The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music

The Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in this fascinating genre of music.


In the 1960s, electronic music began to be produced with synthesizers, electronic keyboards that can generate a wide range of sounds. This type of music was initially created for use in movie soundtracks and for avant-garde composers. But by the 1970s, it had become popular in its own right, and a variety of electronic styles had emerged, from the mellow sounds of new age music to the pulsing rhythms of techno.

Today, electronic music is more popular than ever, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the history and evolution of electronic music, as well as some tips on how to get started if you’re interested in creating your own tracks.

What is Electronic Music?

Many people think of Electronic Music (EM) as a recent invention, but in reality, it has been around for over a century. Some of the earliest examples of EM can be heard in the work of Italian composer Guglielmo Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio. Marconi’s work laid the foundation for the modern day EM genre.

The Birth of Electronic Music

The first electronic music was made in the early 1900s, using a machine called the Theremin. The Theremin was invented by a Russian scientist named Lev Theremin, and it looked like a metal box with two metal rods coming out of the top. To make music with the Theremin, you would wave your hands around in the air near the metal rods, and the machine would create strange and wonderful noises.

In the 1930s, another invention called the Ondes Martenot was created. The Ondes Martenot was also played with your hands, but it looked very different from a Theremin. It had a long keyboard that you could play like a piano, and it also had a ribbon controller that you could slide back and forth to change the pitch of the notes. The Ondes Martenot was used by many famous classical composers, including Olivier Messiaen and Claude Debussy.

In 1955, electronic music took another giant leap forward with the invention of the Synthesizer. The first synthesizer was called the Music Easel, and it was created by an American scientist named Hugh Le Caine. The Music Easel could create all kinds of different sounds, from deep bass notes to high-pitched squeals. It could also imitate other instruments, like violins and flutes.

Today, there are many different types of electronic music, from ambient to industrial to techno. And thanks to digital technology, anyone can make electronic music on their computers or phones.

The Pioneers of Electronic Music

The use of electronic technology in music did not begin in the 20th century, however. Early instruments such as the theremin and the Ondes Martenot, both of which operate on similar principles to electronic synthesizers, were invented in the 1920s and 1930s. The Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo built a number of what he called “noise intoners,” devices for making noise rather than tones, in 1913; these anticipated by several years the work of American composer Edgar Varese, often cited as one of the first true “electronic” composers. In the 1930s British composer and former RAF pilot Louis Durey built a number of mechanical music-making machines; one of these, the Polyphon, used photoelectric cells to trigger sounds from a bank of recorded dozens of phonograph records. The American Composers’ Group, formed in New York City in 1937 by Henry Cowell and John Cage (among others), experimented with electrical music. And British composer Gustav Holst worked with engineer Miller Reese Hutchinson to create something called the Novachord, an early commercial synthesizer produced by Hammond Organ Company beginning in 1939; it was used on recordings by Duke Ellington, Kay Kyser, Liberace, and Glenn Miller.

The Different Types of Electronic Music

There are many types of electronic music, but we can broadly categorize it into four main genres:

-House: House is a style of electronic dance music that originated in Chicago in the 1980s. It is characterized by a 4/4 time signature, a steady beat, and simple bassline.
-Techno: Techno is a style of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit in the early 1990s. It is characterized by a heavy use of synthesizers and drum machines, and an emphasis on rhythm and repetition.
-Trance: Trance is a style of electronic dance music that originated in the 1990s. It is characterized by its use of repetitive, soaring melodies and hypnotic rhythms.
-Downtempo: Downtempo is a slower, more relaxing style of electronic music. It often incorporates elements of other genres, such as jazz or ambient music.

How to Listen to Electronic Music

Electronic music is a genre of music that is produced using electronic equipment. It is a broad category that includes a wide variety of styles, from dance music to noise music. There are many different ways to listen to electronic music, and this guide will cover some of the most popular methods.

Where to Start

With so much electronic music out there, it can be tough to decide where to start. Here are a few tips to help get you started on your musical journey:

-Start with the classics. There are some essential electronic music albums that any fan should check out. Some of our favorites include Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn,” Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works 85-92,” and Autechre’s “Amber.”

-Check out the latest releases. While it’s always good to familiarize yourself with the classics, there’s also nothing wrong with keeping up with the latest trends in electronic music. Checking out what’s new can help you find your next favorite artist.

-Find a style you like and explore it further. Whether you’re into dubstep, techno, house, or any other style of electronic music, there’s sure to be plenty of great artists within that genre for you to discover. Once you find a style you like, it’ll be easier to find more music that you’ll enjoy.

The Essentials

Whether you’re a seasoned electronic music fan or just getting started, this guide will help you get the most out of this fascinating and ever-evolving genre. Here are some basics to get you started.

Electronic music is made using a wide range of electronic devices and technologies, including turntables, computers, synthesizers, and samplers. Electronic music producers (sometimes called DJs) use these tools to create new sounds and to manipulate existing sounds.

The earliest electronic music was created using only electronic devices such as synthesisers and tape machines. Today, however, electronic music producers often incorporate traditional acoustic instruments into their music as well. For example, a track might include recorded sounds of a piano or drum set, which the producer then manipulates using electronic effects.

There are four main types of electronic music: techno, house, trance, and drum and bass. Techno is characterized by its repetitive beats and often futuristic sounds. House music is more soulful and sexually charged than techno; it typically features a 4/4 beat and samples from disco and soul records. Trance is similar to techno but generally has more melodic elements; it’s also known for its “builds” and “drops,” in which the tension mounts until the track suddenly releases all that energy in a burst of sound. Drum and bass is the fastest-paced and most aggressive type of electronic music; it’s characterized by its breakbeats (stretched-out drum beats) and deep basslines.

When listening to electronic music, it’s important to pay attention to the various elements that make up the track. These can include the beats, melodies, harmonies, and so on. Try to identify each element as you listen; this will help you appreciate the track as a whole. As you become more familiar with the genre, you’ll also start to develop an ear for different production styles and techniques.

The Future of Electronic Music

The birth of electronic music can be traced back to the 1920s, with the invention of the first electronic musical instrument, the theremin. In the 1950s, composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Schaeffer began experimenting with electronic music, and by the 1970s, electronic music had become a genre in its own right. Today, electronic music is one of the most popular genres in the world, and its future is looking brighter than ever.

Where We Are Now

The last two decades have seen a revolution in electronic music. New technologies have made it possible for musicians to create sounds that were previously impossible, and the resulting music has often been experimental and challenging.

Today, electronic music is more popular than ever, and its influence can be heard in all kinds of music, from pop to hip-hop to classical. The future of electronic music is likely to be just as exciting, as new technologies continue to emerge and new artists push the boundaries of what is possible.

Where We Are Headed

The proliferation of electronic music has been one of the most profound developments in popular music in the past 50 years. It began in the underground clubs of Europe and America in the late 1940s and quickly spread to every corner of the globe. By the early 21st century, it was virtually impossible to find a pop or rock song that didn’t contain some element of electronic music.

What started as a niche genre has now become one of the most popular forms of music on the planet. But where is electronic music headed? What trends are emerging? And what does the future hold for this ever-evolving genre?

In this guide, we take a look at where electronic music is headed and what trends are emerging. We also explore some of the challenges that electronic musicians face and offer a few predictions for the future of this genre.

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