Acoustic music comprises music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...
that solely or primarily uses instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...
s which produce sound through entirely acoustic
Musical acoustics or music acoustics is the branch of acoustics concerned with researching and describing the physics of music – how sounds employed as music work...
means, as opposed to electric
An electric musical instrument is one in which the use of electric devices determines or affects the sound produced by an instrument. It is also known as an amplified musical instrument due to the common utilization of an electronic instrument amplifier to project the intended sound as determined...
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...
means. The retronym
A retronym is a type of neologism that provides a new name for an object or concept to differentiate the original form or version of it from a more recent form or version. The original name is most often augmented with an adjective to account for later developments of the object or concept itself...
"acoustic music" appeared after the advent of electric instruments, such as the electric guitar
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...
, electric violin
An electric violin is a violin equipped with an electronic output of its sound. The term most properly refers to an instrument purposely made to be electrified with built-in pickups, usually with a solid body...
, electric organ
An electronic organ is an electronic keyboard instrument which was derived from the harmonium, pipe organ and theatre organ. Originally, it was designed to imitate the sound of pipe organs, theatre organs, band sounds, or orchestral sounds....
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...
Performers of acoustic music often increase the volume of their output using electronic amplifier
An electronic amplifier is a device for increasing the power of a signal.It does this by taking energy from a power supply and controlling the output to match the input signal shape but with a larger amplitude...
s. 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 MTV Unplugged
MTV Unplugged is a TV series showcasing many popular musical artists usually playing acoustic instruments. The show has received the George Foster Peabody Award and 3 Primetime Emmy nominations among many accolades.-Unplugged:...
during the 1990s
File:1990s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: The Hubble Space Telescope floats in space after it was taken up in 1990; American F-16s and F-15s fly over burning oil fields and the USA Lexie in Operation Desert Storm, also known as the 1991 Gulf War; The signing of the Oslo Accords on...
, acoustic (though in most cases still electrically amplified) performances by musical artist
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....
s who usually rely on electronic instruments became colloquially referred to as "unplugged" performances.
Writing for Splendid
Splendid was a musical duo featuring Angie Hart and Jesse Tobias, who at the time were also husband and wife.-History:The duo met in Canada, August 1996, when Australian band Frente!, fronted by Hart, arrived to play over two weeks of support dates for Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill tour,...
, 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
Overproduction is the excessive use of audio effects, layering, or digital manipulation in music production.-Uses of the term:It is not always clear what critics mean by "overproduction," but there are at least a few common uses of the term:...
and therefore aren't as pure."