Taken literally, the name Electronic Music is a misnomer. There is little that is electronic about music. Music resides within the brains of complex organisms, such as humans. Sound enters the ear and travels to the brain, where it is converted into neurochemical pulses, resulting in the perception of speech and music. Electronic music gets its name from the world of electronics. Electronic components of various kinds are used to represent acoustic sounds. These components, employing basic engineering techniques, are used to convert acoustic sound patterns into electronic wave pulses. Once the sounds have been changed to electronic pulses, they may be modified and broadcast in any way, given the constraints of electronic engineering and human demand. Electronic oscillators may be created that closely simulate an acoustic wave. These oscillating wave pulses may be ‘synthesized’ in a variety of ways to produce different musical effects. Eventually, the wave pulses may be amplified and directed to a set of loud speakers, where they are converted back to acoustic sound patterns that ripple the air. Digital Music, another misnomer, employs numbers in the form of zeroes and ones that digitally represent the entire class of acoustic wave forms. Complex algorithms may be created to modify wave forms in as many ways as are applicable to musical use. Acoustic Music is not exactly what it says, either. Sound patterns in the air are exquisitely transformed into brain patterns that are ultimately resolved as musical qualia, that is, experiences that we recognize as music. Electronic or Digital Music, that is music created strictly by the use of analog or digital components, are perhaps not such bad names after all. They simply refer to sounds that are created by electronic components that eventually find their way to a human audience. Yet perhaps another label would be more fitting. What about Sonic Qualia which refers to any sound experience, shortened to Soniqualia? Or simply EMusic or DMusic? Any suggestions?
A Collection of Writings on Nature, Science, and Art by John Holland