Pop Music Is Louder, Less Acoustic and More Energetic Now
It is interesting to note that the current favourites in pop are more likely to be emotionally ambiguous. Normally, we look for a happy song to be fast, whereas a sad sounding song to be slow, but these days it’s just the opposite in most of the cases. Analysing the pop music of last 50 years, researchers came up with three music revolutions. Starting in 1964 with British Invasion, in 1983, it was Synth Pop and in 1991 came a mainstream breakthrough Hip-Hop. They were also able to go through the loss of blues chords from the charts, as well as the birth of disco.
Researchers looked at the different characteristics of music, like harmony, chords changes and timbres and then analysed how they changed over time. Though they agree that listeners today are more musically sophisticated, they do not agree with the claim that music is getting worse day by day.
With the takeover of British bands in 1964, chords called dominant sevenths died out to make place for a new rocky sound. The second major change that took place in 1983 was contributed by new age technology, samplers, drum machines and synthesisers. The third change in 1991 was by far the biggest revolution of all. Till then, a lot of emphasis was on harmony, but in this third major revolution, emphasis shifted to speech sounds and rhythm. Rap and hip hop do not use much of harmony.
In its journey of over 50 years, pop music has constantly evolved and changed. Some changes were abrupt and some were slow to get embedded. But, these slow changes made a big impact, though not a revolution. The minor seventh chord introduced in the 1970s is still used in the new songs. Artists may employ minor keys and compose slower songs to give them an air of maturity.
Music too is impacted by the changes in the society. The contemporary music reflects the hardships that the society was going through. So, you will find that during economic and social difficulties, songs generally tend to be slower and longer.
Overall, music tends to follow the path that people want it to take and as the taste of people has become more diverse and individualised so is the music.