Free Essay

History of Electronic Music

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By lmatos369
Words 483
Pages 2
Luis Matos
Introduction to Music
Term Paper
28 April 2012
The History of Electronic Music Electronic music is one of the most inspiring and artistic forms of music in the world today. Even though electric music is not a new style or form of music, it’s still changing and evolving today. Electric music can vary from instruments like Theremin, synthesizer, and the keyboard to simple computers. These instruments create/synthesize or manipulate sound. Electric music was first introduced in the mid-20th century by Thaddeaus Cahill. He introduced the Dynamaphone which was an array of dynamos that produced many pitches. This was the first instance of electronic music. While this wasn’t a particular instrument it still proved that pitches could be released through electronics.
For some time after the Dynamaphone was introduced, there were no real significant advances in electronic music. Many speculated what the “future” of music would sound like, but nothing was introduced until the year 1919. That year was when the Theremin was introduced. “The Theremin is a purely melodic electronic musical instrument typically played by moving the hands in the electromagnetic fields surrounding two projecting antennae” (Webster 1). This instrument was the first and only instrument that could be played without actually touching it. It was created by Lev Termen in Russia. In the United States he is known as non-other than Leon Theremin. This instrument is monophonic and has two rods. One rod is used to adjust the pitch level while the other is used to lower the dynamics. This instrument was never mass produced and thus there are only a few working models in the world today. I have been fortunate enough to actually use a Theremin in recent years in my music class in high school. The next major invention was the Ondes martenot which was a cross between both a Theremin and an organ. This was introduced in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. This was created in Paris. While major in the steps to the future of electronic instruments, this instrument was not too much different than both an organ and a Theremin. The next advancements in electronic history appeared in the 1930’s in the era of the electroacoustic tape music. “John Cage composes Imaginary Landscape no.1 (1939) and no. 2 (1942) using test-tones from recordings, which were played on variable-speed turntables” (Indiana 1). John Cage utilized these instruments to create an almost inclusionary experience. This was unheard of for the time and in response garnered plenty of attention. The instruments used were turntables and recordings to alter the sound and then reproduce it. The turntables were very influential for our turntables today. The 1950’s were key in the development of electrical music. Japan had begun to develop many forms of electrical music after World War II. Prior to World War II , Japan had known little to nothing about electrical instruments.

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