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Electronic Music Unit
Transcript of Electronic Music Unit
In the late 1950s in London the term "Rave" was used to describe the "wild bohemian parties" of the Soho beatnik set
Cliche' Beatnik Attire
A rave (from the verb: to rave) is a large party or festival featuring performances by disc jockeys (colloquially called DJs) and occasionally live performers playing electronic music, particularly electronic dance music (EDM)
Music played at raves include house, trance, techno, drum and bass, dubstep and other forms of electronic dance music with the accompaniment of laser light shows, projected images, visual effects and smoke machines.
The Telharmonium (also known as the Dynamophone) was an early electronic musical instrument, developed by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897. The electrical signal from the Telharmonium was transmitted over wires; it was heard on the receiving end by means of 'horn' speakers
The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison on 18 July 1877. It is a precursor to the Record Disk
Magnetic tape was invented for recording sound by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928 in Germany, based on the invention of magnetic wire recording by Valdemar Poulsen in 1898
Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film.
The theremin is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact from the player.
It is named after the westernized name of its Russian inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.
Clara Rockmore playing the Theremin
Modern Day Theremin
Leon Theremin playing his invention
musique concrète, (French: “concrete music”), experimental technique of musical composition using recorded sounds as raw material. The technique was developed about 1948 by the French composer Pierre Schaeffer and his associates at the Studio d’Essai (“Experimental Studio”) of the French radio system.
'psyche rock' - Pierre Henry (1967)
'Étude aux sons animés' - Pierre Schaeffer (1958)
Rave Scene of the 90s
'music sounds better with you' - Stardust (1998)
'On and On' - Jesse Saunders (1984)
'I feel love' - Donna Summer (1977)
The term "house music" is widely cited to have originated as a reference to a Chicago nightclub called The Warehouse which existed from 1977 to 1983
With the popularity of Disco growing, the genre called for something new. Donna Summer's 'I feel love' gave people what they were looking for. This song showed that music could be popular, make people dance and be made almost entirely from electronic instruments.
Jesse Saunders 'On and On' showed many of the elements that would become a staple of modern house music such as; 4 on the floor kick drum, off beat hi-hat, bass heavy, the use of the Roland TB-303 and the Roland TR-808
Roland TR 808
Roland TB 303
House music today comes in many styles. Some Popular genres are Funky House, Electro House, and my favorites Tech House and Deep House.
Most of the elements of the early House of the 80s and 90s are present in today's House. However the development of new technologies have allowed for higher levels of complexity and crisper sounds. A great example of modern Tech House is 'Spunk' by Dopamine.
'Spunk' - Dopamine (2009)
Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of between 110 and 150 beats per minute, repeating melodic phrases, and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track. It is a combination of many styles of electronic music such as techno, house, pop, chill - out, classical music , and film music.
Trance employs aural dynamics to a great degree: A characteristic of virtually all trance songs is the soft mid- song breakdown, beginning with and occurring after the orchestration is broken down and the rhythm tracks fade out rapidly, l eaving the melody and/or atmospherics to stand alone for anywhere from seconds to a few minutes. When vocals are present in trance, they are generally sung by a female with a soaring, operatic voice ranging from mezzo- soprano to soprano, best described as "ethereal female leads floating amongst the synths".
Early house music was generally dance - based music characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats and rhythms centered around drum machines, off - beat hi - hat cymbals and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, it was more electronic and minimalistic, and the structured music's focus around a repetitive rhythm was more important than the song itself. House music today, while keeping several of these core elements, notably the prominent kick drum on every beat, varies a lot in style and influence, ranging from the soulful and atmospheric deep house, to the more minimalistic microhouse. House music has also fused with several other genres creating fusion subgenres, such as Euro house, tech house, and electro house.
'Shivers' - Armin Van Burren (2006)
Melodic uplifting trance music first appeared in 1993 in Frankfurt. However earlier tracks can be cited as a major inspiration to the style. In particular Klaus Schulze's album 'Trancerfer.' The minimal sound in combination with repetitive rhythms and arpeggiated sounds clearly resembles the basic elements of modern day trance music.
'For An Angel' - Paul Van Dyk (1994)
Trancefer' - Klaus Schulze (1981)
Paul van Dyk, a pioneer of trance, clearly shows us what the style is all about. Stomping Kick drums with a driving bass line and soaring vocals all come together to create an uplifting and euphoric sound that is classic Euro Trance.
