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Acoustic music

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Acoustic music comprises music that solely or primarily uses instruments which produce sound through entirely acoustic means, as opposed to electric or electronic means. The Wikipedia:retronym "acoustic music" appeared after the advent of electric instruments, such as the Wikipedia:electric guitar, Wikipedia:electric violin, electric organ and Wikipedia:synthesizer.[1]

Performers of acoustic music often increase the volume of their output using Wikipedia:electronic amplifiers. However, these amplification devices remain separate from the amplified instrument and reproduce its natural sound accurately. Often a microphone is placed in front of an acoustic instrument which is then wired up to an amplifier.

Following the increasing popularity of the television show Wikipedia:MTV Unplugged during the 1990s, acoustic (though in most cases still electrically amplified) performances by musicians (most notably Wikipedia:grunge bands) who usually rely on electronic instruments became colloquially referred to as "unplugged" performances. The trend has also been dubbed as "acoustic rock" in some cases.

Famous acoustic guitar brands include Martin and Taylor, as well as brands that are better known for specializing in electric guitars such as Fender and Wikipedia:Ibanez.

Writing for Splendid, music reviewer Craig Conley suggests, "When music is labeled acoustic, unplugged, or unwired, the assumption seems to be that other types of music are cluttered by technology and overproduction and therefore aren't as pure".[2]


Acoustic music can refer to music that solely or primarily uses acoustic instruments, such as the acoustic guitar, Wikipedia:banjo, Wikipedia:violin, Wikipedia:bouzouki, Wikipedia:mandolin, Wikipedia:piano, Wikipedia:cello, and voice. The category includes much contemporary folk and Wikipedia:singer-songwriter music, as well as Wikipedia:bluegrass music. It can also refer to Wikipedia:instrumental music that is created using acoustic instruments.

Because electronic instruments are a very recent invention in the Wikipedia:history of music, almost all musical instruments are acoustic. In fact, acoustic music (just like Wikipedia:acoustic guitar) is a retronym coined after the advent of Wikipedia:rock which depends heavily on non-acoustic instruments like Wikipedia:electric guitar, Wikipedia:Hammond organ and Wikipedia:synthesisers. Before this era, all music was acoustic.

Note that acoustic music may be amplified using electronic amplifiers. In fact, electric guitar produces an acoustic sound which amplified and enhanced by electronic pickups. However, these amplification devices must be separate from the instrument itself and should produce something close to the sound the instrument would produce unamplified. The electric guitar depends intimately on the built-in electronics for giving it the characteristic sound, so it can not be considered an acoustic instrument. And there is the purely practical reason of distinguishing acoustic from electric, also.

Acoustic rock is a genre of acoustic music that uses acoustic guitars, acoustic bass guitars, and of course a drum set.

Unplugged Edit

Main article: Unplugged
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Following the increasing popularity of the Wikipedia:television show Wikipedia:MTV Unplugged during the 1990s, acoustic (though in most cases still electrically-amplified) performances by artists who usually rely on electronic instruments became colloquially referred to as "unplugged" concerts.

"When music is labeled acoustic, unplugged, or unwired, the assumption seems to be that other types of music are "cluttered" by technology and overproduction and therefore aren't as 'pure.'"[3]

References Edit

  1. Safire, William, "On Language: Retronym", Wikipedia:New York Times Magazine, January 7, 2007
  2. Conley, Craig (August 16, 1999). "Review: Unwired: Acoustic Music from around the World". Splendid. Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. http://www.splendidezine.com/reviews/aug-16-99/unwired.html. Retrieved November 17, 2008. 
  3. {{cite web| url = http://www.splendidezine.com/reviews/aug-16-99/unwired.html | title = Reviews: Unwired: Acoustic Music from around the World

External links Edit

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