Electronic music is one of those genres that has had a huge impact on the world, in the last 50 years or so. From rock to pop, pop to jazz, jazz to hip-hop, and everything in between, all genres have become influenced by electronic music.
Many people don’t know that electronic music is not new at all. It has been around since the early 1900’s. The technology has changed and so have the sounds and styles of electronic music, but it all started with very primitive equipment and a few pioneers who experimented with it.
Here are ten early pioneers of electronic music:
Karlheinz Stockhausen (August 22, 1928 – December 5, 2007)
Lou Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)
Aphex Twin (born August 18 1971)
Tangerine Dream (founded September 13 1967)
Autechre (formed 1987)
Jean-Michel Jarre (born August 24 1948)
Daft Punk (formed September 1993)
Kraftwerk (formed 1970)
Vangelis (born 29 March 1943)
The Beatles (formed 1960, disbanded 1970)
Every time we sit down to listen to some music, we have the option of listening to something that has been recorded with electronic instruments. Many of the most groundbreaking electronic musicians of our time go unrecognized by the general public, because they are so far removed from popular music.
The following ten artists represent a small fraction of the people who in one way or another helped define electronic music throughout the years. They are pioneers, and without them we might still be stuck listening to The Beatles on cassette tapes.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, a new type of musician emerged. The rise of electronic music began with its inclusion in experimental compositions and theatrical works in the late 1940s. Originally made by manipulating sound on tape, electronic music grew to include all manor of synthesizers and digital media. This list contains ten pioneers in this field.
Pierre Schaeffer: Pierre Schaeffer is sometimes referred to as the father of electronic music. He was a French composer who created musique concrète, which is a style that manipulates recorded sounds. Schaeffer began experimenting with sound as early as 1938 when he used turntables to create rhythmic patterns from recordings. He published an article about this process in 1942 and began creating pieces using it shortly after that. One of his most famous works is Etude aux chemins de fer (1948), which combines recordings of trains with other sounds to create a unique piece.
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer who pioneered techniques used in electronic music. His works include Gesang der Jünglinge (1955–56), which is considered one of the first works using electronically generated sounds, and Kontakte (1959-
The history of electronic music started many years ago. The roots of the genre lie in early experiments with electricity and sound. Over time, the technology has advanced to the point where it is now possible to create music on a computer, and even make it sound real!
But how did this happen? To answer that question, we need to go back in time.
The year was 1978. A young musician named Robert Moog had just released his first synthesizer, the Minimoog Model D. This was an important moment in music history because it marked the beginning of what would eventually become known as “electronic music.” Nowadays, most people associate electronic music with genres like trance or techno; but back then, there was no such thing as “electronic music.” Instead there were just musicians using electronics to create new sounds.
Moog’s first synthesizer was not only revolutionary for its time; it also set off a chain reaction that would change the way we listen to and create music forever….
The birth of electronic music coincided with the invention of sound recording technology and radio broadcasting. As the technology developed, early composers experimented with new ways to manipulate these capabilities: musique concrète (Pierre Schaeffer) and tape music (Morton Subotnick) were among the first approaches to electronic composition.
Electronic instruments began to be used regularly in scores for films, television, and concerts. During the 1950s, Karlheinz Stockhausen was a leading composer in Europe and John Cage taught at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina. The two were among the first to experiment with live electronic music, using a variety of devices such as oscillators, test tones, and tape delay systems.
By the 1960s, there was an explosion of interest in electronic music around the world. A number of new composers from diverse backgrounds began experimenting with electronic instruments and techniques, eventually developing their own unique forms of electronic music.
The history of electronic music is as old as the History of sound recording itself. The first experiments with recording and manipulating sound on magnetic tape were all carried out in the first half of the 20th century. It is hard to pinpoint exactly who the inventors were, since most of them were working independently without having access to each other’s work.
The first person to perform a public concert using electronic instruments was an Italian Futurist, Luigi Russolo. In his 1913 manifesto, The Art Of Noises, he declared that “the human ear, historically accustomed to the artifice of sounds, will be able to appreciate noises that are today unendingly vulgar and irritating”. According to Russolo’s manifesto, noise had been suppressed in musical composition through the use of musical notation which he believed had led to both the suppression of noise and the use of only traditional musical instruments in orchestral music. He believed that this should change in order for music to become more exciting. His proposed solution was an orchestra made up entirely of electronic instruments that could produce a wider variety of sounds.
Musique concrete is a genre of music which utilizes recorded sounds played back at different speeds, reversed, or otherwise modified. It was pioneered by Pierre Schaeffer in the mid 20th century, and has been further developed by many of his students and collaborators.
One of the great things about musique concrete is that anyone can create it. You don’t need an expensive studio, you can use any recording device to record sounds (or even use pre-recorded sounds). Then, you can use software such as Audacity to play the sounds back at different frequencies, reverse them or play them in different orders.