Why are synths more popular in N. Europe/Amer than S. ?

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Why are synths more popular in N. Europe/Amer than S. ?

Post by gallant steve » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:40 pm

It's always struck oddly me that 'synth culture' and electronic music in general seem much more popular in northern europe and america than southern - does anyone have any ideas as to why ? I know several Italian film composers dabbled in electronics a few decades ago, but the only really famous electronic musician from S. Europe I can think of seems to be Vangelis.
Last edited by gallant steve on Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Psy_Free » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:44 pm

Not sure that's strictly true. There are almost countless 70's Italian Prog bands that use synths.
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Post by gallant steve » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:46 pm

definitely true, but I did mention the Italians in the 70s. Beyond that I do think there's some truth in it, but I don't have a clue why.

Also, anecdotally, of the hundreds of the posters from non Anglo countries I've seen on here, hardly anyone ( no-one?) seems to be from S. America or Europe either ( admittedly, not very scientifiic , but still...)

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Post by sleestack » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:24 pm

electronic music in N. America is pretty unpopular actually.

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Post by Soundwave » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:28 pm

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Post by JSRockit » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:33 pm

Hmmm... I'm not sure if that is true or if the music just doesn't reach us as much. Language barriers could have something to do with it... I guess buying habits and the c**p that the mainstream perpetuates might have something to do with it. I know synths are used in carribean countries for sure.
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Post by micahjonhughes » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:36 pm

I'll agree with my fellow N. American, electronic music is not very popular and never really has been here.

The weird thing is that electronics are all over our pop music. What would rap, R&B, or Brittany be without synths and samplers?

The issue in the U.S. is that synths are just not cool. The image of the guitar playing musician is so strong that few teens want to get a synth when they can get a guitar. We have Guitar Centers everywhere but no Keyboard Center or anything close. In the past few years with the revitalization of synth pop, you do see a few more kids taking some interest in playing keyboard but not many.

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Post by gallant steve » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:37 pm

<electronic music in N. America is pretty unpopular actually.>

sadly true, but try going to Spain or Italy (or south america?) these days..

Something definitely happened in the 70s in Italy with its composers, but since then it looks like northern europe and the US all the way - as far as I can see, anyway.

wake up down there in the med :) there have been a few great electronic musicians there in the past. There's also presumably still the remnants of the italo-house scene, etc.
Last edited by gallant steve on Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by micahjonhughes » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:47 pm

Maybe its the weather. No cold winter to force people inside and into the studio.

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Post by neandrewthal » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:32 pm

It's rare that I meet someone who's knowledge of electronic music goes past daft punk and aphex twin. h**l, it's rare enough I meet someone who's even heard of daft punk or aphex twin, which boggles my mind as daft punk were all over the TV when I was growing up and who could forget Charles?
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Post by JSRockit » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:22 pm

micahjonhughes wrote:I'll agree with my fellow N. American, electronic music is not very popular and never really has been here.

The weird thing is that electronics are all over our pop music. What would rap, R&B, or Brittany be without synths and samplers?

.
Guitars have always been more popular...that's true. But electronics are not uncool in NA. I mean, hip-hop alone makes it not uncool to use this stuff... and not all hip-hop is mainstream.
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Post by Bitexion » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:25 pm

Yeah, but with hip-hop there is just approx. 10 producers that make all the music for all the artists, and a 100 million fans who just listen to it and "live da gangsta life" never having to touch a synthesizer.

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Post by micahjonhughes » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:41 pm

Hip hop is a perfect example of the point I'm trying to make. It is nearly completely made with electronics but the electronics are well hidden from the public. The image of the DJ is more popular in hip hop than the image of the producer.

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Post by DGX305 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:42 pm

There's a good mix of different topics and hypothesis in the above. For a start, there's a mix between "synth music" and "music that has synth". The former is music that is predominantly instrumental and full of synth over guitars, for example, Tangerine Dreams or Klaus Schulze vs. an R&B track that has a bunch of moog bass lines.

Second, there's a mix between N. Europe vs. S. Europe and bundling that with N. America vs. S. America. Those are two very different things and can't be compared for reasons I'll explain below.

If I would to limit my argument to the popularity of synth music in N. Europe over S. Europe, that's partially driven by the differences in culture. People in S. Europe tend to be much more emotional, so music tends to be more romantic, which lends itself to music with lyrics that easily expresses strong emotions, and music full of melody vs. synth music that's full of pads and slow evolving motions.

Whether it's Spain, Italy or Greece, music in these places is lively in general, full of singing, dancing, emotions, etc. Contrast that with Berlin school of music that is much colder. The weather probably has something to do with all of this. Take the S. European to an extreme and you end up with S. American or Brazilian, to be exact, samba type of rhythms. Imagine how the body moves in samba or salsa dancing. Very relevant to the very hot and humid weather of these places. Now contrast that with the cold gloomy weather of Berlin or Manchester and you'll get the picture why the different needs for body moving, hence different styles of dancing, and hence the different style of music that comes out of those places. Think Rio vs. Yorkshire!

Talking about N. America, which you probably mean the United States (sorry to our Canadian friends), and you get a very different picture than say Birmingham or Stockholm. Well over half the US population is made of people that are either Italians, Hispanic, or originally from Africa, and you get the picture why Shakira is a star in the US of A.

By the way, I'm talking here from experience having lived or traveled extensively in all the places I mentioned.
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Post by JSRockit » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:55 pm

micahjonhughes wrote:Hip hop is a perfect example of the point I'm trying to make. It is nearly completely made with electronics but the electronics are well hidden from the public. The image of the DJ is more popular in hip hop than the image of the producer.
Well, any DJ I have seen over the last ten years also has an MPC / SP / laptop by their side...but no real synths, those are more in their studios. The fact is that it is more convenient to play the instrumental off a record then recreate the whole thing live...synths and all. Unfortunately, in hip-hop, unless you are the Anti Pop Consortium or something like that...the MC is the main attraction.
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