Trance Has evolved into many sub-genres such as Hard Trance, Progressive Trance and Psy Trance. Although these styles are still based around the same principles of the early trance scene, they still offer their own particular flavor.
Psy Trance offers a much faster tempo, heavy use of modified synthesizer sound and tribal rhythms. A great example of modern day Psy Trance is 'The Path' by Talpa
'The Path' - Talpa
Although the first Moog synthesisers were built in the early 50s, it wasn't until the late 60s that it gained popularity. The first Moogs were large and required many patches (cable connections) to even get a sound out of it.
Because of the increasing popularity of the Moog synthesiser, the company released a much smaller and easier to use version called the 'Minimoog.'
Original Modular Moog Synthesiser
Minimoog Model D (1970)
The Moog was solidified as a legitimate instrument when Kieth Emmerson, from 'Emerson, Lake and Palmer' used the moog to make their own flavour of Progressive Rock. (1970s)
Wendy Carlos (formerly Walter Carlos) boosted the popularity of the moog with her album 'Switched on Bach'
History of the MiniMoog
Dance Music Song Form
90% of dance music consists of very similar sections of music. These sections are
Break (break down)
Build up (slowly adding instruments)
Peak of track
Outro (slowly remove instruments)
Peak of track
this diagram shows the progression of 'For An Angel'
What does 'Progressive' mean?
A description of progressive song form using lego blocks
Progressive dance music simply means the structure of the track is composed by adding and taking away instruments (layers). This creates 'build ups,' 'breakdowns,' and changes the overall texture and feel of the track.
Example of a progressive form
Each row is an instrument and the lines represent when they are playing
Drum and bass (also written as drum 'n' bass and commonly abbreviated to D&B, D+B or DnB) is a type of electronic music which emerged in the mid 1990s. The genre is characterized by fast breakbeats (typically between 160–180 bpm, occasional variation is noted in older compositions), with heavy bass and sub- bass lines. Drum and bass began as an offshoot of the United Kingdom rave scene of the very early 1990s. Over the first decade of its existence, the incorporation of elements from various musical genres led to many permutations in its overall style. The genre places great importance on the "bass line", a deep sub- bass musical pattern which can be felt physically through powerful sound systems due to the low- range frequencies favoured.
'Keep it Moving' - A Tribe Called Quest (1996)
Hip Hop/Urban Culture
Hip Hop Today
Stylistically, techno is generally repetitive instrumental music produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythmic component is most often in common time (4/4), where time is marked with a bass drum on each quarter note pulse, a backbeat played by snare or clap on the second and fourth pulses of the bar, and an open hi- hat sounding every second eighth note. The tempo tends to vary between approximately 120 beats per minute (quarter note equals 120 pulses per minute) and 150 bpm, depending on the style of techno. The creative use of music production technology, such as drum machines, synthesizers, and digital audio workstations, is viewed as an important aspect of the music's aesthetic. Many producers use retro electronic musical devices to create what they consider to be an authentic techno sound. Drum machines from the 1980s such as Roland's TR - 808 and TR - 909 are highly prized, and software emulations of such retro technology are popular among techno producers.
IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) is a variation of Techno. IDM uses very similar sounds and tempos, however the beat is usually much more complex.
Hip hop started within South Bronx (New York) communities in the 1970s. 'Kool Herc' is credited as the father of Hip Hop because he was the first person to mix samples of existing funk and soul records with his own 'shouts' to the crowd. Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa not only created music but gave birth to a whole new culture of dancing (break dancing, B-boys) and street parties.
"The Message"- Grandmaster Flash (1982)
Special Mention needs to be given to Afrika Bambaataa and his song "Planet Rock." Although falling under the genre of Hip Hop, this song would go on to influence other electronic genres like Electro Funk, House and Trance. His use of electronic drum beats, sythesisers and 'scratching' (moving the record back and forth to create a scratch sound) was truly revolutionary for its time.
"Planet Rock" - Afrika Bambaataa (1982)
One of the first Hip hop songs was "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash. His use of recorded samples and electronic instruments with that distinctive hip hop tempo and beat show that he is a true pioneer of the genre.
Video showing the early Hip Hop culture, Kool Herc and his music
Video showing Kool Herc and how he made his music
Kanye West in one of the most popular Hip Hop/Rap artists today. His recent album and his song "New Slaves" shows us how the style has progressed. Although this music sounds very different from the early Hip Hop of the 1980s, the basic elements of sampling, MCing (talking/rapping over the top of the beat) and the use of electronic instruments still remain the same.
