I found you site some years ago. I teach Organology and History of music in a conservatory in Spain i always recommend your web to the students: it’s fantastic.
There are few books about electrophones and this site is the most complete and attractive source about electrophones…
Wonder also if you’ve seen some 50 or so of my columns in Keyboard Magazine in ‘seventies popularizing this history; and my Ph.D. Dissertation on the topic (1972) which is cited in New Harvard Dictionary of Music and New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments?
Avant-gardism is a deliberate attempt ... to achieve a new quality in music merely through the repudiation of historically evolved norms and rules. This is a gross theoretical error ... We Soviet artists resolutely reject avant-gardism.
120 Years of Electronic Music* is a project that outlines and analyses the history and development of electronic musical instruments from around 1880 onwards. This project defines ‘Electronic Musical Instrument’ as an instruments that generate sounds from a purely electronic source rather than electro-mechanically or electro-acoustically (However the boundaries of this definition do become blurred with, say, Tone Wheel Generators and tape manipulation of the Musique Concrète era).
WARNING: Avoid a question that only looks at one specific event or process. For example, “What happened on Thursday, Dec.12, 1943 at the Boeing bomber plant in Albany, California?” is too narrow. Perhaps there may have been several important events that day, including a fight over an interracial relationship. However, this question does not position you to explore the larger processes that were taking place in the plant over time, nor why they are important for understanding sex, race and gender in American history.
The focus of this project is in exploring the main themes of electronic instrument design and development previous to 1970 (and therefore isn’t intended as an exhaustive list of recent commercial synthesisers or software packages.) As well as creating a free, encyclopaedic, pedagogical resource on the History of Electronic Music (and an interesting list for Synthesiser Geeks) my main interest is to expose and explore musical, cultural and political narratives within the historical structure and to analyse the successes and failures of the electronic music ‘project’, for example;
Shostakovich was influenced by this ferment. After the success of his First Symphony,he burned the scores of some previous compositions and concentrated on the new style. Hewas commissioned by the government to do a composition to celebrate the 10th anniversaryof the Russian Revolution. The result was his Second Symphony, a startlingly differentwork from his First. The music, blatantly constructivist like other compositions of thistime, had abandoned the tonality and structures of the past and replaced them withcurtains of sound, moving about in new ways. Shostakovichs other compositions of thisperiod were in the same vein, to greater or lesser degrees.
After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia an utopian avant-garde movement inspired by Futurism and Anarchistic ideas developed which included radical new music and performance. New, atonal, music was written, new types of theatre evolved and new instruments invented to bring about this utopian age; conducted a huge symphony of sirens involving warships, factory hooters and artillery and proposed the destruction of all pianos to free music of fixed tonation. It was proposed that a new scientific culture replace the old archaic cultural order– brought about by new electronic instruments and scientific investigations into audio and visual perception (this period is covered in some detail in Andrei Smirnov’s excellent book ‘’). The Bolshevik government, traditionalists at heart and worried at their lack of control of this anarchic movement, suppressed it replacing it with a manageable propaganda based culture of uplifting, popular socialist realism; many of the former avant-garde were murdered, imprisoned or sidelined for the rest of their lives.
*The name: ‘120 Years of Electronic Music’ project was begun in 1996; considering electronic music started around 1880 this was quite an accurate title for the time. Almost twenty years later it’s a bit out of date but it’s become something a bit of a brand-name and hard to change
this site is unbelievable,i research music/telegralph 5-6 hours day two great books, read play music loud and the victorian intornet the later is tom standage
Nice but very, incomplete!
Misses RAI Milan’s Studio, IRCAM, CCRMA and the all the composers who actually have developed fundamental concepts without whom no electronic music would actually exist. It’s not just the gear, it’s, before all, the music ideas behind them.
Whilst I agree that it’s ‘not just the gear’ – this project IS specifically about exploring electronic music through the technology first. I think there are plenty of musical resources that tackle music and ideas as a starting point.