Electronic Dance Music: Different, Yet Similar

Essay by iceicebaby67College, UndergraduateA, May 2014

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Harding 1

Ben Harding

Music 114

Max Jack


Electronic Dance Music: Different, Yet Similar

Although humanity as a whole has been continuously evolving technologically, socially, and culturally, the one constant are the people themselves. In general, people have the same general motivations, desires, and tendencies; which is why the phrases "the more things change, the more they stay the same" and "history always repeats itself" are so often repeated. While two historical events never share the exact same set of characteristics, humans are prone to do the same things others have before them. This is true in music as well. New musical genres and styles might not seem similar to past ones on face value, but upon digging a little deeper it becomes clear that their evolutions can be remarkably similar. Although at first glance, electronic dance music, or EDM, has little similarity to past musical styles such as the blues or rock, electronic music has relied on technological advances, a countercultural image, and appropriation in its march to popularity just as much as several past genres have.

Technological advances have helped popularize and progress many different musical genres before. Even the pseudo-genre of non-orchestral music required the technological advancement of mass-produced sheet music in order to enter the cultural milieu of the era. Reebee Garofalo, an internationally known scholar of popular music studies, states that,

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"Throughout the early development of sound recording, sheet music was the main vehicle for the mass dissemination of music…" (Garofalo 1999: 319). This advancement gave the commoner the ability to play popular music at home and not have to pay money to go listen to music in a concert hall, a privilege that the working class usually could not afford at the time. The blues are also an example of...