Classical Music Forum banner
541 - 560 of 641 Posts

·
Registered
Mahler
Joined
·
3,907 Posts
To my ears the majority of today's mainstream American Pop Music is boring.

Just because it is boring to me does not mean:

a. That I am unaware that musical styles change.

b. That I am unaware that there has been resistance of older generations to new music.

c. That I think the teenagers of today are less intelligent than they were a few decades ago.

d. That the artists of today are inferior to the artists of the 1980's or whatever.

f. That the current music in inherently inferior. It may still be good; it is just boring to me. Heck, I find that most of the music of Verdi is boring. The last I checked the Met is still programming Verdi.

g. Even if current pop music is bad, so what?

I am really getting tired of being accused of believing in stuff I do not believe because I find some music to be boring.

I have stated this many times before in this forum. I frequently have had to perform music that is very boring to play. I realize that in spite of my feelings, there are members of the audience who like and want to hear the music. I owe it to them to do as good a job of performing the music as I can and to keep my opinions to myself.

I am not as big an a**hole as it may appear to be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,304 Posts
To my ears the majority of today's mainstream American Pop Music is boring.

Just because it is boring to me does not mean:

a. That I am unaware that musical styles change.

b. That I am unaware that there has been resistance of older generations to new music.

c. That I think the teenagers of today are less intelligent than they were a few decades ago.

d. That the artists of today are inferior to the artists of the 1980's or whatever.

f. That the current music in inherently inferior. It may still be good; it is just boring to me. Heck, I find that most of the music of Verdi is boring. The last I checked the Met is still programming Verdi.

g. Even if current pop music is bad, so what?

I am really getting tired of being accused of believing in stuff I do not believe because I find some music to be boring.

I have stated this many times before in this forum. I frequently have had to perform music that is very boring to play. I realize that in spite of my feelings, there are members of the audience who like and want to hear the music. I owe it to them to do as good a job of performing the music as I can and to keep my opinions to myself.

I am not as big an a**hole as it may appear to be.
I agree on every count. And FWIW, my post was not directed at you, nor at the OP personally, but was meant only to address the topic raised by the OP's first post that started this lengthy thread. In fact, I always try my best to look at the thread title and/or post no. 1 and make sure my post relates to one or both. And looking again at post no. 1 here, I don't think the OP was being an a$$hole or unreasonable in any way in writing it, though I do not entirely agree with its premise.

P.S. In HS, I had to play the March from Aida endlessly at each graduation ceremony, including my own. That transcended boredom and entered the realm of the deeply painful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
But nobody in this thread rejected the African-American and Latin influences in modern music! If anything some of the most harmonically sophisticated genres were invented by African-Americans and Latinos e.g. Jazz and Bossa Nova. The Death of Harmony is only a recent phenomenon. The Non-European influences happened decades earlier.

Neither did anyone here reject electronic instruments. Tons of music in the past combined electronic instruments with interesting harmonies, melodies and song structures e.g. the prog and fusion bands of the 70s, even some modern K-Pop.

The death of harmony seems to be a separate phenomenon that can't be explained through these influences.
Maybe. But even some of the earliest electronic artists (by which I mean the avant-garde ones who were poking around with tape machines and synthesizers which looked like telephone switchboards) "rejected" harmony. Subotnick hated that the most popular synthesizers used keyboards, because he thought electronic music should embrace the fact that their mechanics are entire different from acoustic instruments.

In some sense, rather than devolving, electronic has actually slowly evolved toward the original vision of electronic pioneers where timbral exploration and progression are more important than conventional harmony. With electronic instruments and synthesizers "progressing" first as a gimmick, then as a thing to add to the production to conventional rock and pop songs, then to dance, and eventually stretching dance forms to become a more "respectable" art form (at least to upper-middle-class critics) in itself, melody and "catchiness" became less important than sustained atmosphere and timbral exploration.

And because pop loves devouring the fringe and avant garde into itself, these influences downfilter into the mainstream (though this is less experimental electronic and more general EDM/hip-hop/techno influences on pop), and suddenly pop is less concerned with melody and more with cool synth textures.

(caveat: this is *reeeeeeeeally* oversimplifying the history of electronic music)

(caveat 2: i'm skipping over the entirety of the influence of hip-hop, a form which- almost inherently- de-emphasizes harmony)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,048 Posts
Maybe. But even some of the earliest electronic artists (by which I mean the avant-garde ones who were poking around with tape machines and synthesizers which looked like telephone switchboards) "rejected" harmony. Subotnick hated that the most popular synthesizers used keyboards, because he thought electronic music should embrace the fact that their mechanics are entire different from acoustic instruments.

In some sense, rather than devolving, electronic has actually slowly evolved toward the original vision of electronic pioneers where timbral exploration and progression are more important than conventional harmony. With electronic instruments and synthesizers "progressing" first as a gimmick, then as a thing to add to the production to conventional rock and pop songs, then to dance, and eventually stretching dance forms to become a more "respectable" art form (at least to upper-middle-class critics) in itself, melody and "catchiness" became less important than sustained atmosphere and timbral exploration.

