Popular music
Overview
 
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music
Art music
Art music is an umbrella term used to refer to musical traditions implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition...

  and traditional music
Traditional music
Traditional music is the term increasingly used for folk music that is not contemporary folk music. More on this is at the terminology section of the World music article...

, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local audiences. Although popular music sometimes is known as "pop music
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

", the two terms are not interchangeable. Popular music is a generic term for music of all ages that appeals to popular tastes, whereas pop music usually refers to a specific musical genre.
Musicologist and specialist in popular music Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects:

"Popular music, unlike art music
Art music
Art music is an umbrella term used to refer to musical traditions implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition...

, is (1) conceived for mass distribution to large and often socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners, (2) stored and distributed in non-written form, (3) only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and (4) in capitalist societies,subject to the laws of 'free' enterprise, according to which it should ideally sell as much as possible of as little as possible to as many as possible"


For Richard Middleton and Peter Manuel, "a common approach to defining popular music is to link popularity with scale of activity", such as "sales of sheet music or recordings".
Encyclopedia
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music
Art music
Art music is an umbrella term used to refer to musical traditions implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition...

  and traditional music
Traditional music
Traditional music is the term increasingly used for folk music that is not contemporary folk music. More on this is at the terminology section of the World music article...

, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local audiences. Although popular music sometimes is known as "pop music
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

", the two terms are not interchangeable. Popular music is a generic term for music of all ages that appeals to popular tastes, whereas pop music usually refers to a specific musical genre.

Overview

Musicologist and specialist in popular music Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects:

"Popular music, unlike art music
Art music
Art music is an umbrella term used to refer to musical traditions implying advanced structural and theoretical considerations and a written musical tradition...

, is (1) conceived for mass distribution to large and often socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners, (2) stored and distributed in non-written form, (3) only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and (4) in capitalist societies,subject to the laws of 'free' enterprise, according to which it should ideally sell as much as possible of as little as possible to as many as possible"


For Richard Middleton and Peter Manuel, "a common approach to defining popular music is to link popularity with scale of activity", such as "sales of sheet music or recordings". This approach has a problem, in that "repeat hearings are not counted, depth of response does not feature, socially diverse audiences are treated as one aggregated market and there is no differentiation between musical styles". Another way to define popular music is "to link popularity with means of dissemination" (e.g., being aired on the radio); however, this is problematic, because "all sorts of music, from folk to avant garde, are subject to mass mediation". A third approach to defining popular music is to based on "social group – either a mass audience or a particular class (most often, though not always) the working class", an approach which is problematic because social structures cannot simply be overlain onto musical styles. These three approaches are "too partial" and "too static". Moreover, "understandings of popular music have changed with time".

Form

Form in popular music is most often sectional, the most common sections being verse, chorus or refrain
Refrain
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

, and bridge
Bridge (music)
In music, especially western popular music, a bridge is a contrasting section which also prepares for the return of the original material section...

. Other common forms
Musical form
The term musical form refers to the overall structure or plan of a piece of music, and it describes the layout of a composition as divided into sections...

 include thirty-two-bar form
Thirty-two-bar form
The thirty-two-bar form, often called AABA from the musical form or order in which its melodies occur, is common in Tin Pan Alley songs and later popular music including rock, pop and jazz...

, verse-chorus form
Verse-chorus form
Verse-chorus form is a musical form common in popular music and predominant in rock since the 1960s. In contrast to AABA form, which is focused on the verse , in verse-chorus form the chorus is highlighted...

, and the twelve bar blues
Twelve bar blues
The 12-bar blues is one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music, including the blues. The blues progression has a distinctive form in lyrics and phrase and chord structure and duration...

. Popular music songs are rarely composed using different music for each stanza of the lyrics (songs composed in this fashion are said to be "through-composed
Through-composed
Through-composed music is relatively continuous, non-sectional, and/or non-repetitive. A song is said to be through-composed if it has different music for each stanza of the lyrics. This is in contrast to strophic form, in which each stanza is set to the same music...

").

The verse and chorus are considered the primary elements. Each verse usually has the same melody (possibly with some slight modifications), but the lyrics change for most verses. The chorus (or "refrain") usually has a melodic phrase and a key lyrical line which is repeated. Pop songs may have an introduction
Introduction (music)
In music, the introduction is a passage or section which opens a movement or a separate piece. In popular music this is often abbreviated as intro...

 and coda
Coda (music)
Coda is a term used in music in a number of different senses, primarily to designate a passage that brings a piece to an end. Technically, it is an expanded cadence...

 ("tag"), but these elements are not essential to the identity of most songs. Pop songs that use verses and choruses often have a bridge, which, as its name suggests, is a section which connects the verse and chorus at one or more points in the song.

The verse and chorus are usually repeated throughout a song though the bridge, intro, and coda (also called an "outro") are usually only used once. Some pop songs may have a solo section, particularly in rock or blues-influenced pop. During the solo section one or more instruments play a melodic line which may be the melody used by the singer, or, in blues- or jazz-influenced pop, the solo may be improvised based on the chord progression. A solo usually features a single instrumental performer (e.g., a guitarist or a harmonica player) or less commonly, more than one instrumentalist (e.g., a trumpeter and a sax player).

Thirty-two-bar form uses four sections, most often eight measures long each (4×8=32), two verses or A sections, a contrasting B section (the bridge or "middle-eight") and a return of the verse in one last A section (AABA). Verse-chorus form or ABA form may be combined with AABA form, in compound AABA forms. Variations such as a1 and a2 can also be used. The repetition of one chord progression may mark off the only section in a simple verse form such as the twelve bar blues.