Glitch hop is a very new sub-genre of Hip Hop. This style borrows from many other genres such as; electro, dubstep and house. However, the groovy beats, use of sampling and the tempo earns it a place in the history of Hip Hop. This music has shown great popularity in Australia, there are several very popular Australian producers of this music.
"New Slaves" - Kanye West (2013)
"Good Thymes" - Opiuo (2012)
ElectronIC MUSIC TIMELINE
Coming from the South Bronx street party communities in the late 1970s, Hip Hop music as a sound embodies this culture. Tempos usually range from 90-120 BPM and tracks are often heavily shuffled to create a typical Hip Hop groove. Hip hop is usually characterised by its use of 'samples' from LP records, most commonly albums Soul and Funk albums from the 1960s and 1970s. These samples were usually of 'Breaks' (a part of a record that can be easily looped). Original forms of the music was entirely composed by samples and an 'MC' 'rapping' (a type of spoken song) over the breaks. However as electronic instruments became more common, their use in Hip Hop replaced many of the originally sampled parts, in particular the Kick Drum and Bass line parts. The use of electronic instruments made full use of the loud sound systems that were used to play the music. Hip Hop is more than just a style of music, it also represents a rich culture of Art, Dancing, Literature, Film, Philosophy and Parties. For many people it is a way of life.
WHat is a 'Break'
A break is a part of a record or song with a drum beat that can be easily looped. In Hip Hop it is usually a loop that contained a groove or a beat that made people dance
Examples of Breaks
Digital SAmpler (E-mu sp-1200)
Although 'sampling' was achieved much earlier than the 1980s, the introduction of a digital sampler made it much easier for producers to create tracks. Samples would be recorded into the device and could be 'triggered' or played by pressing a button. When many samples are put into the device a song can be created by pressing the buttons in different orders.
The E-MU SP-1200 was a revolutionary sampler, particularly for the Hip Hop genre. Its ease of use allowed producers to create complex drum patterns and even whole songs.
Video demonstrating how the E-MU SP-1200 works
The Technics 1200 is a Turntable or Record Player that has a 'Direct Drive' motor. This allows the user to hold the record in place, move it backwards and forwards and change the speed (tempo) of playback without damaging the turntable. This allowed Hip Hop artists and DJs to create their music.
A demonstration of the Technics 1200s
Techno is the Predecessor to House and Trance music. The fundamental elements; thumping kick drum, the tempo and loud deep bass lines are present in most dance music today.
A major influence of the genre was 'Kraftwerk' an electronic band from the 1970s who pioneered electronic music. Their use of only Electronic instruments was revolutionary for the time.
Techno (Detroit Techno) Started in Detroit, Michigan in the USA in the mid 1980s. Detroit Techno and Chicago House (an early form of House music) were developed around the same time and in fact influenced each other. Both genres follow a similar formula (4 on the floor beat, tempo and electronic instruments) however, Techno uses straight rhythms and robotic like sounds (opposed to House which uses smoother sounds and a shuffle beat)
'The Robots' - Kraftwerk (1977)
'Monkey Drummer' - Aphex Twin (2001)
A genre originating in the UK that influenced Drum and Bass. Starting in the late 1980s, the UK wanted their own version of Hip-Hop and Trip-Hop was the result. The style has many similar traits to Hip-Hop (electronic instruments, sampling, beat, tempo), however usually features soft and airy vocals, and more ambient instruments and samples.
"Teardrop" - Massive Attack (1998)
Example of IDM
"Model 500" - NO UFOs (1985)
"Rhythm is Rhtyhm" - Strings of Life (1987)
Elements of techno have merged and morphed into other genres such as Electro House, Dubstep and Drum'N'Bass to name a few. Particularly the harsh robotic noises started in Techno have been used throughout many modern electronic genres. These tracks, in my opinion, reflect a modern Techno Sound.
"Idealism" - Digitalism (2007)
Example of Modern Techno
"Kitchen Sink" - Amon Tobin (2007)
Example of Modern IDM
This is an interesting track, it was created by using only recorded sounds from Amon Tobin's kitchen.
