Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical training. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional or "folk" music. Art music was historically disseminated through the performances of written music, although since the beginning of the recording industry, it is also disseminated through recordings. Traditional music forms such as early blues songs or hymns were passed along orally, or to smaller, local audiences.
The original application of the term is to music of the 1880s Tin Pan Alley period in the United States. Although popular music sometimes is known as "pop music", the two terms are not interchangeable. Popular music is a generic term for a wide variety of genres of music that appeal to the tastes of a large segment of the population, whereas pop music usually refers to a specific musical genre within popular music. Popular music songs and pieces typically have easily singable melodies. The song structure of popular music commonly involves repetition of sections, with the verse and chorus or refrain repeating throughout the song and the bridge providing a contrasting and transitional section within a piece.
In the 2000s, with songs and pieces available as digital sound files, it has become easier for music to spread from one country or region to another. Some popular music forms have become global, while others have a wide appeal within the culture of their origin. Through the mixture of musical genres, new popular music forms are created to reflect the ideals of a global culture. The examples of Africa, Indonesia, and the Middle East show how Western pop music styles can blend with local musical traditions to create new hybrid styles.
Scholars have classified music as "popular" based on various factors, including whether a song or piece becomes known to listeners mainly from hearing the music (in contrast with classical music, in which many musicians learn pieces from sheet music); its appeal to diverse listeners, its treatment as a marketplace commodity in a capitalist context, and other factors. Sales of 'recordings' or sheet music are one measure. Middleton and Manuel note that this definition has problems because multiple listens or plays of the same song or piece are not counted. Evaluating appeal based on size of audience (mass appeal) or whether audience is of a certain social class is another way to define popular music, but this, too, has problems in that social categories of people cannot be applied accurately to musical styles. Manuel states that one criticism of popular music is that it is produced by large media conglomerates and passively consumed by the public, who merely buy or reject what music is being produced. He claims that the listeners in the scenario would not have been able to make the choice of their favorite music, which negates the previous conception of popular music. Moreover, "understandings of popular music have changed with time". Middleton argues that if research were to be done on the field of popular music, there would be a level of stability within societies to characterize historical periods, distribution of music, and the patterns of influence and continuity within the popular styles of music.
Anahid Kassabian separated popular music into four categories; "popular as populist," or having overtones of liberation and expression; "popular as folk," or stating that the music is written by the people, for themselves; "popular as counterculture," or empowering citizens to act against the oppression they face; and "popular as mass," or the music becomes the tool for oppression. A society's popular music reflects the ideals that are prevalent at the time it is performed or published. David Riesman states that the youth audiences of popular music fit into either a majority group or a subculture. The majority group listens to the commercially produced styles while the subcultures find a minority style to transmit their own values. This allows youth to choose what music they identify with, which gives them power as consumers to control the market of popular music.
Form in popular music is most often sectional, the most common sections being verse, chorus or refrain, and bridge. Other common forms include thirty-two-bar form, chorus form *(Middleton pg 30), and twelve-bar blues. 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").
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 and coda ("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, while the bridge, intro, and coda (also called an "outro") tend to be used only 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.
"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". 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, middle-class music-makers, who could play and sing popular music at home. Amateur music-making in the 19th century often centred around the piano, as this instrument could play melodies, chords and basslines, thus enabling a pianist to reproduce popular songs and pieces. 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 halls, 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 a Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, who toured the US in the mid-19th century. In addition to living room amateur music-making during the 19th century, more people began getting involved in music during this era by participating in amateur choirs, joining brass bands or playing in amateur orchestras.
The centre of the music publishing industry in the US during the late 19th century was in New York's 'Tin Pan Alley' 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 pianos. A player piano could be used to record a skilled pianist's rendition of a piano piece. This recorded performance could be "played back" on another player piano. This allowed a larger number of music lovers 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 a 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". The availability of records enabled a larger percentage of the population to hear the top singers and bands.
Radio broadcasting of music, which began in the early 1920s, helped to spread popular songs to a huge audience, enabling a much larger proportion of the population to hear songs performed by professional singers and music ensembles, including individuals from lower income groups who previously would not have been able to afford concert tickets. Radio broadcasting increased the ability of songwriters, singers and bandleaders to become nationally known. Another factor which helped to disseminate popular music was the introduction of "talking pictures"—sound films—in the late 1920s, which also included music and songs. 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, the new invention of 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 and record producers an increasingly important role in popular music. By using multitrack recording techniques, sound engineers could create new sounds and sound effects that were not possible using traditional "live" recording techniques, such as singers performing their own backup vocals or having lead guitarists play rhythm guitars behind their guitar solo. During the 1960s era of psychedelic music, the recording studio was used to create even more unusual sounds, in order to mimic the effect of taking hallucinogenic drugs, some songs used tapes of instruments played backwards or panned the music from one side to the other of the stereo image.
