The Beginner’s Guide to Electronic Music: a basic guide to different sub genres of electronic music. This is a basic guide to different sub genres of electronic music designed for people who want to know what the hell they’re listening to, but don’t care about the history/theory behind it all. It also assumes you’ve heard a lot of different styles and want some sort of classification system. It’s not a comprehensive list, or a definitive explanation of each genre, just a handy reference tool.
If you have any suggestions or corrections, please feel free to let me know.
*The original electronic music was produced with early synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments. The recordings were generally done on multi-track tape machines and then mixed to stereo master tape. This is called “analog” technology because the sound wave was recorded as fluctuations in voltage on magnetic tape (like an audio cassette). With the advent of digital technology and sampling, these recordings have been re-created on computers, with digital samples replacing the analog waveforms as the source material for synthesis etc.*
*A “DJ” plays records in clubs and at parties, etc. A good DJ can blend records together seamlessly so that it sounds like one continuous song when he
Electronic music can be intimidating, especially if you’re just starting out. There are so many different types of electronic music that it can be hard to know where to begin. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, or are trying to figure out what type of music you want to make, this guide will help get you started.
Electronic music is constantly evolving, and even within a sub genre like house, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of sub genres. The purpose of this guide isn’t to provide a comprehensive list of every sub genre within electronic music. Rather, it’s designed as an introduction to the most common styles of electronic music.
Electronic music is often seen as a form of rebellion or alternative culture. However, the truth is that in the past 30 years it has been transformed into a thriving industry with millions of fans around the world. Electronic music gets its name from the use of electronic instruments and technology to achieve certain sounds or effects. This article provides an overview of some of the most popular sub-genres of electronic music.
Electronica: Electronic Dance Music
Electronica refers to all forms of dance music, including house, techno, trance, drum & bass, dubstep and hardcore. The term is used loosely and usually includes any electronic music with a strong beat that is intended for dancing. The mid-1990s saw a huge surge in popularity for electronic dance music and many clubs began to host regular dance nights featuring house and techno DJs.
Drum & Bass: Fast paced electronica with robotic vocals
Drum & bass developed from jungle in the 1990s, which itself was a sub-genre of UK rave music. Like jungle, drum & bass features intense breakbeat rhythms and often includes samples from other genres like hip hop or reggae. Drum & bass can be broken down into three distinct styles: jump up, techstep and liquid funk (also known as intelligent
Electronic Music is a general term for music that emphasizes the use of electronic musical instruments or electronic music technology as a central aspect of the sound of the music. The first electronic devices for performing music were developed at the end of the 19th century, shortly afterward Italian futurists explored sounds that had not been considered musical.
During the 1920s and 1930s, electronic instruments were introduced and the first compositions for electronic instruments were made. By the 1940s, magnetic audio tape allowed musicians to tape sounds and then modify them by changing the tape speed or direction, leading to the development of electroacoustic tape music in the 1940s, in Egypt and France. Musique concrète, created in Paris in 1948, was based on editing together recorded fragments of natural and industrial sounds.
Music produced solely from electronic generators was first produced in Germany in 1953. Electronic music was also created in Japan and the United States beginning in the 1950s. An important new development was the advent of computers to compose music, algorithmic composition with computers was first demonstrated in the 1950s (the term algorithmic composition was coined by Iannis Xenakis). In 1959 Daphne Oram produced a more widely known example of algorithmic composition, her “Oramics” technique influenced
Deutsche Elektronische Musik, or German electronic music, is a genre of Electronic Music that evolved in Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The genre has its roots in the earlier Kraftwerk, which started to experiment with synthesizers and other instruments in the mid to late 1960s, when they were part of the Krautrock movement. Kraftwerk’s use of synthesizers was inspired by the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen and his avant-garde electronic music experiments. They initially had no interest in working with computers. In 1970, Florian Schneider told Sound International magazine: “We don’t even know how to turn a computer on.” However, as computers became more affordable and accessible during the early 1970s, Kraftwerk embraced them and began incorporating them into their recordings.
Other bands followed suit, such as Neu!, Can and Tangerine Dream. Soon after, many of these bands began using sequencers and drum machines on stage and in recordings. This led to the rise of electronic music festivals such as the Streetparade, Mayday and Love Parade in Germany during the 1990s.
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
The first electronic devices for performing music were developed at the end of the 19th century, and shortly afterward Italian futurists explored sounds that had not been considered musical. During the 1920s and 1930s, electronic instruments were introduced and the first compositions for electronic instruments were made. By the 1940s, magnetic audio tape allowed musicians to tape sounds (and musique concrète) and then modify them by changing the tape speed or direction, leading to the development of
Deutsche Elektronische Musik (or German Electronic Music), is a term used to describe music from Germany in the 1970s, and it has also come to designate the work of Düsseldorf bands of the late 70s and early 80s such as Kraftwerk, Neu!, Cluster, Tangerine Dream and Harmonia.
Deutsche Elektronische Musik grew out of Germany’s experimental tradition – in particular, the work of Stockhausen in the 1960s. In contrast to disco and progressive rock, it was electronic and minimal, with few vocals and even fewer lyrics. It was also instrumental – a reaction against hippie culture with its emphasis on lyrics. Many of these musicians were influenced by America’s West Coast sound (Steve Reich and John Cage), but they also drew inspiration from contemporary European classical music movements.
By 1976 krautrock was dead, but its influence was still being felt, especially on the new wave movement that emerged at this time. Some say that krautrock was an important link between psychedelia and punk; others claim that it was one of the first forms of techno.