The History of Electronic Music May Be Older Than You Think!

by on August 20, 2015

      Electronic music has been a part of our music history for longer than you’d think. The film “I Dream of Wires” explores the origins of electronic music through experimentation and the creation of the first synthesizers that evolved from early electronic instruments like the theremin and the oscillator.


A Modern Thermin

   As it turns out, the 1950’s brought about about the birth of electronic music as we know it when the modern synthesizer was created at Columbia University in the same lab as the original Manhattan Project. After World War II, the top secret lab became the home of Columbia University’s Computer Music Center. The first synthesizer, RCA Mark II, was a behemoth computer that was built in the lab at the cost of $250,000 dollars, which is close to $2,000,000 dollars today.

   With the invention of the transistor, computers became smaller, therefore the first portable and inexpensive synthesizers became possible to create. In the early 1960’s, Robert Moog became the first inventor to create an economically feasible synthesizer for musicians and music professors. In addition, he became one of the godfathers of modern music by creating the first voltage control filters, which represents the origins of the warbled electronic sounds that we have grown familiar with within modern rock, dance, and electronica. Moog’s synthesizers were overwhelmingly embraced by popular contemporary musicians by the end of the 1960’s.

   Explore more of the history of electronic music through the thought provoking documentary “I Dream of Wires” now available on Netflix. View the trailer for the film below.