There’s no Electronic Music without Sci-Fi

For my 2nd project idea, I wanted to take a focus into one of my big passions which is music. I wanted to try and create an analysis of the importance that music has played in science fiction, and also, the equally important role science fiction has had on the development and construction of electronic music. If you take a hard look, it’s a lot more prevalent than you think. Many of the early modular synthesizers and sound generators were in fact developed not only for experimental research, but also to create music soundscapes for a genre of entertainment that was really starting to take off…sci-fi.

Many of the sounds we’ve been accustomed to associate with aliens, spaceships, and robots all come from sound modulators. Think of that classic sound from “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” all came from the development of an electronic instrument called the theremin, where you basically move your hands along an electro-magnetic field to create sounds. Also important to note is the importance of classical music as well.

Now vice versa, science-fiction has done a lot to push the boundaries of electronic music and the musicians that make it. Just off the top of my head, huge albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, David Bowie’s Space Oddity, Rush’s 2112. All of these 70’s albums have themes and concepts that deal with outer space, robots, aliens, time, etc. What these albums also have in common is a big amount of electronically synthesized instruments and sounds. The two just go together and are so important to one another when you step out of just the literary genre.

I’ll probably flesh this out a little more, but these are just some of the ideas I want to explore.

Here’s some videos of some examples.

Theremin instrument

Dark Side of the Moon Full Album

One thought on “There’s no Electronic Music without Sci-Fi

  1. Donovan, this is a fascinating project, and I especially love the bi-direction nature of your research (not just how SF has incorporated electronic music, but how the genre has fueled innovation in electronic music). The key here, as you know, is to focus down this really broad topic into a specific, manageable project for this particular assignment. Please revise and create a new proposal to indicate how you’ll do that (what the scope of the project will be).

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