If you ask the average young adult what comes to mind when they hear the term “music” they are likely to respond with a fresh singer, band, or genre of “pop” music. Often times society places their opinion of classical music and popular music on completely different wavelengths of importance in the world. The modern perception of classical vs. popular music has led to a heavily decreasing audience for classical groups and performances, a desire for repetitive and simple melodies, and a negative stigma against classical music’s importance.
When music began to become structured as a part of civilization around the 13th century, the only place one could go to hear music was a concert hall or royal palace. This tradition lasted all the way until the mid-20th century, when jazz and rock spun off as new “genres” from traditional classical themes. Before this, classical music was the popular music; going to the symphony was a common activity among both the upper and middle class. ...view middle of the document...
It can be argued that popular music is composed with new and revolutionary themes in mind; however, more often than not pop music is written by a group or team of writers. Their mission is not to portray a certain message or emotion, it is to sell albums and records to the vulnerable and susceptible young generation. This is parallel to the fact that popular music is not known or recognized by its composer or writer, but by the singer or band whose name is attached to it. It is much easier to idolize a singer or artist than it is a composer. One would be surprised to find a poster of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky or the New York Philharmonic on a bedroom wall; while a poster of Miley Cyrus naked on construction equipment is perfectly acceptable. In the end, the pandering of the music industry to make music that sells has led to a heavily decreased demand for sophisticated music.
Overall, pop music has created a trend and desire for simple, repetitive melodies that please the brain and do not require intricate thought or insight. Look at nearly every pop song and you’ll find an “I V vi IV” chord progression repeated again and again for three minutes. Why do song writers keep using the same basic idea every time? Because it works and sells. Much of society is not formally trained in music; therefore, they do not recognize the same monotonous melodies, themes, and progressions that are reused over and over again, and presented as the newest hit single. This stagnant revolution of music does not follow the tradition of classical music to become truly new and innovative with each new generation. When Igor Stravinsky premiered his ballet “The Rite of Spring” not even a century ago, the audience was so caught off guard by the new world-shattering genres and ideas that they broke into a full blown riot. While extreme, this event caused a new generation of pushing the norms of customary music. The modern popular music equivalent is Beyoncé’s secret album release without any prior press announcement or advertisement. While unanticipated, nobody screamed from fear and shock after hearing “Drunken Love.” In this contemporary world, society does not have the patience to sit through a half an hour symphony, no matter how genius or well executed; making the typical pop song their everyday solution for a music craving.