The Origins and Development of Electronic Dance Music and Contemporary Nightlife Musical Culture

Topics: Electronic music, Musical Instrument Digital Interface, Techno Pages: 11 (4182 words) Published: May 16, 2011
The Origins and Developments of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and Contemporary Nightlife Musical Culture

The origins and developments of Electronic Dance Music initially started with the development of the synthesizer. It was with these first uses of synthesized sounds that prompted the development of sequencers, sampling, effects processing, musical instrument digital interface (MIDI), use of computer technology, hard disk recording systems and modern day virtual studio technology (VST’s). These all fundamentally build the genre of electronic music, as we know it today. The development of this new technology brought many new genres to music, mostly popular, Electronic Dance Music being one of these. The Moog Synthesizer was the most significant and influential synthesizer in the development of Electronic Music. What made this so significant as a synthesizer was the fact that it allowed artists to relate to it like an instrument, an advantage over many of its predecessors, those of which seemed more like machines. This gave new up and coming artists a spark to their creativity, new timbral qualities that could be included in their works. American inventor, Robert Moog developed the Moog synthesizer and his first commercially available modular synthesizer was available in 1964, many makes and models of this Moog synthesizer were developed shortly afterwards. The invention of this synthesizer was the pinnacle of the birth of electronic music. Robert Moog never anticipated his instrument to be as influential on musical development as it was. When asked if there was a defining moment of realizing the potential of the Moog Synthesizer, Robert Moog replied, “No, there was no one defining moment. I got into designing electronic music composition equipment because I liked working with creative musicians, people who were always looking for new ways of making music.” (Clark, 1997, online). Robert Moog was simply seeking new ways to find sounds, much like any other composer and inventor are trying to accomplish to this modern day. Through various developments of the Moog Synthesizer, the “Minimoog Model D” was considered to be the first widely available, relatively affordable and portable synthesizer. Released in the 1970’s, The Minimoog was a small, monophonic three-oscillator keyboard synthesizer and soon became a popular musical instrument. The idea behind its invention was to condense the original modular Moog Synthesizer down, so it was ideal for live performance. In doing so, the design also eradicated the need of awkward patch cords. With the Moog attracting interests by many huge artists of the time, such as The Rolling Stones and Simon and Garfunkel, the Minimoog was originally designed to be of use to artists within the pop and rock music genres. As an instrument, the Minimoog is still actively used today, mostly in emulation and virtual studio technology (VST) for its unique timbral qualities. At the same time as Moog, another influential inventor to the synthesizer appeared on the scene. Don Buchla, born in 1937, was commissioned by contemporary composers Morton Subotnik and Ramon Sender to invent an electronic instrument for use in live performance and he invented his first modular synthesizer in 1963. Buchla was very much on the same path as Moog as they both understood the possibility of creating new sounds electronically and they both researched into better ways for these sounds to be controlled, mainly with the use of a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO). Although both these inventors started off in the same place, they actually ended up however in very different places in terms of their inventions. Buchla started to look at other ways in which electronics could effect music, aid the development of new sounds and make production of new sounds easily available to the market. Fundamentally, Buchla was the founder of one of the most influential electronic musical advances and ultimately the underlying advancement...
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