German Electronic Music Pioneers You Should Know

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Germany has a long and illustrious history when it comes to electronic music. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to some of the German electronic music pioneers you should know.


German electronic music has come to be associated with a particular sound and style, characterized by its atmospheric, melancholic tone. This sound is often referred to as “Berlin School” electronic music, named after the group of German composers who pioneered the style in the 1970s.

The Berlin School is a subgenre of electronic music that developed out of Krautrock, a catch-all term for German bands that were experimenting with rock music and avant-garde styles in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These bands, including Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Neu!, combined elements of rock with new synthesizer technology to create a completely new kind of music.

The Berlin School sound is typified by long, slowly evolving compositions that emphasize texture and atmosphere over melody or rhythm. Many Berlin School composers have been influenced by jazz and classical music, and their work often has a meditative quality. While the style was initially developed in Germany, it has since been taken up by musicians all over the world.

Here are five German electronic music pioneers you should know.


Kraftwerk were an electronic music band founded in Germany in 1970. The group’s groundbreaking work in the field of electronic music would go on to influence a number of other genres and artists. Kraftwerk’s unique sound and style helped them to become one of the most successful and influential bands of their time.


Kraftwerk is a German electronic music band formed in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. Widely considered as innovators and pioneers of electronic music, they were among the first successful acts to popularize the genre. Their unique sound was influenced by a wide range of genres, including avant-garde electronic music, funk, and rock.

The group’s signature music style combines minimalism with pop sensibility, and their lyrics often deal with themes of paranoia, isolation, and technology. Kraftwerk’s popularity peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits like “Autobahn” and “Trans-Europe Express.” The group has continued to tour and release new music sporadically in the decades since.


Kraftwerk was a major influence on synth-pop, EBM, industrial, techno and hip hop music. They have also been an inspiration for many visual artists.During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Kraftwerk’s innovative style of music production and live performance inspired many to follow in their footsteps. Some of the artists influenced by Kraftwerk include:

-David Bowie
-Depeche Mode
-Ryuichi Sakamoto
-Afrika Bambaataa
-Public Enemy
-The Chemical Brothers

Tangerine Dream

Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The group has undergone many lineup changes over the years, with Froese being the only constant member. They are considered to be one of the pioneers of electronic music and their style has been influential on many other artists.


Formed in 1967 in West Berlin, Tangerine Dream was one of the first and most important exponents of what would come to be known as Krautrock, a wide-ranging umbrella term used to describe the creative German rock scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group was led by Edgar Froese, who remained its only constant member throughout its history; other members included Klaus Schulze, Christopher Franke, and Steve Schroyder. Tangerine Dream’s innovative recordings paved the way for the development of both electronic dance music and ambient music, and they have been hugely influential on subsequent generations of musicians.

Tangerine Dream’s debut album, Electronic Meditation, was released in 1970; it was largely a solo vehicle for Froese, with contributions from Schulze and Franke. The group’s second album, Alpha Centauri (1971), saw them beginning to experiment with longer songs and more complex structures; it remains one of their most beloved releases. Released the following year, Zeit introduced even more ambitious songwriting ambitions and featured sections performed on Moog synthesizer by new member Peter Baumann; it is often cited as one of the greatest electronic music albums ever made.

Tangerine Dream continued to evolve over the next few years, eventually settling into a three-piece lineup consisting of Froese, Franke, and Baumann. This lineup produced some of the group’s most popular work, including 1974’s Phaedra (featuring the massive hit single “Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola”) and 1975’s Rubycon (widely considered to be their masterpiece). Around this time they also began working in film scoring, contributing memorable soundtracks to films such as Sorcerer (1977) and Risky Business (1983).

The group underwent several personnel changes in the late 1970s and early 1980s before finally settling on a core lineup of Edgar Froese, Jerome Froese (Edgar’s son), Christopher Hauschildt (who replaced Baumann in 2005), Thorsten Quaeschning (who joined in 2006), Iris Camaa (who joined in 2008), and Ulrich Schnauss (who joined in 2010). This lineup has remained stable for over a decade now, and has produced some of Tangerine Dream’s most acclaimed work in recent years, including 2013’s excellent studio album pardiso Days.


Tangerine Dream has been a highly influential band in the world of electronic music, with their unique blend of krautrock, space rock, and psychedelia. The band has been cited as an influence by many artists, including Brian Eno, The Orb, The Prodigy, and Orbital.


When it comes to electronic music, Germany has been a pioneer since the genre’s inception in the 1970s. Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Klaus Schulze are just a few of the German electronic music pioneers that have shaped the sound of today’s electronic music.


Can was a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne in 1968. The lineup consisted of Holger Czukay (bass), Michael Karoli (guitar), Jaki Liebezeit (drums), Irmin Schmidt (keyboards) and Damo Suzuki (vocals). With their abstract and often dissonant style of music, the band are considered pioneers of the krautrock and post-punk genres.

The group released several influential albums throughout their career, including Tago Mago (1971) and Ege Bamyasi (1972). Can disbanded in 1979, but reformed with a new lineup in 1993. The band continued to perform and record together until Liebezeit’s death in 2017.


Can were one of the most important and influential bands to come out of the German music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their experimental, avant-garde approach to rock music helped pave the way for subsequent generations of electronic and dance music artists.

The band was formed in 1968 by keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, bassist Holger Czukay, guitarist Michael Karoli, and drummer Jaki Liebezeit. They quickly gained notoriety for their unorthodox approach to music-making, which incorporated a wide range of influences from jazz to early electronic music. Over the course of their career, they released a string of highly acclaimed albums, including 1969’s Tago Mago, 1971’s Ege Bamyasi, and 1972’s Future Days.

While Can never achieved widespread commercial success, they exerted a profound influence on many subsequent generations of musicians. Today, they are widely considered to be one of the most important and innovative bands of their era.


In conclusion, there are many German electronic music pioneers you should know. These artists have made significant contributions to the genre and have helped shape the sound of modern electronic music. If you’re a fan of electronic music, be sure to check out these artists and their work.

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