Art & Music

Electronic Dance Music: An Exposé

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Electronic Dance Music – Photo Credit: theodysseyonline.com

Have you ever listened to a song and wondered what some of the origins of that particular song are? Many popular songs today use EDM (Electronic Dance Music) beats or songs in them to give the artist’s song some flare that may not have been there otherwise. It is used in many different styles of music, such as pop, rap, and even rock.  It gives many people’s favorite songs their unique sound.

Although it is used heavily in other styles of music, EDM has evolved to its own style of music. EDM was first considered to be a style of music when, in the early 60’s, Robert Moog invented the Moog Synthesizer. The original Moog was a keyboard-like synthesizer that would allow the person operating it to change and blend different sounds and beats. Although it sounds like revolutionary invention for the next generation of popular music, it wasn’t really used by many people until in the 70’s when a German band called Kraftwerk introduced their new “electric sound” to the world. Since EDM’s “world premier,” it became a new style of music that people enjoyed and that would become increasingly popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The 70’s take on EDM was mainly based on pop and rock-and-roll styles of music that later shaped the way for new genres of EDM to be born.

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Photo of EDM Artist Marshmello. Photo Courtesy of EDM Sauce

In the early 80’s, genres like synthpop, a genre of music played with synthesizers and light, upbeat melodies and lyrics, and dance music, music made to be played in nightclubs or raves with different electronic instruments, were created. Soon, bands like A-ha and Pet Shop Boys started using sound from a MIDI, a sort off “main control” unit that all of the sounds from other electronic instruments would be sent to this in conjunction with each other. Even some rock bands like The Sisters of Mercy used the MIDI to give their music a darker feel to it. Then, even more genres of music were created, such as house, music that uses synchronized bass line with lyrics and in a fast pace, and trance, which uses simple and repetitive beats. Towards the end of the 80’s an English band named Orbital created the new genres like techno, which uses repetitive chords and melodies and different claps, beats, and other sound effects.

In the 90’s, EDM became more popular and easier to create. Since many people in the 90’s had a household computer, people could start using software on their computer like Fruity Loops (known as FL Studio now) to create new tracks and genres. It became even easier for the average person to create this new type of music without having all of the fancy and expensive technology that they would have needed earlier. This is also why EDM in very popular today: there are expanding opportunities to create a living off of making this type of music. So in conjunction with this new technology, people were able to create even more genres like hard house and techno.

EDM has changed dramatically throughout the years with new genres like dubstep, which uses big bass sounds and big drops that happen after a suspense buildup. There have also been easier ways to create it using even more programs like Garageband, Logic Pro, and Ableton Live. Also, achieving popularity is easier with using different sharing networks like YouTube, SoundCloud, and iTunes. YouTube has a big role in the popularity of EDM artists and even other artists that create music in different styles. Since YouTube is a free site that allows you to put up videos of anything, many artists start out on YouTube because it is so easy to put their content out for the world to see. Also, YouTube supports advertisements, so the artist that put their content on YouTube can even make money for their content.

There are many popular EDM YouTube channels that will upload new songs on a regular basis like Mr. Suicided Sheep, Monstercat, and Trap City. SoundCloud is also another great way to upload music, mainly because the music doesn’t have to be in a video format. This makes it easier for artist to get new songs out without having to take the time to edit a video. Some popular EDM SoundCloud accounts are Promixity, Marshmello, Trap and Bass, and NCS. iTunes is another way to upload your music and albums for people to listen to and enjoy. iTunes is a little harder to use, mainly because content that is submitted has to get searched by Apple mainly to prevent viruses getting into their software. So it takes a little bit longer to get content out there, but artists’ albums and songs will sell the same way as if they were sold in the store, and they don’t rely on advertisement money.

Even though EDM can be its own style of music, it has also influenced many other styles of music like pop, jazz, and even rock to incorporate it into their pieces. Popular artists today like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift also incorporate different sounds and beats in some of their popular songs like “Sorry,” “What Do You Mean,” and “Balance Space.” EDM has evolved into being a widely popular style of music that can be listened to or created as its own style of music or be added into other styles of music for a new twist on that style. EDM today is a very popular style of music, and many believe that it will continue to gain popularity for more years to come.

Daniel Furnary is a Freshman in Mr. Peightel’s Honors English Class.