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 conglomerate's television talk shows and magazine arms.
The "introduction of digital equipment (mixing desks, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers)" in the 1990s resulted in what Grove Dictionary of Music dubbed the creation of "new sound worlds", as well as facilitating DIY music production by amateur musicians and "tiny independent record labels". In the 1990s, the availability of sound recording software and effects units software meant that an amateur indie band could record an album—which required a fully equipped recording studio in previous decades—using little more than a laptop and a good quality microphone. That said, the audio quality of modern recording studios still outstrips what an amateur can produce.
In contrast to Western popular music, a genre of music that is popular outside of a Western nation, is categorized into World music. This label turns otherwise popular styles of music into an exotic and unknown category. The Western concept of 'World Music' homogenizes many different genres of popular music under one accessible term for Western audiences. New media technology has led urban music styles to filter into distant rural areas across the globe. The rural areas, in turn, are able to give feedback to the urban centers about the new styles of music. Urbanization, modernization, exposure to foreign music and mass media have contributed to hybrid urban pop styles. The hybrid styles have also found a space within Western popular music through the expressions of their national culture. Recipient cultures borrow elements from host cultures and alter the meaning and context found in the host culture. Many Western styles, in turn, have become international styles through multinational recording studios.
Popular African music styles have stemmed from traditional entertainment genres, rather than evolving from music used with certain traditional ceremonies like weddings, births, or funerals. African popular music as a whole has been influenced by European countries, African-American and Afro-Latin music, and region-specific styles that became popular across a wider range of people. Although due to the significance and strong position of culture in traditional African music, African popular music tends to stay within the roots of traditional African Popular Music. The genre of music, Maskanda, is popular in its culture of origin, South Africa. Although maskanda is a traditional music genre by definition, the people who listen to it influence the ideals that are brought forth in the music. A popular maskandi artist, Phuzekhemisi, had to lessen the political influence within his music to be ready for the public sphere. His music producer, West Nikosi, was looking for the commercial success in Phuzekhemisi's music rather than starting a political controversy.
Political songs have been an important category of African popular music in many societies. During the continent's struggle against colonial rule, nationalistic songs boosted citizens' morale. These songs were based on Western marches and hymns reflecting the European education system that the early nationalistic leaders grew up in. Not all African political songs were based on Western styles. For example, in South Africa, the political songs during the Anti-Apartheid Movement were based on traditional tribal styles along with hybrid forms of imported genres. Activists used protest and freedom songs to persuade individuals to take action, become educated with the struggle, and empower others to be politically conscious. These songs reflected the nuances between the different classes involved in the liberation struggle.
One of the genres people of Africa use for political expression is Hip hop. Although hip hop in Africa is based on the North American template, it has been remade to produce new meanings for African young people. This allows the genre to be both locally and globally influential. African youth are shaped by the fast-growing genre's ability to communicate, educate, empower, and entertain. Artists who would have started in traditional music genres, like maskanda, became hip hop artists to provide a stronger career path for themselves. These rappers compare themselves to the traditional artists like the griot and oral storyteller, who both had a role in reflecting on the internal dynamics of the larger society. African hip hop creates youth culture, community intelligence, and global solidarity.
Popular music in Indonesia can be categorized as hybrid forms of Western rock to genres that are originated in Indonesia and indigenous in style. The genre of music, Dangdut, is a genre of popular music specifically found in Indonesia. Dangdut formed two other styles of popular music, Indo-pop and Underground, together to create a new hybrid or fusion genre. The genre takes the noisy instrumentation from Underground, but still makes it easy to listen to like Indo-pop. Dangdut attempts to form many popular music genres like rock, pop, and traditional music to create this new sound that lines up with the consumers' tastes. This genre has formed into a larger social movement that includes clothing, youth culture, the resurgence of Islam, and the capitalist entertainment industry.
Another music scene that is popular in Indonesia is Punk rock. This genre was shaped in Indonesia by the local interpretations of the media from the larger global punk movement. Jeremy Wallach argues that while Green Day was seen as the "death of punk," in Indonesia they were the catalyst for a larger punk movement. Punk in Indonesia calls on the English-speaking world to embrace the global sects of the punk culture and become open-minded to the transnational genre.
