Portal:Electronic music

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Introduction

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 (electroacoustic music), 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 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 was first demonstrated in Australia in 1951.

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Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno in reference to a specific genre of music was in 1988. Many styles of techno now exist, but Detroit techno is seen as the foundation upon which a number of sub-genres have been built.

In Detroit, techno resulted from the melding of black styles including Chicago house, funk, electro, and electric jazz with electronic music by artists such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Added to this is the influence of futuristic and fictional themes relevant to life in American late capitalist society, with Alvin Toffler's book The Third Wave being a notable point of reference. Pioneering producer and DJ Juan Atkins cites Toffler's phrase "techno rebels" as inspiring him to use the word techno to describe the musical style he helped to create. This unique blend of influences aligns techno with the aesthetic referred to as afrofuturism.To producers such as Derrick May, the transference of spirit from the body to the machine is often a central preoccupation; essentially an expression of technological spirituality. In this manner: "techno dance music defeats what Adorno saw as the alienating effect of mechanisation on the modern consciousness".

Stylistically, techno is generally repetitive instrumental music, often 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 to 150 beats per minute (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.

Music journalists and fans of techno are generally selective in their use of the term; so a clear distinction can be made between sometimes related but often qualitatively different styles, such as tech house and trance.


Selected biography

Kraftwerk (pronounced [ˈkʁaftvɛɐk], German for "power plant") is a German musical group who have made significant contributions to the development of experimental and electronic music. The band was founded by Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hütter in 1970, but became widely known as a quartet consisting of Wolfgang Flür and Karl Bartos alongside the founding members.

The techniques Kraftwerk introduced, together with the equipment they adopted, are now commonplace in modern music. They have been a major influence on the popular music of the end of the 20th century, often considered of comparable status to The Beatles.

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Stockhausen 1994 WDR.jpg
Karlheinz Stockhausen one of the earliest composers of purely electronic music.


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  • "Somebody will ask those of us who compose with the aid of computers: 'So you make all these decisions for the computer or the electronic medium, but wouldn't you like to have a performer who makes certain other decisions?' Many composers don't mind collaborating with the performer with regards to decisions of tempo, or rhythm, or dynamics, or timbre, but ask them if they would allow the performer to make decisions with regard to pitch and the answer will be 'Pitches you don't change.' Some of us feel the same way in regard to the other musical aspects that are traditionally considered secondary, but which we consider fundamental. As for the future of electronic music, it seems quite obvious to me that its unique resources guarantee its use, because it has shifted the boundaries of music away from the limitations of the acoustical instrument, of the performer's coordinating capabilities, to the almost infinite limitations of the electronic instrument. The new limitations are the human ones of perception."

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  • The Electronic music WikiProject is a project that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Electronic music related articles.
  • The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Electronic music, as well as to create missing articles.
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