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The History Of Electronic Music Essay

1046 words - 5 pages

When you listen to music on the radio in your car or on your iPod, it’s very likely that you’re listening to some form of electronic music. For example, genres such as pop or rap often use electronic sounds. Electronic music plays a part in the majority of what we listen to today. However, you may be asking yourself: where did it come from? What led it to crawl out of humble studios with primitive machinery, to escape from the harsh criticism of those who preferred more classical methods of composition?
If you look for the very beginnings of electronic music instruments, you’ll find yourself in France during 1759. It was here that Jean-Baptiste Delaborde created the Clavecin Electrique. ...view middle of the document...

This begs another question: who were some of the people who served as the ‘human aspect’ of electronic composition?
In the early 1900s, Italy had what was known as the Italian Futurist Movement. One of the notable members of this movement was Luigi Russolo, who quickly became famous for creating various bizarre noise machines. These machines mimicked sounds from real life, such as screaming. Similarly, Pierre Schaeffer used recordings from real life and altered them to create music. Schaeffer theorized that music could be broken down into three parts: amplitude, duration, and tone; this theory served as the basis for the majority of his work (Sword).
Unlike the aforementioned men, Daphne Oram, the founder of BBC’s Radiophonic studio, created electronic music using oscillators. Despite only being provided run-down machinery to work with due to BBC’s belief that “electronic music could never be truly beautiful,” Oram went on to create “extraordinarily imaginative pieces.” She spent much of her time experimenting with new and innovative ways to develop music and her studio was also known for developing many of the soundtracks for BBC’s programs. In fact, one of the most notable pieces of electronic music to come from Radiophonic studio was the theme for the original Dr. Who TV show, which was composed by Delia Derbyshire. There were, of course, other famous studios aside from Radiophonic that developed electronic music. Among these were Germany’s Kraftwerk and Elektronische Musik (Sword).
As time went on, the technology used to create electronic music advanced. Some of the more notable advancements included the MUSIC N series (Crab), the Moog synthesizer (“A Brief History of the Synthesizer”), and the MIDI music language (Hass). Music I-V was developed by Max Mathews of Bell Labs; Music I was written for the IBM 704, which limited it to pure studio production. This limitation was due to the fact that the 704 was simply too slow to operate in real time (Crab). The Moog synthesizer was created by Robert Moog and served as his first breakthrough innovation on voltage-controlled synthesizers. In fact, many electronic music composers...

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