In a 2015 study involving young students in Shanghai, youths stated they enjoyed listening to both Chinese, other Asian nationalities, and Anglo-American popular music. There are three ways that young people of China were able to access global music. The first reason was a policy change since the late 1970s where the country was opened up to the rest of the world instead of being self-contained. This created more opportunities for Chinese people to interact with people outside of their country of origin to create a more globalized culture. The second reason is that the Chinese television and music industry since the 1980s has broadcast television shows from their neighboring Asian societies and the West. The third reason is the impact of the internet and smartphones on the accessibility of streaming music.
In 2015, students in China accounted for 30.2% of China's internet population and the third and fifth most popular uses of the internet were respectively, internet music and internet video use. The youths described being able to connect to the emotions and language of the Chinese music, but also enjoyed the melodies found within Anglo-American music. The students also believed that listening to the English music would improve their English language skills.
"We must respect ourselves and our art. The Indians have set a good example for us - they show great respect for themselves and their arts. Wherever they are, they wear their native dress and their music is known throughout the world. This is the right way."
She discussed this to explain why Egypt and the Arab world needed to take pride in the popular music styles originating in their culture so the styles were not lost in the modernization. Local musicians learned Western instrumental styles to create their own popular styles including their native languages and indigenous musical features. Communities in throughout the Arab world place high value on their indigenous musical identities while assimilating to new musical styles from neighboring countries or mass media. Through the 1980s and 1990s, popular music has been seen as a problem for the Iranian government because of the non-religious meanings within the music and the bodily movements of dancing or headbanging. During this time period, metal became a popular underground subculture through the Middle East. Just like their Western counterparts, Middle Eastern metal followers expressed their feelings of alienation. But their thoughts came from war and social restrictions on youth.
In interviews of Iranian teenagers between 1990 and 2004, the youth overall preferred Western popular music, even though it was banned by the government. Iranian underground rock bands are composed of members who are young, urban-minded, educated, relatively well-off, and global beings. Iranian rock is described by the traits that these band members possess. The youth who take part in underground music in the Middle East are aware of the social constraints of their countries, but they are not optimistic about social change. Iranian rock bands have taken up an internationalist position to express their rebellion from the discourses in their national governments.
African popular music, like African traditional music, is vast and varied. Most contemporary genres of African popular music build on cross-pollination with western popular music. Many genres of popular music like blues, jazz, salsa, zouk, and rumba derive to varying degrees on musical traditions from Africa, taken to the Americas by enslaved Africans. These rhythms and sounds have subsequently been adapted by newer genres like rock, and rhythm and blues. Likewise, African popular music has adopted elements, particularly the musical instruments and recording studio techniques of western music. The term "afropop" (also styled afro-pop or afro pop) is sometimes used to refer to contemporary African pop music. The term does not refer to a specific style or sound, but is used as a general term for African popular music.Auto-Tune
Auto-Tune is an audio processor created by Antares Audio Technologies which uses a proprietary device to measure and alter pitch in vocal and instrumental music recording and performances. It was originally intended to disguise or correct off-key inaccuracies, allowing vocal tracks to be perfectly tuned despite originally being slightly off-pitch.
Starting with Cher's 1998 hit "Believe", producers began to use Auto-Tune as a sound effect, to deliberately distort vocals. By 2018, music critic Simon Reynolds observed that Auto-Tune had "revolutionized popular music", calling its use for effects "the fad that just wouldn’t fade. Its use is now more entrenched than ever." The term auto-tune has become a generic term to describe audible pitch correction in music regardless of the method.
The effect is not to be confused with a vocoder or the talk box.Avant-garde music
Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of experimentation or innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences.Classic hits
Classic hits is a radio format which generally includes rock and pop music from the early/mid 1960s through the mid/late 1980s (occasionally early/mid 1990s in some markets). The format, which came in vogue around the beginning of the 21st century, is considered as a contemporary version of the oldies format. The term is sometimes incorrectly used as a synonym for the adult hits format, which uses a slightly newer music library stretching from the 1970s through the present.Colin Larkin (writer)
Colin Larkin (born 1949) is a British writer and entrepreneur. He was the editor in chief and founder of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, described by The Times as "the standard against which all others must be judged".Along with the ten-volume encyclopedia, Larkin also wrote the book All Time Top 1000 Albums, and edited the Guinness Who's Who Of Jazz, the Guinness Who's Who Of Blues, and the Virgin Encyclopedia Of Heavy Rock The compiler of the most extensive database of popular music in Europe and the US, a writer and book designer by trade, Larkin has over 650,000 copies in print to date. As an authority on popular music, Larkin has often been interviewed on radio, and had a regular slot on BBC GLR for two years in the 1990s.Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music (or CCM—and occasionally "inspirational music") is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. It formed as those affected by the 1960s Jesus movement revival began to express themselves in a more contemporary style of music than the hymns, Gospel and Southern gospel music that was prevalent in the church at the time. Today, the term is typically used to refer to pop, rock, or praise & worship styles.
