Monday, July 30, 2012

Pop Music Became Louder and Simpler

Researchers in Spain examined certain qualities of musical songs released from 1955 to 2010. Across the rock, pop, hip-hop, metal and electronic genres, the chord transitions, note combinations, tone and instrument choices were examined and all were found to become less diverse over time. Additionally, the recorded songs became louder with time.

In a paper published July 26 with the journal Scientific Reports, Joan Serra of the Spanish National Research Council noted, "In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations has consistently diminished in the last 50 years."

An internet summary of the results, reported on the internet by Natalie Wolchover of, states that "startling chord transitions, unfamiliar instruments and variations in the volume over the course of a song played on the radio, runes today restrict themselves to the ‘fashionable’ set of chords and not combinations and maintain a uniformly high volume from beginning to end."

Many in the music business refer tot his as the "loudness war." Wolchover’s article noted that the researchers speculate that an old tune could be rerecorded with modern, increased loudness and with simpler chord progressions and instrument sonorities and be viewed as novel and fashionable.

Summarized from:

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