Electronic music is music that employs
electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and
music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, such as
drums, and that produced using electronic technology.
 Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as
power amplifiers and
loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the
Hammond organ, and the
electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an
instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the
sound synthesizer, and
computer can produce electronic sounds.
The first electronic devices for performing music were developed at the end of the 19th century, and shortly afterward Italian
futurists explored sounds that had not been considered musical. During the 1920s and 1930s, electronic instruments were introduced and the first compositions for electronic instruments were made. 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
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. An important new development was the advent of computers to compose music.
Algorithmic composition was first demonstrated in Australia in 1951.
In the 1960s, live electronics were pioneered in America and Europe, Japanese electronic musical instruments began having an impact on the
music industry, and Jamaican
dub music emerged as a form of popular electronic music. In the early 1970s, the
Minimoog synthesizer and Japanese
drum machines helped popularize synthesized electronic music.
In the 1970s, electronic music began having a significant influence on
popular music, with the adoption of
electronic drums, drum machines, and
turntables, through the emergence of genres such as
hip hop and
EDM. In the 1980s, electronic music became more dominant in popular music, with a greater reliance on synthesizers, and the adoption of programmable drum machines such as the
Roland TR-808 and
bass synthesizers such as the
TB-303. In the early 1980s,
digital technologies for synthesizers including
digital synthesizers such as the
Yamaha DX7 were popularized, and a group of musicians and music merchants developed the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (
Electronically produced music became prevalent in the popular domain by the 1990s, because of the advent of affordable music technology.
 Contemporary electronic music includes many varieties and ranges from
experimental art music to popular forms such as
electronic dance music. Today, pop electronic music is most recognizable in its 4/4 form and more connected with the mainstream culture as opposed to its preceding forms which were specialized to niche markets.