"Hold Your Colour" - Pendulum (2005)
Drum & Bass started in the UK following in the same UK style of Trip-Hop. Drum & Bass came from a genre known as Jungle (fast breakbeats over Jamaican Dub bass lines and vocals). Drum & Bass, like many other electronic music genres, borrowed sounds and instruments from genres such as house, techno and dancehall to name a few. However the use of breakbeats, deep basslines, 160bpm tempo and eventually airy vocals is what set it apart from the rest.
"The Exorcist" - The Scientist (1990)
Early Example of Jungle
An integral part of Drum and Bass is the Breakbeat. Hip-Hop from the US gave birth to the breakbeat (see hip-hop section), however when producers from the UK got a hold of them they infused it with the fast tempos of the ever growing rave dance music and scene. Drum & Bass gets its beat from a sample of a 1960s record. (watch "Amen Break" video below). The breakbeat is so influential that it is a genre of it's own and has influenced other genres such as 'Big Beat.'
A video explaining the 'Amen Break'
Video of drummer JoJo Mayer playing a breakbeat/drum & bass beat
(Drum and Bass, Drum & Bass, DnB, D&B,D'n'B)
Jungle is the direct predecessor to Drum'n'Bass. However Jungle focused on Jamaican/Carribean Dub and Reggae Production methods, Drum & Bass used a much straighter and trance like sound. Jungle Reached its peak in the last 1990s and early 2000s. Clubs preferred this music because it attracted more women and a much friendlier crowd.
"Never Believe" - Dillinja (1999)
"Re-Rewind" - Artful Dodger (Craig David) (1999)
2-step has been described as "a general rubric for all kinds of jittery, irregular rhythms that don't conform to garage's traditional four-on-the-floor pulse." Essentially what this is saying is the beat is similar to Drum & Bass and hip hop, however the beats are 'jumpy' and the kicks are heavily syncopated.
Dubstep is another genre from the UK club and rave scene. It started in the early 2000s drawing heavily from the 2-step, Jungle and Drum & Bass genres. Dubstep uses tempos around 140bpm, but stretches the beat over 2 bars to give it that slow yet jumpy feel.
"Flame" - Benga (2006)
Making Dubstep in 3 easy steps
Early Dubstep is very different from modern Dubstep or Brostep(Skrillex). Dubstep started as a very minimal (not many instruments) genre, it's defining features being the low 'wub' bass lines and distinctive beat. A great example of early Dubstep is "Flame" by Benga.
Dubstep changed as a genre during the late 2000s when artists such as Datsik and Skrillex joined the scene and produced tracks that included harsh robotic noises and blasting 'glitchy' (sudden, brief, electronic) rhythms and sounds.
"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" - Skrillex (2010)
Drum & Bass is an electronic genre that has stood the test of time and will not loose popularity anytime soon. It still remains as the mainstay of the UK rave scene. Drum & Bass today stays true to the basic elements of the early days (breakbeat, sub-bass). However, thanks to developments in technology and the increasing popularity of electronic music, Drum & Bass continues to borrow sounds and ideas from many other genres and has formed new genres of their own. One of the most popular is 'Liquid DnB.' A Trance infused style with airy vocals and spacious orchestral like instruments that invokes a similar euphoric/uplifting feeling to Euro Trance. Opposed to this are styles of Drum & Bass that offer 'hard' electronic sounds, faster tempos and a 'dark' feel.
"Beautiful" - Brookes Brothers (2011)
Example of Liquid DnB
"The Divide" - Calyx & Teebee (2007)
Example Hard/Dark DnB
Pro Tools is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), in other words it allows you to use a computer to edit and manipulate recorded audio. First released in 1991 Pro Tools has revolutionized music production and studio recording. Almost every major studio in the world uses the software/hardware to record and edit music.
Screenshot of a typical ProTools project
Abelton Live is a software that allows users to create musical loops with ease. Then perform with these loops in a live setting. Ableton Live is the choice of software for Dance music producers because of its ease of use, loop based production and plethora of inbuilt effects.
A short video explaining Ableton Live
The Ableton Live production process
Raves have propelled the popularity of electronic dance music to what it is today. Raves generally coincide with an alternative culture and thus reflect these values. Electronic dance music would not exist without Raves.
Raves have their own cultures, from the UK Drum & Bass/Garage scene to the German Euro Trance raves or the famous Goa Parties. There are raves to suit all flavours of dance music and cultures.
Video showcasing the Electric Daisy Carnival rave in Las Vegas
Video Explaining the Telharmonium