Music Historicity | Drop the beat: Electronic dance music covers a wide spectrum | Music

From the very dawn of man and his beating with a primitive percussion instrumentperhaps the first resemblance to music – he also probably nodded his head or tapped the monkey’s foot in the artistic expression of the dance.

But music and dance don’t always go together. Note that lovers of classical music usually appreciate the symphony while sitting in a chair.

In general, it is safe to say that music as an art form has a connection and correlation with dance. Music can motivate people to indulge in their movements, as in “dancing like no one is watching”.

This week, EDM, or electronic dance music, is being discussed as part of the Music Historicity’s ongoing examination of various music genres.

Dance may not be a necessary element of music, but music is certainly a necessary element for the art of dance.

The historical comedy-drama “Amadeus” of 1984 contains a memorable scene where the emperor attends an opera rehearsal and sees the actors dancing unaccompanied. A strange spectacle forces the head then to repeal his previous decree authorizing ballet in operas.

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Music and dance are inextricably linked in many song examples such as The Twist, The Loco-Motion, The Humpty Dance, The Monster Mash, Le Freak, The Hustle and The Safety Dance.

The advent of the Moog synthesizer in the late 1960s led to the rise of popular electronic music.

It was Wendy Carlos – then known as Walter Carlos – in 1968 released “Switched On Bach”, a collection of 12 public tracks by the classical composer performed on a synthesizer keyboard.

The album rose to 10th place on the Billboard, won three Grammy Awards and reached platinum sales in 1986.

The use of synthesizers contributed to the development of a musical style that seemed to be well suited for disco dancing. An early example can be heard in Donna Summers ’“ I Feel Love ”and other similar dance hits.

The electronic side of synthesizer music is well known in the German band Kraftwerk, whose self-titled debut album of 1970 set the first standard for EDM. In 1975, an abbreviated 3:28 version of the original 22-minute title track from their fourth album, “Autobahn,” peaked at number 25 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

Check out Kraftwerk’s 1981 album “World World,” one of my favorites.

A native of South Florida, Mark Potzler is a talented music professional with many years of experience as a club DJ.

“I have a problem with the EDM label,” Potzler told me recently. “Although it’s a common phrase for electronic dance music, all electronic music is not just dance. Kraftwerk, for example, is not necessarily dance music, but the band is definitely electronic.”

His view is that electronic music and dance are mutually exclusive.

In the early 1980s, various subgenres of electronic music emerged, such as synth pop, house, techno and freestyle.

“When I was growing up, the popular style was called ‘Techno,’ that’s what everyone called electronic,” Potzler said. “But now techno is its own genre, and EDM is more specific. The fact is that people need to realize that the term ‘EDM’ has evolved and now means much more than before.”

By the 1990s, more EDM subgenres became known, including Progressive House, Breakbeat, and Trance, which in turn have their own subgenres such as Progressive Trance, Tech Trance, and Uplifting Trance.

Different subgenres can be defined by the number of beats per minute or beats per drum or percussion. For example, music in a trance is usually 120-150 beats per minute. It is also characterized by rising tensions and electronic elements throughout the song, culminating in a release or “fall”.

Some famous trance performers include Paul van Dyck, KLF, Art of Trance and Age of Love.

Going back to the 2000s, new EDM styles included music by Trap, Dubstep and Electro House. Examples of artists are Lil ‘John, Oris Jay and Daft Punk respectively.

“For me, Daft Punk is a modern, perfect product,” Potzler said. “For the older generation, who appreciate Steely Dan and their quality of production, Daft Punk is the same with quiet and gentle songs, as well as some big and loud ones. The dynamics in their songs are just amazing – they are clean, rich and full.”

Today, EDM festivals are held around the world, the largest in North America is the Electric Daisy Carnival. The three-day event takes place in Las Vegas in May, is attended by dozens of DJs and is attended by more than 100,000 people a day.

If you want to buy a season ticket for all three days of EDC this year, it will cost you just $ 430.

As a DJ, Potzler understands that playing recorded music at a club can be very similar to performing a live band.

“It depends on my mood,” he said. “As a DJ, you can influence everyone’s mood by playing certain songs at a certain point. As long as I feel that everyone on the dance floor likes the melody and they can relate to it, they will dance to it. ”

Potzler said his mood to play at the club could range from hip-hop to reggae and rock music.

“I like light, fun music for parties, regardless of genre,” he said. “I don’t delve into poetry. It’s okay, but I don’t want to think too much about the lyrics because you’ll lose me. “

As he rides in his car on his way to work, Potzler plays “what some would consider music for training. Something fast-paced and exciting.” Sophie Tucker’s “Sun Came Up” is not so much a story song as just a show of love for life. .

“To drive home late at night, I can be very tired and I need music to not fall asleep. Or maybe I’m so annoyed that I need Chill music to get me back down,” he said.

An example of Chill’s music is “You Wish” by Nightmares on Wax. Sirius XM has a whole music channel dedicated to Chill.

“My favorite part of EDM is that the producers and creators have been able to turn a boring song into something fun and danceable,” Potzler concluded.

For your humble narrator, my EDM favorites are the aforementioned “Computer World” album from Kraftwerk, Major Lazer, Thievery Corporation and the first five releases of Devo – perhaps not EDM, but heavy on a synthesizer.

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