Every instrument has its own unique sound, and to a trained ear, these instruments can be easily recognized. For example, you might know that the clarinet is a woodwind instrument because it has a reed. But do you know what an oboe is?
The sound of music has always interested me. When I was younger, I had tried to learn how to play many different instruments, but none of them really stuck with me. So instead of playing the music myself, I became interested in recognizing the different types of instruments that were being played around me.
When I first started to get into music, I decided to start with my own collection of instruments. This would ensure that all my favorites were included, and it would allow me to experiment with different sounds without having to buy new instruments every time something got broken or lost.
To make things easier for myself, I purchased a MIDI controller and plugged it into my computer so I could use it to control my DAW (digital audio workstation). Once I set up the MIDI controller correctly within Ableton Live (a popular DAW), I was able to start experimenting with various sounds from my favorite songs that were available within Ableton’s library.
I spent hours upon hours learning how these different sounds worked
Electronic instruments are musical instruments that produce sounds using electronics. Such an instrument sounds by outputting an electrical audio signal that ultimately drives a loudspeaker. An electronic instrument might include a user interface for controlling its sound, often by adjusting the pitch, frequency, or duration of each note. A common user interface is the musical keyboard, which functions similarly to the keyboard on an acoustic piano, except that with an electronic keyboard, the keyboard itself does not make any sound. Another user interface is the guitar synthesizer, which generates and modifies tones using an electric guitar (or some other instrument) as the input device.
Electronic instruments are used in most forms of modern music including pop and rock music. Electronic instruments are typically used in live performance such as an electronic organ, synthesizers and computer based samplers.
Electronic instruments are widely used in jazz, blues, rock and popular music. Synthesizers are widely used in pop and contemporary classical music compositions.
Some well known examples of electronic instruments include:
The Hammond Organ
The Moog Synthesizer
The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano
A modern MIDI controller
The electric guitar is a type of guitar that unlike an acoustic guitar, uses pickups and electronics to amplify the sound produced by its strings. It is quite similar to the acoustic guitar except for its use of wire coils that take the vibration produced by the strings and turn it into electrical signals to be amplified. The electric guitar has two main parts, the body and the neck. Both are made of wood with metal strings attached to them. Most modern day electric guitars have six strings, but some can have as little as four or as many as twelve.
The first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar was designed and built by Leo Fender in Fullerton, California in 1948. Gibson developed their own design just a few years later with their Les Paul®, which has become one of the most popular guitars ever made.
The electric guitar has been one of the most important instruments in the history of music since its invention in 1931. From jazz and big band to rock n’ roll and funk, popular music would not be what it is today without this versatile instrument!
Another important development was the popularization of the synthesizer, an electronic instrument which produces sound by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. The synthesizer’s potential as a musical instrument was pioneered in the mid-20th century and culminated in the modern digital instruments that are typically used in various forms of contemporary and popular music.
The invention of entirely new instruments, such as the electric guitar, electric bass, and synthesizer, has also been a driving force in popular music since the late 1940s. Modern classical music uses many different types of electric instruments built for maximum loudness and clarity of sound.
Some genres of popular music, such as electronic dance music (EDM)and hip hop music use prerecorded beats or drum machines. Some genres of popular music often make extensive use of improvisation, such as jazz, where the performers improvise solos within a predetermined chord progression or blues, where an entire song may be improvised from its original chord progression.
Other genres use live instrumentation instead or in addition to prerecorded sounds; for example jazz bands or rock bands may include an electric bassist, keyboardist or drummer who perform using electric instruments during live performances.
When I was a teenager in the late 70s, there was a brief but intense fad for industrial music. Industrial music is what happens when you ask a nonmusician to make music. Punk rock had been about as far from professionalism as you could get; industrial went further.
You don’t need to know much about music to know that the sound of a jackhammer is not the sound of a musical instrument. But in fact it is. If the right person were using the right jackhammer at the right time, it would be indistinguishable from a marimba. The difference between noise and music is all in how you use it.
I thought this stuff was interesting enough to warrant an essay at the time, even though I didn’t understand it enough to write one. I’ve been waiting thirty years for someone else to write it, but no one ever did, so I’m trying now.
Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on transgressive and provocative themes. The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle, and the creation of the slogan “industrial music for industrial people”. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle’s emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in America, namely in Chicago.
Industrial music drew from a broad range of predecessors. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the genre was first named in 1942 when The Musical Quarterly called Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1927 Symphony No. 2 “the high tide of ‘industrial music.’” In 1972 The New York Times described works by Ferran Fages as a part of “his ‘industrial music’ genre called on such instruments as four loudspeakers, or transistor radios nailed to pieces of wood, or a broken-down car horn.” In his 1997 book Industrial Culture Handbook, music journalist Simon Reynolds states that claims that it was Throbbing Gristle who put the term “into common use” are inaccurate; he states that Throbbing Gristle did not use it to describe their own music until a 1980 interview in The
Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the “most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music”; “initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments (tape music, musique concrète, white noise, synthesizers, sequencers, etc.) and punk provocation”.
While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle’s emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in America, namely in Chicago. Christopher Partridge states that while the industrial genre’s “forefathers” came from the United Kingdom, it was “American artists [that] moved [industrial] from the margins to the mainstream.”