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Buy Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music by Joel Chadabe

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Electric Sound
The Past and Promise of Electronic Music
by Joel Chadabe

reviewed by Jay Williston

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Buy Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music
by Joel Chadabe

. . .

The History
Electronic music was not born, it was invented. Joel Chadabe's book is an account of the equipment and the people that made electronic music throughout history, from the Thaddeus Cahill's Telharmonium to the band, U2. Chadabe, a well-known electronic music composer himself, has compiled over 150 interviews with the inventors and innovators of early electronic instruments and techniques, detailing the development of electronic instruments and devices, tape splices, recording methods, and the music/sounds they created. This book is about the stories behind the music as much as it is about the music itself.

The Music
This is a history of the work done on the cutting edge of music and sound--music made in universities, laboratories, and music studios throughout the world by such artists as John Cage, Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Milton Babbit, Morton Subotnick. If these names are not familiar to you, then you are missing out on the foundations of electronic sound and electronic music development.

The Philosophy
This book also discusses in great detail, the "why" of electronic music. What were these early innovators trying to do? What drove them to such lengths to create new and different sounds. How has the computer and the internet changed the way we approach creating and performing music.

The Chapters
The Book is divided into 12 chapters in 6 sections as follows:

    The pioneers in the first half of the twentieth century.
  1. The Early Instruments

  2. Tape music and related technology, in the studio and in performance.
  3. The Great Opening Up of Music to All Sounds
  4. Expansion of the Tape Music Idea
  5. Out of the Studios

  6. Digital technology and synthesizer concepts come together
  7. Computer Music
  8. Synthesizers
  9. The Midi World

  10. Where are we in the developement of performance devices and sound generators?
  11. Inputs and Controls
  12. Making Sound

  13. Ideas emerge for an interactive instrument.
  14. Automata
  15. Interaction

  16. Summaries and speculations...
  17. Where Are We Going?

    Notes on Sources and Materials

In Conclusion
This is simply an amazing book. It tells the story of electronic music that has not been previously told. Not only is it a good read, there is so much information that it also acts as a good reference for someone interested in listening to and learning about electronic music.

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