Electronic music history pre-dates the rock and roll era by decades. Most of us weren't even on this planet when it began its often obscure, under-appreciated and misunderstood development. Today, this ' other worldly ' body of sound that started near a century ago, may no longer appear strange and unique as new generations have accepted as much as mainstream, but it is was a bumpy road, and to find mass public acceptance, a slow.
Many musicians-the modern proponents of electronic music-developed a passion for analog synthesizers in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the signature of songs like breakthrough ' Are Friends Electric? ", Gary Numan's. It was at this time that these devices became smaller, more accessible, more user-friendly and more affordable for many of us. In this article I will try to trace this history in easily digestible chapters and examples of the best contemporary modern proponents to offer.
For me this was the beginning of a new era. To make electronic music, it was no longer necessary to access a room full of the technology in a studio or live. Until now this was only the domain of artists the likes of Kraftwerk, whose arsenal of electronic instruments and customized gadgets the rest of us could only dream, even if we understand the logistics of their operation. This being said, at the moment I growing up in the 1960s & 70s, I nevertheless had little knowledge of the complexity of the work that a default had in the preceding decades to arrive at this point.
The history of electronic music owes much to Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007). Stockhausen was a German Avante Garde composer and a leading figurehead in the electronic music from the 1950s, further influencing a movement which would eventually have a powerful influence on names like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Brain Eno, Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode, and not forgetting the experimental work of the Beatles and others in the 1960s. His face is seen on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper Club Band," the Beatles 1967 Master Opus. Let's start, however, by travel a little further back in time.
The turn of the 20th century
Time has stood still for this stargazer when I originally discovered that the first documented, were not exclusively electronic, concerts in the 1970s or 1980, but in the 1920s!
The first purely electronic instrument, the Theremin, which is played without touch, invented by the Russian scientist and cellist, Lev Terms (1896-1993), circa 1919.
In 1924, the Theremin made his concert debut with the Leningrad Philharmonic. Any interest generated by the theremin pulled audience to concerts staged in Europe and Great Britain. In 1930, the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York, experienced a performance of classical music using nothing else than a series of ten theremins. Look at a number of skilled musicians who this frightening sounding instrument by waving their hands around the antenna must have been so exciting, surreal and alien for a pre-tech audience!
For those interested, check out the recordings of Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore (1911-1998). Lithuanian born Rockmore (Reisenberg) worked with the inventor in New York to perfect the instrument during the first years and was the most praised, brilliant and recognised performer and representative her entire life.
Afterwards Clara, was the first famous ' Star ' of real electronic music. You're probably not more creepy, but beautiful performances of classical music to be found on the Theremin. She is definitely a favorite of mine!
Electronic Music in Sci-Fi, Film and television
Unfortunately, and mainly due to problems with skill, the Theremin was the future as mastering a musical instrument of short duration. Eventually found a niche in 1950 the sci-fi movies. The 1951 film classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still", with a soundtrack of influential American film music composer Bernard Hermann (known from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", etc.), is rich with an ' alien ' score using two theremins and other electronic devices merged with Acoustic instrumentation.
Using the vacuum-tube oscillator technology of the Theremin, French cellist and radio operator, Maurice Martenot (1898-1980), started with the development of the Ondes Martenot (in French, known as the Martenot Wave) in 1928.