Electronic Music - History and Commendable Advancements since the Late 19th Century – Essay Example

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The paper “ Electronic Music - History and Commendable Advancements since the Late 19th Century”   is a  meaty example of an essay on music. Electronic music refers to music that is produced using electronic processing and reproduced using loudspeakers. Any music that is produced or modified using electronic, electrical, or electromechanical means can be referred to like electronic music, a composer needs to anticipate the application of electronic processing on the musical work that he/she does for the piece of music to qualify as electronic. This means that the final product of the composition has to reflect the composer’ s interaction with the electronic medium used to produce the piece of music for it to qualify as electronic music.

Some experimental compositions that contain indeterminate scoring and perhaps chance elements allow a composition to qualify as electronic. Thus, if a conventional popular music piece is played on a guitar that is electronically amplified, it does not qualify as electronic music. Electronic music is normally produced from a number of sound resources. It can be produced from the sound that has been picked by microphones, or even from the sound that emanates from electronic oscillators.

In addition to these, electronic music can be produced from sounds produced by microprocessors and complex computer installations, which are normally tape-recorded and then manipulated to form a permanent sound. In general, except for live electronic music, the performance of electronic music takes the form of loudspeakers that may also be accompanied by conventional musical instruments. This paper examines the history of electronic music and the subsequent use of electronic sound-producing devices in producing music. History of electronic musicElectronic music started with the development of the telharmonium at the end of the 19th century by Thaddeus Cahill.

The machine was about seven tons and its size was as big as the size of a boxcar. It was designed to be listened to using telephone receivers. The developer of the machine intended to broadcast music in people’ s homes, restaurants, and hotels using the phone. Thus the machine was basically an assembly of telephone receivers and rotary generators that were to convert electric signals into sound. The machine failed because it was impractical, complex, and it was incapable of producing sounds because loudspeakers and amplifiers were yet to be invented.

Even though the developer never realized his plan to broadcast music via phones to hotels, people’ s homes and restaurants, his ideas became invaluable almost a century later because the contemporary society makes immense use of streaming media. During the period between World War I and Second World War (WWII), developments were made that formed the foundation for contemporary electronic music. However, most of these developments were not musically relevant and thus they were just technically important.

First, innovators developed audio-frequency technologies. Additionally, basic circuits, filter circuits, amplifiers, and most significantly loudspeakers. In addition, the electrical recording was introduced in the late 1920s replacing mechanical acoustical recording (Hiller, 2013). Second, electronic and electro-mechanical instruments were developed that were meant to replace conventional instruments that were in existence. This was a commendable milestone and one that got the attention of a myriad of circuit designers and ingenious inventors. It is, however, important to mention at this point that organ builders intended to replace harmoniums and pipe organs instead of giving novel instruments that would complement the efforts of composers of that time.

Third, the novel musical instruments were developed to give timbres, which ordinary musical instruments could not provide. The 1920s saw an increase in the interest of building musical instruments. Successful instruments developed during this time were comparatively few and they were monophonic, which means that they could only one line of a melody at a time. Examples include the theremin and the trautonium (Hiller, 2013).  

Reference

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Hiller, L. (2013). “Electronic Music”. Accessed January 17, 2015, < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/183823/electronic-music/27528/Computer-sound-synthesis >

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