The History of Electronic Music and Its Revival

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

A comprehensive look at the history of electronic music, from its earliest beginnings to its recent revival.

Pre-electronic music

Electronic music is a genre of music that was first created in the 1930s. It was originally created by composers who were experimenting with new electronic music instruments. These composers were looking for new ways to create music that was different from the traditional music of the time. Electronic music quickly gained popularity and was used in many different genres of music.

Instruments used

Pre-electronic music was made up of acoustic instruments that were played by human beings. The most common instruments were the violin, the flute, and the piano. These instruments were played by people who had been trained in music and knew how to read sheet music.

electronic music is made with electronic instruments and doesn’t require any training to play. The most common electronic instrument is the synthesizer. Synthesizers can imitate the sound of other instruments or create new sounds altogether. Other electronic instruments include the theremin, the sequencer, and the drum machine.


Pre-electronic music was any type of music produced without the use of electronic instruments or equipment. This includes music created using only acoustic instruments, as well as music produced with the help of mechanical devices such as player pianos.

Pre-electronic music dates back to the very earliest days of civilization. Archaeological evidence suggests that early humans may have used their voices and natural sounds to create music, and there are many examples of pre-electronic music from ancient cultures around the world.

The development of electronic instruments in the 19th and 20th centuries led to a new era of music-making, and pre-electronic styles began to decline in popularity. However, in recent years there has been a renewed interest in pre-electronic music, with many modern musicians exploring and reviving these older styles.

Electronic music

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. A distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, as well as electrical elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electro mechanical 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.

Introduction of electronic music

The history of electronic music is a long and complicated one, marked by experimentation, invention, and a constant pushing of boundaries. Electronic music has its origins in the early 1800s, when scientists began experimenting with ways to create and manipulate sounds using electricity. These early experiments would lay the foundation for many of the devices and techniques that would eventually be used to create electronic music.

In the late 19th century, inventors started developing various instruments that could create electronic sounds, including the theremin, tone wheels, and Ondes Martenot. These instruments were originally intended for use in orthodox musical settings, but they would soon find their way into the avant-garde. In the 1920s and 1930s, composers like Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen began to experiment with new ways of creating and manipulating sound, using everything from traditional instruments to household objects. This period saw the birth of musique concrete, a type of music that uses recorded sounds as its main source material.

During the 1950s and 1960s, electronic music really came into its own as a distinct genre. Composers like Robert Moog andDon Buchla developed new ways of creating electronic sounds using voltage-controlled synthesizers. This new type of instrument allowed musicians to create any sound they could imagine, which opened up a whole world of possibilities for composers. In addition to developing new types of synthesis, composers during this period also began experiment with tape manipulation and other studio techniques to create unique soundscapes. This period saw the development of Electronic Art Music, or EAM for short. This catch-all term encompasses any type of music that uses electronics as its primary means of creation or sonic manipulation.

EAM would go on to influence many different genres in the decades that followed. In the 1970s and 1980s, composers like Chick Corea and Jean-Michel Jarre took elements of EAM and blended them with traditional jazz sensibilities to create what is now known as jazz fusion. Meanwhile, artists like Kraftwerk were taking EAM in a more pop direction, helping to pave the way for synth-pop and other popular styles that would dominate the charts in the 1980s. By the 1990s and 2000s, EAM had developed into a subculture all its own, with subgenres like IDM (intelligent dance music) pushing boundaries even further.

Despite its long history, electronic music is still often seen as a relatively new genre. In reality though, electronic music has been around for over 150 years! It has constantly evolving since its inception, growing and changing along with technology itself. It seems likely that electronic music will continue to evolve in exciting new ways in the years to come

Development of electronic music

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, as well as electrical elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electroacoustic instruments include the theremin, Hammond organ, and electric guitar. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin and turntable are considered hybrid electronic instruments.

