Niche it!
BobbyGs Info

Finish Line

Synth rock

Music Sound

Synth rock

Back | Home | Up | Next

Synth Rock is a descriptive phrase applied to a variety of musical artists. Principally, these artists share in the use of intentionally artificial sounds, produced through synthesizers, samplers and drum machines. In a secondary meaning, synth rock serves as a musical genre classification, although many artists labeled "synth rock" could be more properly categorized under different genres.



By the late 1960s the synthesizer, originally a very large and complex instrument, had become streamlined and portable enough for use by some rock musicians. Several progressive rock groups began using the synthesizer expressly for the unique range of sounds available from the instrument. These artists included Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and their keyboardists, Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson, respectively. See also Can, Neu, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk.


The growth of a variety of "underground" music scenes and the increasing availability and ease-of-use of synthsizers and other electronic musical instruments led to many more bands conspicuously using synthesizers. Some acts used electronic instruments almost exclusively. Many artists were described as "synth rock" and many genres had prominent artists that used synthesizers.


Duran Duran
New Order
Gary Numan
Depeche Mode
Cabaret Voltaire
A Flock of Seagulls



1990s And Later

1990s synth rock drew its style from combinations of '80s New Wave, '80s/'90s industrial music, Glam Rock, Goth Rock and Heavy Metal.

The overall sound has also been termed "Death Pop," "Shock Pop," "Cyber Glam," "Techno Goth," "Undercore," "Wave Metal" and "Cyber-Punk," by various people.

The music is marked by intricate guitar processing, as well as the use of guitar synthesis (which may also get heavily processed) alongside standard keyboard synthesis. Further, many bands in this area prefer to use electronic percussion over normal percussion. Although many "synth rock" artists will cite industrial bands (such as Skinny Puppy) as influences, this influence tends to be limited to the use of sound effects.

Image-wise, Synth Rock tends to borrow heavily from its New Wave heritage, as well as its Glam and Goth heritages, and at times will soak this in futurism. The overall look has its similarities to the Futurepop-driven Cybergoth subculture. Synth Rockers have been known to wear heavy, glamorous makeup regardless of gender (Orgy being particularly notorious for this), yet they can also have a slicker, more subtle look (such as The Anix).

A "standard" setup for a synth rock band involves a drummer using an electronic kit, a bassist (with a large amount of effects, or possibly a bass guitar synthesizer), a guitarist (with a very large quantity of effects to choose from), a MIDI-guitarist (using a guitar as a synth controller, for example using a Roland G-Synth or a Starr Labs Z-Tar) and a keyboard synthesist. Usually, the guitarist or MIDI guitarist will handle vocals.

Synth Rock Artists include Orgy, Deadsy, and Vanity Beach.



Many bands currently described as "synth-rock" are heavily or primarily influenced by New Wave music.


The Birthday Massacre
Trans Am
The Killers
The Faint
The Bravery
Red this ever
Athena's Demise

Home | Up | Aboriginal rock | Aboriginal rock | Acid rock | Alternative country | Alternative rock | Arena rock | Art rock | Avant-progressive rock | Blues-rock | British Invasion | Cello rock | Christian rock | Cock rock | Corporate rock | Country rock | Death rock | Emo | Folk-rock | Garage rock | Glam rock | Hard rock | Heartland rock | Instrumental rock | Jangle pop | Krautrock | Math rock | Piano rock | Progressive music | Psychedelic music | Pub rock (Australia) | Pub rock (UK) | Punk | Punk rock | Punta rock | Rapcore | Rock in Opposition | Rockabilly | Soft rock | Southern rock | Space rock | Swamp rock | Synth rock | Surf rock

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.