History

"The most significant feature of the emergent popular music industry of the late 18th and early 19th centuries was the extent of its focus on the commodity form of sheet music
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

". The availability of inexpensive, widely-available sheet music versions of popular songs and instrumental music pieces made it possible for music to be disseminated to a wide audience of amateur music-makers, who could play and sing popular music at home. In addition to the influence of sheet music, another factor was the increasing availability during the late 18th and early 19th century of public popular music performances in "pleasure gardens and dance hall
Dance hall
Dance hall in its general meaning is a hall for dancing. From the earliest years of the twentieth century until the early 1960s, the dance hall was the popular forerunner of the discothèque or nightclub...

s, popular theatres and concert rooms". The early popular music performers worked hand-in-hand with the sheet music industry to promote popular sheet music. One of the early popular music performers to attain widespread popularity was Jenny Lind
Jenny Lind
Johanna Maria Lind , better known as Jenny Lind, was a Swedish opera singer, often known as the "Swedish Nightingale". One of the most highly regarded singers of the 19th century, she is known for her performances in soprano roles in opera in Sweden and across Europe, and for an extraordinarily...

, who toured the US in the mid-19th century. During the 19th century, more regular people began getting involved in music by participating in amateur choirs or joining brass band
Brass band
A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and woodwind instruments can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands , but are usually more correctly termed military bands, concert...

s.

The centre of the music publishing industry in the US during the late 19th century was in New York's 'Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

' district. The Tin Pan Alley music publishers developed a new method for promoting sheet music: incessant promotion of new songs. One of the technological innovations that helped to spread popular music around the turn of the century was player piano
Player piano
A player piano is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in...

s; these allowed people to hear the new popular piano tunes. By the early 1900s, the big trends in popular music were the increasing popularity of vaudeville theaters and dance halls and the new invention—the gramophone player. The record industry grew very rapidly; "By 1920 there were almost 80 record companies in Britain, and almost 200 in the USA". Radio broadcasting of music, which began in the early 1920s, helped to spread popular songs to a huge audience. Another factor which helped to disseminate popular music was the introduction of "talking pictures"--sound films—in the late 1920s. In the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, there was a move towards consolidation in the recording industry which led several major companies to dominate the record industry.

In the 1950s and 1960s, television began to play an increasingly important role in disseminating new popular music. Variety shows regularly showcased popular singers and bands. In the 1960s, the development of new technologies in recording such as multitrack recorders gave sound engineers an increasingly important role in popular music. By using recording techniques, sound engineers could create new sounds and sound effects that were not possible using traditional "live" recording techniques.

In the 1970s, the trend towards consolidation in the recording industry continued to the point that the "... dominance was in the hands of five huge transnational organizations, three American-owned (WEA, RCA, CBS) and two European-owned [companies] (EMI, Polygram)". In the 1990s, the consolidation trend took a new turn: inter-media consolidation. This trend saw music recording companies being consolidated with film, television, magazines, and other media companies, an approach which facilitated cross-marketing promotion between subsidiaries. For example, a record company's singing star could be cross-promoted by the firm's television and magazine arms.

In the 1990s, popular music was changed by the "introduction of digital equipment (mixing desks, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers)" which allowed the creation of "new sound worlds" and facilitated DIY music production by amateur musicians and " tiny independent record labels". By the 2000s, another trend which affected popular music was the increasing availability and use of computers and Internet connections, which facilitated the dissemination—both legal and illegal—of digital recordings and digital versions of sheet music and lyrics.

See also

  • Music radio
    Music radio
    Music radio is a radio format in which music is the main broadcast content. After television replaced old time radio's dramatic content, music formats became dominant in many countries...

  • Popular culture
    Popular culture
    Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

  • List of popular music performers
  • List of popular music genres
  • Popular music pedagogy
    Popular music pedagogy
    Popular music pedagogy — alternatively called rock music pedagogy, popular music education, or rock music education — is a recent development in the field of music education consisting of the application of the systematic teaching and learning of rock music and other forms of popular music both...

  • List of honorific titles in popular music
  • Music popularity index
    Music popularity index
    A music popularity index is a recorded music ranking, classified by popularity, which can be measured in many different ways. Nowadays, they are very common in musical websites, since they offer really interesting statistics which can be used for different applications, like musical recommendations...


Sources

  • Tagg Philip (1982) "Analysing Popular Music : Theory, Method and Practice" in Popular Music, 2
  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
  • Bennett (1980).
  • Birrer, Frans A. J. (1985). "Definitions and research orientation: do we need a definition of popular music?" in D. Horn, ed., Popular Music Perspectives, 2 (Gothenburge, Exeter, Ottawa and Reggio Emilia), p. 99-106.
  • Hall, S. (1978). "Popular culture, politics, and history", in Popular Culture Bulletin, 3, Open University duplicated paper.
  • Everett, Walter (1997). "Swallowed by a Song: Paul Simon's Crisis of Chromaticism", Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-510004-2.
  • Hamm, Charles (1979). Yesterdays: Popular Song in America. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-01257-3.
  • Manuel, Peter (1988). Popular Musics of the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505342-7.
  • Marcello Sorce Keller (2000). "Popular Music in Europe", in James Porter, Timothy Rice and Chris Goertzen (eds.), Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Europe, New York, pp. 204- 213.

Further reading

  • T.W. Adorno with G. Simpson: ‘On Popular Music’, Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, ix (1941), 17–48

  • R. Iwaschkin: Popular Music: a Reference Guide (New York, 1986)

  • P. Hardy and D. Laing: The Faber Companion to 20th-Century Popular Music (London, 1990/R)

  • R. Middleton: Studying Popular Music (Milton Keynes, 1990)

  • P. Gammond: The Oxford Companion to Popular Music (Oxford, 1991)

  • D. Brackett: Interpreting Popular Music (Cambridge, 1995)


  • :fr:Volume ! a French scholarly journal dedicated to popular music studies.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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