History of Electronic Music
Electronic music makes use of electronic instruments and technology in its creation. Generally, a difference is noticable between sound produced using electromechanical means and that which is produced using electronic technology. Instruments such as telharmonium and and the electric guitar are examples of electromechanical sound producing devices whereas electronic sound synthesis can be achieved using instruments like a theremin, sound synthesizer and a computer.
The first electronic musical instruments were created around the end of the 19th century and afterward Italian Futurists experimented with sounds which hadn’t previously considered musical. During the 1920s and 1930s these instruments were introduced and the first recordings for were composed. During the 1940s, magnetic audio tape allowed audio engineers to record sound and then changes them by altering the tape speed or direction, leading to the production of electroacoustic tape music in the Middle East and Europe.
By the 1960’s when large mainframe computer synthesis were developed, Max Mathews of Bell Labs perfected MUSIC V, a direct digital synthesis language. smaller voltage-controlled synthesizers were made by Moog and others to make instruments available to most musicians, producers and universities.
The Moog synth
Robert Moog and the Moog company invented and produced the famous modular voltage-controlled analog synthesizer systems during the 1960s. This development that led to the coming together of the Moog synthesizer was the invention of the transistor, which enabled researchers like Moog to build electronic music systems that were significantly smaller, cheaper and more reliable than the earlier vacuum tube-based systems.
The Moog synthesizer gained wider recognition in the industry after it was demonstrated at the Monterey International Pop Festival during 1967. Later models of the Moog modular systems featured various improvements, such as a scaled-down, simplified, self-contained musical instrument designed for use in live performance. Variations and new synthesisers are still being produced today that use the basic principles of the Moog synth, it is known as the grandfather of modern synthesizers.
A chiptune or 8-bit music is synthesized electronic music which is either made for PSG sound chips used inside vintage computers, consoles, and arcade machines or tracker format music that purposely sound similar to old PSG chip music or music that combines PSG sounds and modern electronic and EDM music. This was the type of sound that was used heavily in old video games from the 70’s to the 90’s.
PC’s became less expensive and more accessible than they had previously been during the early 1980s which led to a explosion of old used computers and game consoles which had been ditched by consumers as they upgraded to newer equipment. They were in low demand by consumers as a whole and not hard to find which made them a highly accessible and cheap method for creating sound. While it has been a mostly underground genre, chiptune has had its moments of popularity in the 1980s and 21st century and is one key influencer of modern electronic music.