In the early days, the technology available for electronic music was primitive and the boundaries and descriptions of the desired technology were determined by the musical imagination. Since the advent of voltage controlled devices in the early 1960s, the technological means for making and manipulating sounds have progressed rapidly and this development has mainly been led by the technological imagination rather than the purely musical. The first part of this issue addresses the problems inherent in remaking electronic music into a performing art, and in regaining the spontaneity and invention that this alone implies. The term "live electronics" came into usage during the 1960s to denote electronic music performed in real-time, away from the electronic studio, in a concert situation with live performers creating the sounds by means of synthesizers, ring modulators, and other electronic devices. A "live electronic" concert, however, did not include playing hymns on a Hammond electric organ for a church social, but it was not always clear exactly where the line should be drawn. The advent of digital technology in the last few years has further obscured the definition.
Stephen Montague's main interest in commissioning papers for the second part of this issue was to let the term "live electronic" serve as an idea and basis for defining a broad area of real-time work in electro-acoustic music. Each contributor has used this as a springboard and defined "live electronics" in terms of his or her own work as they saw fit. The book is aimed at professors and students interested in contemporary music, computer music and electro-acoustic music.