SOUND PATTERNS

A Structural Examination of Tonality, Vocabulary, Texture,
Sonorities, and Time Organization in Western Art Music

by PHILLIP MAGNUSON

MICROCOSMS

Chapter 50. Electronicism

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Chapter 41.
Impressionism
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Chapter 42.
Primitivism
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Chapter 43.
Neo-classicism
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Chapter 44.
Expressionism
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Chapter 45.
Serialism
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Chapter 46.
Jazz
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Chapter 47.
Indeterminism
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Chapter 48.
Texturalism
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Chapter 49.
Minimalism
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Chapter 51.
Neo-romanticism
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Chapter 52.
Eclecticism

ELECTRONICISM: an appeal to technology

ImageNam June Paik:
Global Groove
Paik's work is just one frame from an extended video artwork. He uses electronic signals instead of paint, and a cathode-tube instead of canvas. 1973

50.1 BACKGROUND

ELECTRONICISM had its beginning with the development of electronic instruments, around the turn of the century. These included the teleharmonium (a forerunner of the electronic organ), the theremin, and the ondes Martenot. It was not until the development of the tape recorder in the late 40's that it really began to develop into a style of composition. The tape recorder allowed for physical manipulation of sound, such as changing speed, direction, fragmentation, splicing, delay, and looping, or adding effects such as reverberation.

In synthesized sound, oscillators create wave shapes, which have particular properties: sine (no harmonics), sawtooth (all harmonics), square (odd harmonics), triangle (odd harmonics, with less in upper). Computers, either for processing or generation of sound, allow for quicker manipulations.

For more information, go to History of Electronic Music on the web.

50.2 COMPOSERS ASSOCIATED WITH ELECTRONICISM

50.3 MUSICAL ELEMENTS

Electronic music has three basic formats:

  1. Musique concrete:

    The manipulation of either live or recorded acoustic sound by physical or electronic means.

  2. Synthesized sound:

    The development of technology throughout the 20th century has created a multitude of devices able to create electronic sound.

  3. Synchronization of electronic and acoustic sound:

    The growth of electonic music media includes the combination of live performers with either pre-recorded sounds or simultaneous electronic manipulation of acoustic sound.

ASSIGNMENTS:

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Copyright 2008-2009 by Phillip Magnuson.

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