Explaining Electronic Music
Electronic music is so diverse now and so varied that it has come to mean many things to many people. From my Dubstep playlist in Spotify to Eric Whitacre’s combination of choral music with electronic elements and Indaba offering steady remix opportunities, the Hans Zimmer score of Inception slowing down Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne Regrette Rien” by 300% and Flume right here in Australia it is tricky analysing and providing a context to such a diverse musical genre.
This list here details some genres and their identifying features – you should take note and build on them as we explore more repertoire.
The following clips will provide you with some context and a foundation to base all future answers upon when addressing a listening question that contains electronic media.
This site on Electronic Music supplies 8 Rhythmic Devices you should know about when composing or analysing electronica. Take note, it is not written in the usual Sibelius/Finale notation you may be used to. Instead it uses a form of graphic notation to highlight the main beats (1 2 3 4) and layer subsequent subdivisions upon it.
It is interesting to see how these devices are labelled and described for your own analysis.
Drum Machines are essential to our contextual knowledge of electronic music. Without the beats and the ability to program such sounds (using samplers, drum machines or beat-boxing) this musical genre loses its dominant rhythmic focus.
Watch the video below to see the development and sounds that began it all. Being able to refer to specific sounds and even identify them in a work is just another part of your analysis preparation.
Q: Can you make a list of the pieces featured and then identify them in more contemporary works to link below?