It has representation on several music charts including Billboard's Christian Albums, Christian Songs, Hot Christian AC (Adult Contemporary), Christian CHR, Soft AC/Inspirational, and Christian Digital Songs as well as the UK's Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart. Top-selling CCM artists will also appear on the Billboard 200. In the iTunes Store, the genre is represented as part of the Christian and gospel genre.Encyclopedia of Popular Music
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music was created in 1989 by Colin Larkin. It is the 'modern man's' equivalent of the Grove Dictionary of Music, which Larkin describes in less than flattering terms.Interpolation (popular music)
In popular music, interpolation (also called replayed sample) refers to using a melody—or portions of a melody (often with modified lyrics)—from a previously recorded song but re-recording the melody instead of sampling it directly. Interpolation is often used when the artist or label who owns the piece of music declines to license the sample, or if licensing the piece of music is considered too costly.List of popular music genres
This is a list of the commercially relevant genres in modern popular music. Applicable styles are classified in this list using AllMusic genre categorization. Popular music is defined as music with wide appeal.Lyrics
Lyrics are words that make up a song usually consisting of verses and choruses. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist. The words to an extended musical composition such as an opera are, however, usually known as a "libretto" and their writer, as a "librettist". The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of expression. Rappers can also create lyrics (often with a variation of rhyming words) that are meant to be spoken rhythmically rather than sung.Music genre
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Recently, academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated.Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways. The artistic nature of music means that these classifications are often subjective and controversial, and some genres may overlap. There are even varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between genre and form. He lists madrigal, motet, canzona, ricercar, and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, and the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form." Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, and that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can also differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may also be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, and the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will often include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an almost ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects".Among the criteria often used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art, popular, and traditional musics.
Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal, valence, and depth. Arousal reflects the energy level of the music; valence reflects the scale from sad to happy emotions, and depth reflects the level of emotional depth in the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres.Music of Portugal
Portuguese music includes many different styles and genres, as a result of its history. These can be broadly divided into classical music, traditional/folk music and popular music and all of them have produced internationally successful acts, with the country seeing a recent expansion in musical styles, especially in popular music.
In traditional/folk music, fado has had a significant impact, with Amália Rodrigues still the most recognizable Portuguese name in music, and with more recent acts, like Dulce Pontes and Mariza. The genre is one of two Portuguese music traditions in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, with the other being Cante Alentejano. Regional folk music remains popular too, having been updated and modernized in many cases, especially in the northeastern region of Trás-os-Montes. Some more recent successful fado/folk-inspired acts include Madredeus and Deolinda, the later being part of a folk revival that has led to a newfound interest in this type of music.
In popular music, there is a significant number of popular genres. These include rock, with popular acts including Xutos & Pontapés, The Gift (alternative rock), Fingertips (pop rock), Blasted Mechanism (experimental electro-rock) and Wraygunn (rock, blues). Also hip-hop, with acts such as Da Weasel, Boss AC and Sam the Kid. Acts such as Moonspell (metal) and Buraka Som Sistema (electro/kuduro/breakbeat) have had significant international success. Other popular modern genres in Portugal include dance, house, kizomba, pimba, pop, reggae, ska and zouk.Music of the United Kingdom
Throughout its history, the United Kingdom has been a major producer and source of musical creation, drawing its artistic basis from the history of the United Kingdom, from church music, Western culture and the ancient and traditional folk music and instrumentation of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
It has been argued that the United Kingdom has produced no composer of international importance or influence since Henry Purcell d.1695.
