Thursday, 22 July 2010

Computers in electronic music

Writing electronic music may initially appear to be an easy task. Most of the people who have tried writing it say that their pieces ended up sounding either too commercial or something rather amateur. They finally realize that there truly exists a difference in creating something unique and something too amateurish. Unlike other forms of music, electronic music is not limited to the properties of the natural instruments or its musicians.

Although, one can argue that these boundaries can be broken and can bring the creator close to the ultimate barrier. Naturally, this is just only inspiration.

While I have tried my hands on creating something on my laptop, I must confess that some of the pieces did sound good (now, I am not blowing my own trumpet here). What I am trying to emphasize is that there is so much pre-recorded music available and all you go to do is to come up with the correct mix. In fact, there are a plenty of pre recorded audio software samples and software packages out there, in fact maybe too many. Besides machines are fast and humans even more impatient which helps in a situation where machines would be able to interact with the humans on an organic level so as to achieve instant results.

I can still remember my piano and saxophone lessons in school – I hated it and most of the time ended up playing the drums. This was because I thought it was more fashionable and rhythmic. Nowadays when I get to hear the drum tunes in my laptop software, I think the kids nowadays have it too easy as they are rewarded with instant results.

Summarizing, electronic music celebrates the union between advancement of technology and the human intellect. If we reflect on the current movements in music with the past, we visualize the futurism in music. My personal feeling is that we still are not there yet and there is more to come.

Until then enjoy.

Next week I’ll take on independent performers.

Friday, 16 July 2010

History of electronic music

For those who came in late, what is electronic music?

Basically, it is a form of music that utilizes musical electronic music technology, be it synthesizers or computers while producing it.

Confusing huh?

While some of you may have heard about Kraftwerk, a lot more of you would have listened to Pink Floyd’s or Jean Michel Jarre’s music. Have you noticed any difference from the standard pop or rock music? I am sure you would have noticed the electronic music tunes that predominantly stand out in their music. That is to say you might be able to differentiate the music made using electromechanical means (such as the electric guitar or the Hammond organ) and the music produced using electronic technology (devices such as the synthesizer and the computer). Well the electronic part is what is called electronic music.

Although electronic music was initially identified as western art music, with the advent of affordable music technology, it became very popular. However, it was during the sixties, that electronic music became increasingly popular as synthesizers started becoming a part of many music bands. One of the most popular electronic music artists during the sixties was Delia Derbyshire, who worked with the BBC Radiophone Workshop which incidentally was a very popular electronic music studio.

But it was in the seventies that synthesizers became a part of rock music with popular bands such as Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Yes using this format in their music. The German band Kraftwerk took a more electronic approach and released an album totally composed on an electronic theme. Although it was a bit bizarre, it sounded rather cool. The other artists who popularized this were Jean Michel Jarre (his concerts were phenomenal, we’ll leave that for another day!), Vangelis, Tangerine Dream etc. Besides most of the leading bands started incorporating the synthesizer into their music. There was Bowie, Genesis, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Police… so many of them.

And now can you name a single band that doesn’t use electronic music technology in their music?

That’s enough for this week… gotta catch some sleep

Next week, we will discuss how computers play a part in electronic music.