Experimental Music: What Even Is It?

Music, as I have covered in many previous articles, has many faces: rock, pop, country, hip-hop, alternative, and many more. Today, we will be looking at a very special and bizarre genre of music that is full of innovation and new sounds. It pushes the very definition of a music genre. That’s right. Today’s article is all about the mysterious world of Experimental Music. 

Experimental music is, of course, a musical genre. Still, the genre seems to fit somewhat uncomfortably within the music industry as a whole because it is not very well defined. Experimental music was first used in the mid-twentieth century, to describe scientific research in the form of music. Popular Experimental artist, John Cage, was careful to point out that the term should apply to music of which “the outcome of which is not known.”That is, music with chance elements or improvisation built into it.” Nowadays, the Experimental genre has become a term for “weird music”. 

What exactly makes this music experimental? Well you see, that’s the thing. There isn’t exactly anything that makes music experimental. It mainly depends on speaking a language that others cannot or do not. Most of the more popular genres all follow patterns and a certain “language”. Experimental, however, doesn’t base itself on those patterns. It is built more on creativity with other, different sounds that you may not usually hear in a pop song on the radio. When you listen to it at first, Experimental may sound very complex. However, It is actually more minimalistic. It avoids deeper meanings and all those complex wordplays. It is basically one large science and art experiment! 

Experimental is also very reliant on electronic music. Again, not all of Experimental is based on electronics because it is ultimately pushing the boundaries of what you can call music. In a nutshell, Experimental music is borderline music, borderline science. Just in between the two spectrums of science and music. You can’t call it entirely music, and you can’t exactly call it all a huge science experiment either. Experimental music is for sure weird and 100% bizarre, but in the end, it is, defined by many, an art form. Appealing to some and not so much to others, but art nonetheless. If you’re curious about the experimental music genre, a few artists I recommend are Charli XCX, John Cage, Björk, Animal Collective, and Radiohead.


Hey there! My name is Sparsh Aiyar and I'm the editor in chief of The City Voice. I also make videos on our YouTube channel, so please make sure to check that out! I'm a huge music nerd and I play a lot of guitar so if you also like guitar, feel free to reach out. If you have any questions about the City Voice, please feel free to contact me via gmail, I would be more than happy to help!
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