Pop Music All Sounds the Same Nowadays
Your parents are officially correct. Nowadays, pop music all sounds pretty much the same.
Researchers in Spain came to the conclusion after tracking the timbre, pitch and volume of nearly a half-million songs released between 1955 and 2010. They found that in this music dataset — which spanned rock, pop, hip-hop, metal and electronic genres — the transitions between chords (a string of notes played at the same time), note combinations, tone and instrument choices all became less and less diverse over time. Meanwhile, the songs grew intrinsically louder.
In short, there's been "a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse," Joan Serrà of the Spanish National Research Council and colleagues wrote in a paper published yesterday (July 26) in the journal Scientific Reports. "In particular, we obtain numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations (roughly speaking, chords and melodies) has consistently diminished in the last 50 years."
Whereas in 1960 you might have heard startling chord transitions, [unfamiliar instruments]("http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/2083-tree-rings-sound-record-player.html") and variation in the volume over the course of a song played on the radio, tunes today restrict themselves to the "fashionable" set of chords and note combinations, and maintain a uniformly high volume from beginning to end.
Sounds about right to me, but why?
I’d guess maybe as each “wave” starts off with a few bands making big hits the crowd tries to follow the formula. But if that’s true, why was there more variety during the Swing, Big Band, Jazz eras?
Maybe cuz folks got more and more of their music from radio and records than from live venues?