What is electronic music?

It is a type of music that is created from electronically generated or modified sounds.


There is a fundamental distinction that divides electronic music into two groups:


Electronic music made of purely synthetic material obtained by generating sound waves using electronic devices. This is done without the use of traditional musical instruments or natural sounds, and is a domain of computers, synthesizers, and other technologies. It is the realm of modular generators, computer programs and "virtual" software instruments.


Electro-acoustic music made of electronically modified natural sounds. The source of this music is the whole spectrum of sounds taken from the natural world. This is the domain of microphones, digital samplers as well as sound processing software. The term "electroacoustic music" can be associated with live or recorded music. During live performances, natural sounds are modified in real time with the help of electronics. The source of the sound can be anything from ambient noise to musicians playing live on traditional instruments.


The manipulation of recorded, naturally existing sounds is the basis of most electronic music. The classical art of composing electronic music with the use of magnetic tape was conceptually no different from what is today called "digital sampling". The goal in either case is to capture real-world sounds that the composer can then use and possibly modify.

The amplification of traditional music instruments is a form of electro-acoustic music, but it can only be considered as belonging within the scope of electronic music if the musician uses technology to modify the sound.