Electronic music is a genre of music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments, or circuitry-based music technology in its creation. It includes both music made using electronic and electromechanical means (electroacoustic music). Pure electronic instruments depended entirely on circuitry-based sound generation, for instance using devices such as an electronic oscillator, theremin, or synthesizer. Electromechanical instruments can have mechanical parts such as strings, hammers, and electric elements including magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Such electromechanical devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, electric piano and the electric guitar.
The first electronic musical devices were developed at the end of the 19th century. During the 1920s and 1930s, some electronic instruments were introduced and the first compositions featuring them were written. By the 1940s, magnetic audio tape allowed musicians to tape sounds and then modify them by changing the tape speed or direction, leading to the development of electroacoustic tape music in the 1940s, in Egypt and France. Musique concrète, created in Paris in 1948, was based on editing together recorded fragments of natural and industrial sounds. Music produced solely from electronic generators was first produced in Germany in 1953. Electronic music was also created in Japan and the United States beginning in the 1950s and Algorithmic composition with computers was first demonstrated in the same decade.
During the 1960s, digital computer music was pioneered, innovation in live electronics took place, and Japanese electronic musical instruments began to influence the music industry. In the early 1970s, Moog synthesizers and Japanese drum machines helped popularize synthesized electronic music. The 1970s also saw electronic music begin to have a significant influence on popular music, with the adoption of polyphonic synthesizers, electronic drums, drum machines, and turntables, through the emergence of genres such as disco, krautrock, new wave, synth-pop, hip hop, and EDM. In the early 1980s mass-produced digital synthesizers, such as the Yamaha DX7, became popular, and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was developed. In the same decade, with a greater reliance on synthesizers and the adoption of programmable drum machines, electronic popular music came to the fore. During the 1990s, with the proliferation of increasingly affordable music technology, electronic music production became an established part of popular culture. In Berlin starting in 1989, the Love Parade became the largest street party with over 1 million visitors, inspiring other such popular celebrations of electronic music.
Contemporary electronic music includes many varieties and ranges from experimental art music to popular forms such as electronic dance music. Pop electronic music is most recognizable in its 4/4 form and more connected with the mainstream than preceding forms which were popular in niche markets.