Electronic Music and Two Composers from Turkey


Session Title:

  • Media and Contemporary Practices of Sound Art

Presentation Title:

  • Electronic Music and Two Composers from Turkey



  • We know that electronic music is one of the styles in contemporary music, and it is composed in styles of both art music and popular music. Although there are its listeners in popular music, but they are at least in art music. So it can be told mostly. Electronic music started to compose firstly in the world at the beginnings of the twentieth century. Electromechanic instruments were produced like Teleharmonium between 1898 and 1912. Amplification of electrical signals, radio broadcasting, and electronic computation, amongst other things were used firstly in electronic music, they still have been used today. However, the first electronic instrument, called Theremin, was invented by Professor Léon Theremin between 1919 and 1920, and then the first work was composed by Joseph Schillinger for Theremin, First Airphonic Suite for Theremin and Orchestra, in 1929. After other electronic instrument, called Ondium Martenot, was invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928. It was used firstly in The Turangalîla-Symphonie composed by Olivier Messiaen from 1946 to 1948.

    Composer Ferruccio Busoni wrote firstly about electronic music in his book Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music in 1907.  It was discussed by some Italian futurists like Luigi Russolo, and he wrote The Art of Noises for electronic music in his manifesto in 1913. Despite all the debates, electronic music have been gone on until today. Over time, its various styles emerged that the styles are Musique concrète, Computer music, Live electronics Synthesizer, IRCAM, MIDI, Circuit bending, etc. from 1945 to 2000s. Such as electronic music is composed in the world, composed in Turkey, too. There are even two important composer from Turkey in electronic music, they made the works in USA. Bülent Arel (1919-1990) studied in Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center 1959 to 1989, and he composed the works. His notable students are Daria Semegen, Conrad Cummings, Jing Jing Luo, Joël-François Durand, and Frederick Bianchi. As for Ilhan Mimaroglu (1926)  has studied and composed the works in Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center since 1960s. This descriptive study included information from general to specific on electronic music in musicology discipline.