1985, independent and chain record retail stores were adding sections for new age, and major labels began showing interest in the genre
By 1989, there were over 150 small independent record labels releasing new-age music and over 40 distributors were selling new-age music through mail-order catalogs.
Punk rock
Punk rock
is is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.
Punk rock bands rejected the sentimentality of mainstream 1970s rock in favour of aggressiveness
Punk rock songs are typically short or fast-paced with hard-edged melodies and singing styles and stripped-down instrumentation
Topics present in punk rock often include political and social issues, anti-establishment, anti-sentimental depictions of love and sex
Typical punk rock instrumentation includes one or two electric guitars, an electric bass, and a drum kit
Punk rock bands take a minimalistic approach to producing punk rock music, adding as very little electronic effects and/or using as few little electronic instruments as possible (or none at all) to keep their sound authentic
The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and The Ramones pioneered the punk rock movement

is a genre of popular music that first became prominent in the 1980s
Primary instruments used in synthpop are synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers
Many synthpop musicians had limited musical skills, relying solely on technology to produce music
Due to this, synthpop music was minimalist, with repeated riffs and no harmonic progression
Topics present in synthpop often include isolation, social rejection, and feelings of emotional coldness and/or hollowness
In the latter half of the 1980s, synthpop musicians incorporated dance beats and more conventional rock instrumentation
Duran Duran, Visage, Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode, Thomas Dolby, Blancmange, and Tears for Fears are pioneers of he synthpop movement

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