Electronic music: a short history
Time: 19:00 - 21:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: MD611A
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
What is the course about?
The course is an overview of the history of electronic music in the 20th and 21st centuries and the concepts, technology and aesthetic ideologies that underpin the developments that took place.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
In this introductory course we will explore the two main concepts that have driven the production of electronic music in art music composition and popular musics: synthesised music and sampling.
These ideas start with the European post 1945 electronic music studios: the synthesised focused German Elektronische Musik and the sampling focused French Musique concrète.
We will trace the development of synthesised music as it breaks away from its institutional modernist context and via the postmodern revolution of mass produced syntheseisers and personal computers and goes on to underpin dance music from the 1980s onwards.
We will trace sampling from Pierre Schaeffer’s early field recording experiments, through Steve Reich’s tape work to John Ozwald’s copyright defying Plunderphonics and hip-hop.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand the technological and artistic context for the post war electronic music studios in Paris and Cologne and the early electronic work of Pierre Schaeffer and Stockhausen.
Have some familiarity with electronic art music composition in the middle of the c20th including repertoire by Eliane Radigue, Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram.
Trace the leap synthesised music made from German technological modernism to African American techno music via Kraftwerk in the 1970s.
Understand sampling’s use of fixed media or found materials in an art music context (Pluderphonics, Jennifer Walshe) and as the predominant technique used in hip hop.
Understand how technological changes that created cheap consumer goods to make electronic music (Yamaha keyboards, Apple computers, tape players) drove the aesthetic shift from modernism to post modernism in the late c20th.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for beginners. However, we will look at some music notations and learn to identify key features (how many voices are singing, etc…) so this course will be most suitable for those who are curious and ambitious to learn.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
- Sessions will comprise combinations of lecture, discussion, quizzes, guided listening, video and score study.
- Course materials (handouts, scores, links to online videos) will be shared via google classroom.
- You will be encouraged to do extra reading outside class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You may also wish to purchase some of the music books or recordings discussed in class, links to these materials will be available online after each session.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
To find out more about music history classes Music history courses in London and online which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.
Edward Henderson is a composer and performer from South London. He studied at Cambridge and Trinity Laban, where he won the Director's Prize for Composition. He co-directs composers’ collective Bastard Assignments, which presents shows in London and across Europe. His theatre pieces "Manspangled" and "Hum" have been performed at Second Movement's Rough for Opera night and the Tête à Tête opera festival, and his piano piece "Milk 2" has been performed in Europe and in Sydney. His "Tape Piece" opened the 2015 London Contemporary Music Festival, and his performance piece "Totally" featured at the 2016 Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. Edward teaches at City Lit, Morley College and Trinity Laban, and runs inclusive community choirs for Certitude.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.