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120 Years of Electronic Music

Origins: The origins of electronic music can be traced back to the audio analytical work of Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894) the German physicist, mathematician and author of the seminal work "SENSATIONS OF TONE: Psychological Basis for Theory of Music" (c1860). Helmholtz built an electronically controlled instrument to analyse combinations of tones the "Helmholtz Resonator", using electromagnetically vibrating metal tines and glass or metal resonating spheres the machine could be used for analysing the constituent tones that create complex natural sounds. Helmholtz was concerned solely with the scientific analysis of sound and had no interest in direct musical applications, the theoretical musical ideas were provided by Ferruccio Busoni, the Italian composer and pianists who's influential essay "Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music" was inspired by accounts of Thaddeus Cahill's 'Telharmonium'. 
1870-1915: Early Experiments

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The first electronic instruments built from 1870 to 1915 used a variety of techniques to generate sound: the tone wheel (used in the Telharmonium  and the Chorelcello)- a rotating metal disk in a magnetic field causing variations in an electrical signal, an electronic spark causing direct fluctuations in the air (used uniquely in William Duddell's "Singing Arc'
in 1899) and Elisha Grey's self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit in the 'Electronic Telegraph', a spin-off from telephone technology. The tone wheel was to survive until the 1950's in the Hammond Organ but the experiments with self-oscillating circuits and electric arcs were discontinued he development of vacuum tube technology. 
1915-1960: The Vacuum Tube Era.

The engineer and prolific US inventor Lee De Forest patented the first Vacuum tube or triode in 1906, a refinement of John A. Fleming's electronic valve. The Vacuum tube's main use was in radio technology but De Forest discovered that it was possible to produce audible sounds from the tubes by a process known as heterodyning. twentieth century by radio engineers experimenting with radio vacuum tubes. Heterodyning effect is created by two high radio frequency sound waves of similar but varying frequency combining and creating a lower audible frequency, equal to the difference between the two radio frequencies (approximately 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz). De Forest was one amongst several engineers to realise the musical potential of the heterodyning effect and in 1915 created a musical instrument, the "Audion Piano". Other instruments to first exploit the vacuum tube were the 'Theremin'  (1917) 'Ondes Martenot' (1928), the 'Sphäraphon' (1921) the 'Pianorad' (1926). The Vacuum tube was to remain the primary type of audio synthesis until the invention of the integrated circuit in the 1960's.

1960-1980: Integrated Circuits.
Integrated Circuits came into widespread use in the early 1960's. Inspired by the writings of the German instrument designer Harald Bode, Robert Moog, Donald Buchla and others created a new generation of easy to use, reliable and popular electronic instruments.

1980-present: Digital.
The next and current generation of electronic instruments were the digital synthesisers of the 1980s. These synthesisers were software controlled offering complex control over various forms of synthesis previously only available on extremely expensive studio synthesisers. Early models of this generation included the Yamaha DX range and the
Casio CZ  synthesisers. Read more

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Electronic Music

Electronic music is usually made using a computer, by synthesizing or processing digital audio signals. These are sequences of numbers, where the index n, called the sample number, may range over some or all the integers.
A single number in the sequence is called a sample. The phase is a function of the sample number n, equal to !n +¡.  The initial phase is the phase at the zeroth sample (n= 0).
The graphis drawn in such a way as to emphasize the sampled nature of the signal. Alternatively, we could draw it more simply as a continuous curve (part b). The upper drawing is the most faithful representation of the (digital audio) sinusoid, whereas the lower one can be considered an idealization of it.Sinusoids play a key role in audio processing because, if you shift one of them left or right by any number of samples, you get another one.
This makes it easy to calculate the eÆect of all sorts of operations on sinusoids. Our ears use this same special property to help us parse incoming sounds, which is why sinusoids, and
combinations of sinusoids, can be used to achieve many musical eÆects. Digital audio signals do not have any intrinsic relationship with time, but to listen to them we must choose
a sample rate, usually given the variable name R, which is the number of samples that Øt into a second. The time t is related to the sample number n by Rt =n, or t = n=R . A sinusoidal
signal with angular frequency! has a real-time frequency equal to the sample number n by Rt = n, or t = n=R . A sinusoidal signal with angular frequency ! has a real-time frequency
equal to f = !R 2 º in Hertz (i.e., cycles per second), because a cycle is 2 º radians and a second is R samples. Read more


In other words, electronic dance music (EDM) isn’t just about dance music ... it’s bigger than that; it’s about electronic music culture (EMC). That’s the key finding from the Electronic Music, Technology and Youth Culture Study which surveyed a total of 437 Beatport users in the US and asked them to share their thoughts and feelings about EDM, technology, festivals and brands. Administered by Latitude, a custom market research consultancy, and commissioned by SFX’s Audience Insights team, the study is the first among many primary research studies that will look to define and quantify the Electronic Music Culture.
EDM  is more  than music;  it encapsulates  a  movement that  has very  deep roots. In contrast to virtually every other genre, it is a form of music that has its very  beginning in  technology.  This technological  birth has  maintained a  consistent theme throughout the growth in production and performance tools. Technology is coded into the music’s DNA and the DNA of those who embrace  and seek  this music  as  a  mainstay of  their  daily  life.  Although the  financial barrier  to  entry  has  been  removed  from  making  the  music,  the  passion  for  technology  continues  on  with  the  recent  wave  of  teenage  producer  phenoms.  These  young  and  old  producers  not  only  have  the  tricks  to  make  the  
music, but they also thrive in their ability to share it through a variety  of  live,  social  and  digital  channels.  This  technological  foundation  helped  build  and  sustain  a  culture  that  is  now  at  its  peak,  where  the underground has become mainstream. We then asked how our fans feel about EDM and almost 50% said that ‘it’s a way of life!’ 95% agreed that ‘it has created a culture that’s bigger than music itself and 93% agreed that ‘it’s a defining aspect of their generation.’
In addition to the technical execution of how to reach so many is the common thread of acceptance that exists in EDM culture. It is for the “cool” kids, but even more importantly it is for the outcasts and those in far left field. The statistics are available to support how these fans are more intensely devoted to their music, which makes perfect sense given the significance around finding a place (any place) where social judgment and stigma is virtually nonexistent. But why travel across the country or an ocean for a three-day festival? Simple, an unrivaled audible experience with surrounding spectacles expertly curated for an unforgettable experience. Read more