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The over-arching musical genre of avant-garde is commonly misunderstood as an atonal or pretentious style that has to sound chaotic and unorganized. The truth is that it usually consists of such new and innovative techniques that it is hard for mainly mainstream listeners to understand that they are hearing something progressive and not simply noise. The term evolved from the French word "vanguard" which defines as "a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas." The word itself was originally used for the forefront section of an army in battle. The use of the term "avant-garde" became a musical description after World War II, for the artists who continually attempted to progress music into areas never before heard before. This was especially true in jazz, and more specifically free jazz. These forward-thinking artists began to experiment with their instruments, pushing them into uncharted territories and completely demolishing barriers. Today the term is used for experimental styles of all genres, especially in electronica. Subgenres can include Noise, Avant Pop, Early Electronic, Ambient, IDM, Free Jazz among others.

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