Synthpop

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Synthpop is a genre of music in which the synthesizer is the dominant musical instrument. It originated as part of the new wave movement of the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, and it has continued to exist and develop ever since. The genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s/early 2010s.

Contents

Characteristics

While most current popular music in the industrialized world is realized via electronic instruments, synthpop has its own stylistic tendencies which differentiate it from other music produced by the same means. These include the exploitation of artificiality (i.e., the synthesis of sounds from waveforms) where the synthesizers are not used to imitate acoustic instruments, the use of mechanical sounding rhythms, vocal arrangements as a counterpoint to the artificiality of the instruments, and ostinato patterns as an effect. Synthpop song structures are generally similar to those of other popular music.

History

Influences

Mid-twentieth-century avant-garde and musique concrète composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen were pioneers in the development of electronic music. However, the instruments were originally large, highly complex, temperamental, and expensive.

The British progressive rock group Emerson Lake and Palmer were commercially successful with their song Lucky Man which featured a solo using the moog synthesizer.[1] Rock musicians of the 1970's embraced the synthesizer because it was something new and the synthetic sounds it offered weren’t previously available through any other source.[1]

In 1972, jazz musician Stan Free, under the pseudonym Hot Butter had a top 10 hit in the United States and United Kingdom with a cover of the 1969 Gershon Kingsley song "Popcorn". It is considered a forerunner to synthpop due to the use of the Moog synthesizer.[2] Notably David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Kraftwerk influenced the first wave of British Synthpop.[3]

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