Digital music history pre-dates the rock-and-roll age by decades. Most of us were not even on this planet when it began its frequently unknown, under-appreciated and also misconstrued growth. Today, this ‘other worldly’ body of audio which began near a century back, might no more show up strange and special as new generations have actually accepted much of it as mainstream, however it’s had a rough road and also, in locating mass audience approval, a slow one.
Lots of musicians – the modern proponents of electronic music – established an interest for analogue synthesizers in the late 1970’s and very early 1980’s with signature tracks like Gary Numan’s advancement, ‘Are Friends Electric?’. It remained in this period that these devices diminished, much more easily accessible, more user friendly and also much more affordable for much of us. In this short article I will certainly try to map this history in easily absorbable phases as well as offer instances these days’s ideal modern-day supporters.
To my mind, this was the beginning of a new epoch. To create digital music, it was no longer required to have accessibility to a roomful of technology in a studio or live. Hitherto, this was exclusively the domain name of artists the similarity Kraftwerk, whose arsenal of electronic tools and also custom-made developed gadgetry the rest of us might only have dreamed of, also if we could understand the logistics of their performance. Having said this, at the time I was maturing in the 60’s & 70’s, I nevertheless had little knowledge of the intricacy of job that had actually established a requirement in previous decades to reach this factor.
The history of digital songs owes much to Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007). Stockhausen was a German Avante Garde author as well as a pioneering figurehead in digital songs from the 1950’s onwards, affecting a movement that would at some point have an effective impact upon names such as Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Mind Eno, Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Setting, and also the experimental work of the Beatles’ and also others in the 1960’s. His face is seen on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the Beatles’ 1967 master Opus. Let’s begin, however, by traveling a little additional back in time.
The Turn of the 20th Century.
Time stood still for this stargazer when I originally discovered that the first documented, exclusively electronic, concerts were not in the 1970’s or 1980’s but in the 1920’s!
The very first simply digital instrument, the Theremin, which is played without touch, was designed by Russian researcher and cellist, Lev Termen (1896-1993), circa 1919.
In 1924, the Theremin made its performance launching with the Leningrad Philharmonic. Passion created by the theremin attracted audiences to shows presented throughout Europe and also Britain. In 1930, the respected Carnegie Hall in New york city, experienced a performance of symphonic music utilizing only a series of 10 theremins. Seeing a number of skilled musicians playing this spooky sounding tool by swing their hands around its antennae have to have been so exciting, unique as well as unusual for a pre-tech audience!
For those interested, check out the recordings of Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore (1911-1998). Lithuanian birthed Rockmore (Reisenberg) dealt with its innovator in New York to best the instrument during its early years and became its most acclaimed, dazzling and acknowledged entertainer and rep throughout her life.
In retrospect Clara, was the very first popular ‘celebrity’ of real electronic music. You are not likely to find more spooky, yet gorgeous efficiencies of classical music on the Theremin. She’s absolutely a favorite of mine!