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General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:43 pm
by collinj153
Hello all!
I am writing an argumentative research paper on the use synthesizers in the music industry, but cannot find any databases that provide information on the public reaction of synthesizers. Do any of you have information about this??
Thank you!

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:09 pm
by meatballfulton
Are you asking about the reaction to events like the release of Switched On Bach in the late 1960s?
The album received a mixed reaction at the time of its release. Some critics reviled it for trivializing the work of one of the most revered classical composers of all time, but others were excited by the freshness of the sound and the virtuosity that went into its creation. No less an authority than Glenn Gould said: "Carlos's realization of the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto [sic] is, to put it bluntly, the finest performance of any of the Brandenburgs—live, canned, or intuited—I’ve ever heard."[5] Giorgio Moroder credits the album as the one that brought synthesisers to his attention.[6]

Regardless of the negative reviews, the album caught the public attention and sold better than anyone had expected. Suddenly Moog's company found itself inundated with requests from record producers for Moog systems, and a rash of synthesizer albums were released to capitalise on the popularity of the new sound.
I know the musicians union in the UK tried to ban the use of synthesizers at one point in the 1980s, you could google for more on that.

Etc.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 10:22 pm
by collinj153
Yes! This helps me to get started, thank you.
I am asking for the public opinion. I know that eventually the public became annoyed with the cheesy gimmicks that synthesizers offered, but I would like to know their initial reaction.
Thank you :)

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:43 am
by jaypodesta
initially I was very happy with every new synth release after 1980

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:38 am
by cornutt
I can sum up, very roughly:

1960s: Public excitement about the possibilities.
1970s: Disenchantment, caused to some extent by a lot of cheesy stuff having been produced, but also due to an overall anti-technology attitude in that decade.
1980s: A new appreciation. Not quite the same as the 1960s -- it was less "gee whiz" and more just "that's some cool music".
1990s: Electronic music split away from popular music, as the neo-folkies kicked the synth players out of their bands, and the synth guys went off and developed electronica. The part of the public that mostly listens to pop music is mostly unaware of electronic music. The part that listens to electronica is fully bought in, and the number of performers goes up hugely thanks to software lowering the cost.
2000s: Electronica muscles its way into pop music somewhat, so more of the public is aware, although most of the pop-music audience still doesn't think about synths or electronic music specifically.
2010s: Remains to be seen.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:16 am
by max badwan
see if you can track down primary sources for the Ondes Martenot and the Trautonium, dated to the late 1920s.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:17 pm
by meatballfulton
Also try googling the following:

Hearts of Space

New Age music

Queen's no synthesizers pledge

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:52 pm
by recordbot
I think to get at the core of this you have to look at the earliest electronic compositions, many of which were made with early electronic instruments but not yet mass produced synthesizers

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bebe and Louis Barron and others produced soundtracks and scores that may have not had a massive musical impact but still had an influence on the early lives of people buying albums with synthesizers in the 1960s

it's quite possible the sounds made by those synthesizers helped those people to revisit pleasant childhood memories involving early science fiction films which had electronic scores.

Although I do remember there being some outrage among certain studio musicians who were afraid of being replaced by machines, kind of like the entire drum machine/sampler thing but earlier.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:14 pm
by Walter Ego
cornutt wrote:I can sum up, very roughly:

1960s: Public excitement about the possibilities.
1970s: Disenchantment, caused to some extent by a lot of cheesy stuff having been produced, but also due to an overall anti-technology attitude in that decade.
1980s: A new appreciation. Not quite the same as the 1960s -- it was less "gee whiz" and more just "that's some cool music".
1990s: Electronic music split away from popular music, as the neo-folkies kicked the synth players out of their bands, and the synth guys went off and developed electronica. The part of the public that mostly listens to pop music is mostly unaware of electronic music. The part that listens to electronica is fully bought in, and the number of performers goes up hugely thanks to software lowering the cost.
2000s: Electronica muscles its way into pop music somewhat, so more of the public is aware, although most of the pop-music audience still doesn't think about synths or electronic music specifically.
2010s: Remains to be seen.
early 2010s: Electronic Bubblegum Pop. Just about everything is synthetic. Also driven in part by nostalgia and renewed interest in 80s pop.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:19 pm
by cornutt
Walter Ego wrote: early 2010s: Electronic Bubblegum Pop. Just about everything is synthetic. Also driven in part by nostalgia and renewed interest in 80s pop.
Somewhat. There is a lot of electronics used in producing popular music these days, but most of it is not intended to sound like electronic music -- it's being used as a substitute for studio musicians. I doubt that most people who hear it associate very much of it with synths. Either they think there are still studio musicians, or they just don't think about it at all. It's ironic that so much of an emphasis is placed now on getting every aspect of performance "perfect", more so than human musicians could ever make it. Autotune, Beat Detective, Sound Replacer... those are the most common "electronic music" tools these days, by far.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:39 pm
by salwa
I also read, that some of the early dissapointment was due to markiting: synthesizers were announced as miraculous machines, that can perfectly imitate all known instrument (which they couldn't). But I'm not sure it's true and if it is - how important it was then. Maybe someone could confirm it?

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:53 pm
by tim gueguen
meatballfulton wrote: Queen's no synthesizers pledge
Which is amusing when you see the video for the theme to Flash Gordon, and Brian May is shown pretending to play piano sounds on an Oberheim OBX. Of course by that time they'd dropped the no synths idea.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:18 pm
by nuketifromorbit
Automatic Gainsay needs to make an appearance in this thread and school all of us.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:48 am
by Ashe37
look up why the soundtrack ended up the way it did for Forbidden Planet.

Re: General views of synthesizers when they were introduced?

Posted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:25 pm
by pinksoir
I wrote a research paper for my degree on this (loosely). Look up elektronische musik on Proquest (you should have access through your university library to a lot of online papers and journals in case you didn't know). Synthesizers were initially located only in research institutions and large, expensive studios owned by electronics manufacturers and used to compose what was known as "classical tape music". Public opinion to early synthesizers didn't really exist, they were incredibly esoteric. What professional opinion there was (musicologically and aesthetically) was strongly divided.

Here's a link to what I wrote: http://www.bearworship.com/index.php/co ... ransition/

There's probably something on what you're after in the references.