The first electronic devices for performing music were developed at the end of the 19th century. The phonautograph, patented in 1857 by French inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, was used to visually record audio waveforms onto soot-coated paper.[1][2] The recorded waveforms could then be played back using a mechanized machine that reproduced the original sound.[1]

The earliest known recordings of electronically produced sound date back to 1878 with Thomas Edison’s phonograph cylinder “The Mary Had a Little Lamb.”[3][4] However, it wasn’t until 1897 that Thaddeus Cahill was able to successfully patent his own creation: the Telharmonium.[5][6] This early instrument was capable of adding harmonics by splitting an electrical signal into several different frequency signals which were then played back over multiple loudspeakers.[5][7]

Styles of electronic music

Electronic dance music (EDM), also known as dance music, club music, or simply dance, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves, and festivals. EDM is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix by segueing from one recording to another.

EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA. In Europe and North America, EDM is more commonly called ‘dance music’, or simply ‘dance’.

These genres were developed largely in reaction to the limitations of early electronic musical instruments, which were unable to produce more than simple repetitions of Lowerregister notes without distortion. These new instruments were more reliable and easier to use than their predecessors. This increased their popularity among musicians who would not have previously considered using electronic instruments.

The first electronic instruments were developed in the early twentieth century, and include the theremin,uncertain of its exact inventor),Joseph Theremin’s Rhythmicon (1930), Oskar Vierling’s Symphonium (1932)and Leon Theremin’s Termenvox (1938). These were all monophonic instruments.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that polyphonic electronic keyboard instruments became available with multiple built-in oscillators producing different pitches (initially sawtooth waves only). These sounded very similar to pipe organs and church bells. They were much bigger and more expensive than monophonic keyboards, but quickly became popular with composers such as John Cage, who wrote his famous 1952experimental composition “Four-Wall” for amplified clavichord.
During the 1960s Procter & Gamble sponsored public performances of avant-garde electronic music by American composer Edgar Varese and German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park as part of P&G’s sponsorship of the New York Philharmonic’s summer free concert series there. P&G’s support continued until 1969 when it withdrew its sponsorship because it felt that contemporary classical music was no longer “popular” enough to justify continued support. The first Moog synthesizer was demonstrated publicly in 1964; it was then used on several pop recordings throughout the late 1960sand 1970s including The Beatles’ Abbey Road album (1969) and Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach album (1968), which won three Grammy Awards including Best Classical Album of 1968

Revival of electronic music

Electronic music has been around for quite some time but it seems to be making a comeback in recent years. This type of music was first created in the 1940s and rose to popularity in the 1970s. It then declined in the 1980s but has been making a comeback in recent years.

Reasons for the revival

In the early 2000s, a new generation of music lovers began to discover the joys of electronic music. Part of the appeal was the feeling of nostalgia that came with listening to music that was popular when they were growing up. But there were also practical reasons for the revival. With the advent of digital technology, it became possible to create professional-sounding recordings without expensive studio equipment. This made it easier for independent artists to produce and distribute their music, and helped to create a more diverse range of sounds and styles.

Today, electronic music is more popular than ever before. Thanks to its broader appeal, it has become one of the most influential genres in the world, with artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z incorporating its sounds into their own music. Electronic music is also being used in surprising new ways, from video game soundtracks to therapy sessions. It seems safe to say that its popularity is here to stay.

New styles of electronic music

In the 1990s, a new style of electronic music emerged that was influenced by styles such as house and techno, but had a more experimental edge. This new style came to be known as IDM, or “intelligent dance music.” It was characterized by complex rhythms, often made with the help of computer software, and a general feeling of atmosphere or moodiness. The late 1990s and early 2000s saw a real boom in IDM, with many highly respected labels and artists releasing music in this style.

In the 2010s, there has been a significant revival of interest in older styles of electronic music. In particular, there has been a renewed interest in the earliest forms of electronic music from the 1950s and 1960s. These styles were mostly forgotten about for many years, but they have been rediscovered by modern audiences and have had a big influence on new styles of electronic music.


In conclusion, electronic music has come a long way since its origins in the early 20th century. Today, it is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, and its popularity is only increasing. Thanks to the efforts of pioneers like Robert Moog and Karlheinz Stockhausen, electronic music is now an integral part of the musical landscape.

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