Electronic and Experimental Music: Technology, Music, and Culture
is a book by Thom Holmes, first printed in 1985, that became an expanded 3rd edition in 2008.

It covers the entire history of the topic, with a breakdown of the action in each era. Very readable & doesn’t get too bogged down in details.

There are very few mature books that cover this topic (though most of the details are scattered around the web), so if you’d like to scope all the background, this might be the one to check out.

Google preview here

An alternate book is Peter Manning’s 2004 3rd edition Electronic and Computer Music. It appears to include less about the history and more about the technology. (Might be more useful for musicians.)

Google preview here

There’s also Chadabe’s Electric Sound … shorter, older, and twice as expensive. Sorry, Joel.

I don’t think that any of the technologies have done anything but to tap the surface of a very rich vein that still lies, for the most part, buried. It will be explored in time, but not in my lifetime. That’s fine. You would expect this to go on for decades, probably even a few centuries. The dream of the general- purpose, do-anything synthesizer has never arrived.

– Wendy Carlos

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