Acoustic music refers to music that solely or primarily uses instruments which produce sound through entirely acoustic means, as opposed to
electronicmeans. The term "acoustic music" is a retronym, coined after the advent of electric instruments, such as the electric guitar, Hammond organand the synthesiser.Safire, William, "On Language: Retronym", " New York Times Magazine", January 7, 2007] Given that electronic instruments are a relatively recent invention in the history of music, almost all musical instruments have traditionally been acoustic and subsequently so has almost all music.
Acoustic music may still be amplified using
electronic amplifiers. However, these amplification devices must be separate from the amplified instrument and need to reproduce its natural sound accurately.
Following the increasing popularity of the "
MTV Unplugged" television show 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.
Sometimes when music is labeled as acoustic or unplugged there is an implied contrast to music that has become "cluttered" by
technologyand overproduction. In this sense, some may consider acoustic music to be more "pure" sonically. [Conley, Craig, [http://www.splendidezine.com/reviews/aug-16-99/unwired.html "Reviews: "Unwired: Acoustic Music from around the World"] , "Splendid", August 16, 1999]
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