In parts the 20th century, influences from the music of the United States became dominant in popular music. Following this was the explosion of the British Invasion, while subsequent notable movements in British music include the new wave of British heavy metal and Britpop. The United Kingdom has one of the world's largest music industries today, with many British musicians having influenced modern music.Musicology
Musicology (from Greek, Modern μουσική (mousikē), meaning 'music', and -λογία (-logia), meaning 'study of') is the scholarly analysis and research-based study of music. Musicology departments traditionally belong to the humanities, although music research is often more scientific in focus (psychological, sociological, acoustical, neurological, computational). A scholar who participates in musical research is a musicologist.Traditionally, historical musicology (commonly termed "music history") has been the most prominent sub-discipline of musicology. In the 2010s, historical musicology is one of several large musicology sub-disciplines. Historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and systematic musicology are approximately equal in size. Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its cultural context. Systematic musicology includes music acoustics, the science and technology of acoustical musical instruments, and the musical implications of physiology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and computing. Cognitive musicology is the set of phenomena surrounding the computational modeling of music. In some countries, music education is a prominent sub-field of musicology, while in others it is regarded as a distinct academic field, or one more closely affiliated with teacher education, educational research, and related fields. Like music education, music therapy is a specialized form of applied musicology which is sometimes considered more closely affiliated with health fields, and other times regarded as part of musicology proper.Música popular brasileira
Música popular brasileira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmuzikɐ popuˈlaʁ bɾaziˈlejɾɐ], Popular Brazilian Music) or MPB is a trend in post-bossa nova urban popular music in Brazil that revisits typical Brazilian styles such as samba, samba-canção and baião and other Brazilian regional music, combining them with foreign influences, such as jazz and rock.
This movement has produced and today is represented by many renowned Brazilian artists, such as Jorge Ben Jor, Novos Baianos, Chico Buarque and Dominguinhos, whose individual styles generated their own trends within the genre. The term often also is used to describe any kind of music with Brazilian origins and "voice and guitar style" that arose in the late 1960s.
Variations within MPB were the short-lived but influential artistic movement known as tropicália, and the music of samba rock.Pop music
Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many diverse styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.
Although much of the music that appears on record charts is seen as pop music, the genre is distinguished from chart music. Pop music is eclectic, and often borrows elements from other styles such as urban, dance, rock, Latin, and country; nonetheless, there are core elements that define pop music. Identifying factors include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), as well as common use of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks.Rock music
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, and jazz-rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, which was influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene. New genres that emerged included progressive rock, which extended the artistic elements; glam rock, which highlighted showmanship and visual style; and the diverse and enduring subgenre of heavy metal, which emphasized volume, power, and speed. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and eventually alternative rock. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge, Britpop, and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, and rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals at the beginning of the 2000s.
Rock music has also embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major subcultures including mods and rockers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. Similarly, 1970s punk culture spawned the goth, punk, and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race, sex and drug use, and is often seen as an expression of youth revolt against adult consumerism and conformity.Song structure
Song structure is the arrangement of a song, and is a part of the songwriting process. It is typically sectional, which uses repeating forms in songs. Common forms include bar form, thirty-two-bar form, verse-chorus form, ternary form, strophic form, and the twelve-bar blues. Popular music songs traditionally use the same music for each verse or stanza of lyrics (as opposed to songs that are "through-composed"—an approach used in classical music art songs). Pop and traditional forms can be used even with songs that have structural differences in melodies. The most common format in modern popular music is introduction (intro), verse, pre-chorus, chorus (or refrain), verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge ("middle eight"), verse, chorus and outro. In rock music styles, notably heavy metal music, there is usually a guitar solo in the song. In pop music, there may be a guitar solo, or the solo may be performed by a synthesizer player or sax player.
The foundation of popular music is the "verse" and "chorus" structure. "Pop and rock songs nearly always have both a verse and a chorus. The primary difference between the two is that when the music of the verse returns, it is almost always given a new set of lyrics, whereas the chorus usually retains the same set of lyrics every time its music appears." Both are essential elements, with the verse usually played first. Exceptions abound, with "She Loves You" by The Beatles being an early example in the rock music genre. Each verse usually employs the same melody (possibly with some slight modifications), while the lyrics usually change for each verse. The chorus (or "refrain") usually consists of a melodic and lyrical phrase that repeats. Pop songs may have an introduction and coda ("tag"), but these elements are not essential to the identity of most songs. Pop songs often connect the verse and chorus via a bridge, which as its name suggests, is a section that 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 an improvised line.Traditional pop music
Traditional pop (also classic pop or pop standards) music consists of Western popular music that generally pre-dates the advent of rock and roll in the mid-1950s. The most popular and enduring songs from this style of music are known as pop standards or American standards. The works of these songwriters and composers are usually considered part of the canon known as the "Great American Songbook". More generally, the term "standard" can be applied to any popular song that has become very widely known within mainstream culture.
Traditional/classic pop music is generally regarded as having existed between the mid-1940s and mid-1950s. AllMusic defines traditional pop as "post-big band and pre-rock & roll pop music." This definition is disputed by many scholars; however, as many of the most popular works of Cole Porter and those of George and Ira Gershwin pre-date World War II, while the works of Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern date to World War I.