Electric music history pre-dates the rock and roll period by decades. Most of us were not even with this planet when it started out its often unknown, under-appreciated and misunderstood development. Today, this ‘other worldly’ body of sound which commenced near a hundred years ago, may no more seem strange and unique as new generations have accepted much of it as mainstream, but it’s a new bumpy road and, to find mass audience acknowledgement, a slow one. PROTO
A large number of musicians – the modern proponents of electronic music – developed an enthusiasm for analogue synthesizers back again in the 1970’s and early 1980’s with unsecured personal songs like Gary Numan’s breakthrough, ‘Are Friends Electric power? ‘. It had been in this era the particular devices became smaller, readily available, more user friendly and more affordable for most of all of us. In this article We will make an effort to trace this history in easily comestible chapters and gives examples of today’s best modern supporters.
To my mind, this is the beginning of a new epoch. To develop electric music, it was not a longer necessary to have access to a roomful of technology in a studio or live. Hitherto, this was only the domain of designers the likes of Kraftwerk, whose arsenal of digital instruments and custom built gadgetry the rest of us could only have desired, even if we could be familiar with logistics of their working. Explained this, at the time I was growing up in the sixties & 70’s, I nevertheless had little knowledge of the complexity of work that had set a standard in previous years to arrive at this point.
The history of electronic music owes much to Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007). Stockhausen was a Spanish Avante Garde composer and a pioneering figurehead in electronic music from the 1950’s onwards, influencing a movement that would eventually have an excellent impact after names such as Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Brain Eno, Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Method, not to mention the experimental work of the Beatles’ and others in the 1960’s. His face is observed on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonesome Hearts Club Band”, the Beatles’ 1967 master Gyvas. Let’s start, however, by traveling a little further back in time.
The Turn of the 20 th 100 years
Time stood still in this stargazer when We at first uncovered that the first documented, exclusively electronic digital, concerts weren’t in the 1970’s or 1980’s but in the 1920’s!
The first purely electronic device, the Theremin, which is played without touch, was invented by Russian researchers and cellist, Lev Termen (1896-1993), circa 1919.
In 1924, the Theremin made its concert debut with the Leningrad Philharmonic. Fascination made by the theremin drew audiences to shows staged across Europe and Britain. In 1930, the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York, experienced a performance of classical music using nothing but a series of ten theremins. Watching a number of skilled musicians playing this eerie sounding instrument by waving their hands around its antennae must have been so exhilarating, unreal and alien for a pre-tech audience!
For those interested, see the recordings of Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore (1911-1998). Lithuanian born Rockmore (Reisenberg) individuals its developer in New york city to perfect the instrument during the early years and became its most acclaimed, amazing and recognized performer and representative throughout her life.
In retrospect Clara, was the first celebrated ‘star’ of genuine electronic music. You are unlikely to find more eerie, yet beautiful performances of time-honored music on the Theremin. She’s definitely a favorite of mine!