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How Electronic Music Has Changed Over Time

January 17, 2018
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How Electronic Music Has Changed Over Time

Nowadays electronic music encompasses a huge category of modern music with a large number of different styles: from dubstep to disco. Even though the majority of people tend to think that this music was born in the 21st century, it has been around for about 50 years. Elements of electronic music started developing in the early 1960s, but looking back even to the 1800s it is easy to come across the first electronic-based instruments: the Denis d’or keyboard and clavecin électrique. The very beginning: the 1970s EDM or electronic music first became a popular genre in the 1970s, but bands and artists started using electronic instruments in the 1960s. A famous rock band called Pink Floyd was one of the first bands to use these instruments, and made the Moog synthesizer a necessary part of their music. The Beatles, another internationally renowned band, also included synthesizers and keyboards in some of their songs. The Mini-Moog keyboard synthesizer was released in the 1970 and became wide spread. The instrument was portable and affordable, which is why many pop and electronic music artists were eager to use it. In the 1970s electronic music became widespread, and it was a popular German band called Kraftwerk who used a Moog synthesizer and vocoder which acquainted a wider audience with this kind of music. Moreover, Kraftwerk’s members are often called the founders of the electronic music scene. As soon as the band started the new trend, other artists followed them and continued to bring electronic music to a bigger audience. Some of these artists included Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer and David Bowie. Giorgio Moroder left a significant mark in the history of electronic music by recording the track for the movie Midnight Express, called Chase, that later became one of the first electronic tracks to receive high rankings on the Billboard Hot 100. Electronic music in the 1980s The 1980s happened to be a perfect time for EMD. With the advent of synthpop and house styles the club scene took a new step in building the popularity of electronic music. Many rock bands of the time started to embrace electronic music by using drum machines and MIDI effects: Depeche Mode, A-ha, The Sisters of Mercy and Pet Shop Boys. By the late 1980s, a time of glamour, glitz and excess, the world learned of some new genres: trance and techno. One of the remarkable artists of 1980s was DJ Jesse Saunders, with his track On and On, widely considered to be the first house record. With the help of the home PC, MIDI technology was more widely circulated than ever. Electronic music in the 1990s The 1990s were an important time for the history of electronic music, when it grew into the widely popular genre it is today. Many styles became popular during the 90’s : house, ambient, techno, experimental, drum and bass, and trance. One of the most famous electronic tracks of the period was Halcyon + on + on by Orbital. Techno and house became a mainstream style in the UK and Germany, but the audience in the United States didn’t accept these genres until much later. Since personal computers were in almost every house, electronic music became easy to compose. Home users and electronic music fans actively used the Fruity Loops app for this purpose. Electronic music from 2000 to today In our century electronic dance music (also called EDM) has grown into an unavoidable part of mainstream music. Names like Tiësto and David Guetta are now known in any country in the world, and are familiar even to people who never heard of electronic music. These artists have done something that would have sounded impossible several decades ago – they reached the top of world’s top music charts. Nowadays electronic music plays an important role in pop music. Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and many other recognized celebrities include elements of house, trance and dubstep into their songs on a regular basis. Today, electronic music has achieved its highest point and has affected other music genres. In our century electronic music has evolved into a more nuanced genre and now includes elements of disco, funk, alternative, hip-hop, punk, rap and rock. Created by DJs, it is widely played in nightclubs and mostly appeals to young people in their twenties and thirties. Most popular EDM tracks of all time Millions of tracks have been recorded since the invention of electronic music, but some of them had a special role in the history of the genre and helped shape the future of electronic music. Let’s get to know the most legendary ones.

  1. Strings of Life by Derrick May (1987). This track is as crucial to electronic music as God save the Queen is to punk. Even after decades, it remains a benchmark to many EMD fans.
  2. Chime by Orbital  (1989) can truly be called the soundtrack of the electronic music explosion.
  3. Deep Inside by Hardrive (1993), a combination of deep house and jazzy elements, it grew into a classic electronic music track.
  4. Clear by Cybotron (1983) laid the basis for techno music.
  5. Mentasm by Second Phase (1991) is a hard techno track whose sounds influenced today’s artists such as Rihanna and Die Antwoord.

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