Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production, an electronic musician being a musician who composes and/or performs such music. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology
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- Somebody will ask those of us who compose with the aid of computers: 'So you make all these decisions for the computer or the electronic medium, but wouldn't you like to have a performer who makes certain other decisions?' Many composers don't mind collaborating with the performer with regards to decisions of tempo, or rhythm, or dynamics, or timbre, but ask them if they would allow the performer to make decisions with regard to pitch and the answer will be 'Pitches you don't change.' Some of us feel the same way in regard to the other musical aspects that are traditionally considered secondary, but which we consider fundamental. As for the future of electronic music, it seems quite obvious to me that its unique resources guarantee its use, because it has shifted the boundaries of music away from the limitations of the acoustical instrument, of the performer's coordinating capabilities, to the almost infinite limitations of the electronic instrument. The new limitations are the human ones of perception.
- Milton Babbitt, quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music.
- Our musical alphabet is poor and illogical. Music, which should pulsate with life, needs new means of expression, and science alone can infuse it with youthful vigor. Why, Italian Futurists, have you slavishly reproduced only what is commonplace and boring in the bustle of our daily lives. I dream of instruments obedient to my thought and which with their contribution of a whole new world of unsuspected sounds, will lend themselves to the exigencies of my inner rhythm.
- Edgard Varese, quoted in Classic Essays on Twentieth-Century Music.