Electric music history pre-dates the rock and roll time by decades. Most of us were not even about this planet when it started out its often imprecise, under-appreciated and misunderstood development. Today, this ‘other worldly’ body of sound which commenced near a 100 years ago, may will no longer look 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. YouTube Promotion
A large number of musicians – the modern proponents of electronic music – developed an interest for analogue synthesizers back again in the 1970’s and early 1980’s with 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 a lot of of all of us. In this article I actually will make an effort to trace this history in easily comestible chapters and gives examples of today’s best modern advocates.
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 entirely the domain of designers the likes of Kraftwerk, whose arsenal of electric 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 an In german Avante Garde composer and a pioneering figurehead in electronic music from the 1950’s onwards, influencing a movement that would eventually have a strong 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 viewed on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Unhappy 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 Hundred years
Time stood still with this stargazer when I actually formerly uncovered that the first documented, exclusively electric, concerts weren’t in the 1970’s or 1980’s but in the 1920’s!
The first purely electronic tool, the Theremin, which is played without touch, was invented by Russian science tecnistions and cellist, Lev Termen (1896-1993), circa 1919.
In 1924, the Theremin made its concert debut with the Leningrad Philharmonic. Curiosity made by the theremin drew audiences to live 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, unique and alien for a pre-tech audience!
For those interested, see the recordings of Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore (1911-1998). Lithuanian born Rockmore (Reisenberg) caused its designer in New york city to perfect the instrument during the early years and became its most acclaimed, outstanding and recognized performer and representative throughout her life.