A genre of electronic music which originated in West Berlin in the 1970s. (At the time, the city of Berlin was politically and physically partitioned by the Berlin Wall.) The sound consists basically of ambient elements combined with short, repeating sequenced runs of notes, which gives the music a rhythmic element, and (in the earlier music) heavy use of Mellotron. Melodic elements are often combined with atonal and experimental sounds. Early Berlin School music generally lacks drums or percussion, but some later efforts include elaborate layered percussion sequences. Tempos range from very slow or nonexistent to moderate. Other instruments make occasional appearances, such as guitar, cello, piano, or woodwinds. Vocals are seldom included. The general impression is often described as "spacey", "dreamy", or "psychedelic". (Some of the pioneering Berlin school musicians had their musical roots in '60s psychedelic rock.)
Berlin School originated largely with the efforts of Tangerine Dream and their German contemporaies Klaus Schulze and Manuel Göttsching. The former's 1973-1981 catalog, ranging through the albums from "Phaedra" to "Exit", are often considered the essential catalog of this genre, along with Schulze's "Timewind" and "Moondawn". Other early practitioners of this genre included Radio Massacre International in the UK and Michael Garrison in the USA.