This is a music video with the electronic music of the Chemical Brothers who are performing their song Surface to Air. Electronic music is a term with different concepts associated to it: basically we refer to electronic music as modern concert music in the academic style but also to a rapidly increasing number of pop music bands and pieces.
In the beginning of the electronic music era, the sounds were produced experimentally and by huge machines. Karheinz Stockhausen was one of the first composers who experimented with electronically produced sounds, which weren’t necessarily sounds produced by synthesizers. Different composition methods were used to enrich the classical techniques. One possibility was to cut parts of recorded music (which could be conventional music) and rearrange the pieces of tape into arbitrary orders, obtaining surprising result which were not always wellcome by the audiences. Some portions of the tapes even were put together reversed, sounding from the end to the beginning. Nowadays this can be achieved through a simply clic in almost any modern music composition compute software.
On the other hand, at the beginning of electronic music it seemed to be interesting just to obtain naturally sounding synthesized instruments. Music instruments included sound banks with synthesized violins, guitars, trumpets and all the other conventional instruments. And some of the synthesized voices sounded and still sound great, perfectly imitating the original instruments’ sounds.
The development of electronics has made it possible to pack a whole symphony orchestra into a portable keyboard. The resulting type of synthesizers with sound banks of this kind would have been a nice thing to have for the classical composers like Bach or Mozart and the rest and allow modern academic composers to compose with the voices of the different orchestra sections.
We wouldn’t call the corresponding music experimental music which involves new sounds beyond the traditional material for composers. Here enter new methods and techniques for synthesis and assembling, for example the approach of the greek architect and composer Ianis Xenakis who invented an instrument which could be used to transform drawings into music, to mention just one example of new composition techniques.
Then, electronic music became a part of the progessive rock music bands’ repertoire. It was popularized by bands like Pink Floyd and many others who integrated sound effects into their songs, or by bands and artists like Tangerine Dream or Mike Oldfield, for example, who performed music based almost completely on synthesizers. The Chemical Brothers followed this direction and became popular more than 20 years after the first bands introduced electronic compositions, many of them using serial composition methods.
We are aware that this is only a rough introduction to electronic music and we invite you to use the tag cloud and categories of this blog to learn more about this kind of music. You might also want to visit a page about experimental music with examples of new invented music instruments and other experimental approaches.
To finish this article we just want to mention that experimental music hasn’t necessarily to do with electronic music, there are other possibilities, for example transforming objects well known from our usual environment into musical artifacts. Keep looking around and listen to as much different kinds of music as possible, not everything will mean a pleasure to you but some extra-academic and modern compositions will be of interest for you.
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