And because pop loves devouring the fringe and avant garde into itself, these influences downfilter into the mainstream (though this is less experimental electronic and more general EDM/hip-hop/techno influences on pop), and suddenly pop is less concerned with melody and more with cool synth textures.

(caveat: this is *reeeeeeeeally* oversimplifying the history of electronic music)

(caveat 2: i'm skipping over the entirety of the influence of hip-hop, a form which- almost inherently- de-emphasizes harmony)
I thinking last night that today's Pop, Hip-Hop, and some Art Rock, in their embrace of the "studio as instrument", are close to the aesthetic of Electronic Music, or maybe more accurately Electro-Acoustic Music.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Yeah, I mean, the most infamously "festival-friendly" and purist-hated form of electronic, mainstream dubstep (aka "brostep"), originated as a relatively underground scene before being downfiltered into the mainstream. Similar things happened with other electronic forms that the less pop-minded listeners first liked - a la "festival/anthem trance" (which, incidentally, purists disliked *because* it was more melodic than the stuff they liked), and even hip-hop to a large extent.

There was actually a period where the hint of melody would get you sniffed at by an electronic music purist and the most highly regarded critical stuff were subgenres like minimal techno.


also to be clear, if you love harmony, it makes perfect sense that you'd probably not like this development, and it's not unfair to say this element is, to a large extent, de-emphasized with the current trends of mainstream music. What I disagree with is the idea that it's a "lost art" that musicians have stopped knowing how to do.

If there's a large market demand for more melodic pop music, pop artists will eventually fulfill it, because that's their job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
just as an example, this is the kind of stuff electronic guys made when they were sick of harmony


and this is what it sounded like when it became critically acclaimed enough for pop to get its hands on it

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,048 Posts
Yeah, I mean, the most infamously "festival-friendly" and purist-hated form of electronic, mainstream dubstep (aka "brostep"), originated as a relatively underground scene before being downfiltered into the mainstream. Similar things happened with other electronic forms that the less pop-minded listeners first liked - a la "festival/anthem trance" (which, incidentally, purists disliked *because* it was more melodic than the stuff they liked), and even hip-hop to a large extent.

There was actually a period where the hint of melody would get you sniffed at by an electronic music purist and the most highly regarded critical stuff were subgenres like minimal techno.

also to be clear, if you love harmony, it makes perfect sense that you'd probably not like this development, and it's not unfair to say this element is, to a large extent, de-emphasized with the current trends of mainstream music. What I disagree with is the idea that it's a "lost art" that musicians have stopped knowing how to do.

If there's a large market demand for more melodic pop music, pop artists will eventually fulfill it, because that's their job.
Melodic Pop never disappeared, there are always artists whose songs are both melodically and harmonically focused. Lady Gaga, Adele, and many Black artists material are full of melodies and harmonic interest. And lest we forget, artists such as Celine Dion, Beyonce, Cher, Whitney Houston, and their contemporary soulmates have consistently recorded fairly traditional Pop songs along with their more rhythmic dance material.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,304 Posts
Melodic Pop never disappeared, there are always artists whose songs are both melodically and harmonically focused. Lady Gaga, Adele, and many Black artists material are full of melodies and harmonic interest. And lest we forget, artists such as Celine Dion, Beyonce, Cher, Whitney Houston, and their contemporary soulmates have consistently recorded fairly traditional Pop songs along with their more rhythmic dance material.
The African-American and African-Latin influence on American popular music didn't mean the end of conventional western melody and harmony, far from it. But in a lot of contexts it did mean a greater emphasis on other musical elements, most notably rhythm and timbre. The same is true of the impact of electronics. The focus on triad-based diatonic harmony, and elaborate harmonic progressions, is a feature of the 19th century European tradition. That hasn't disappeared, but the importance of other things has increased in many current musical genres.
 

·
Registered
Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
Joined
·
1,700 Posts
Truth be told... this is a thead where a bunch of people who do NOT listen to any modern music are discussing modern music's merits.
You've read all 550 posts? It's true that some contributors admit to not listening to certain types of "modern" music ( me included) while others spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music they despise. Odd, eh?

But there's no bunches here, and no consensus on what music falls under the OP's "pop" label.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
You've read all 550 posts? It's true that some contributors admit to not listening to certain types of "modern" music ( me included) while others spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music they despise. Odd, eh?

But there's no bunches here, and no consensus on what music falls under the OP's "pop" label.
Yes, I've read. And there's generalization is my post, of course.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
343 Posts
You took a pot shot at the entire group of members taking part in this discussion. You chose to do that instead of making a thoughtful contribution to the discussion.
Actually not. "bunch" =/= "all", but I don't know why I have to explain that. Besides, it's rather obvious how much the statement is truthful -- not 100%, but not that far away.

But yes, I chose to do a unsympathetic pot shot because I thought it was a "thoughtful" contribution. First of all, people must be honest with themselves about how much they actually hear of pop music. Everbody here is supposedly a classical enthusiast, and probably listen to other music too... so it's where we're spending our free time when we sit to listen to music. I guess some others also work with music and are a little more exposed to modern trends, but how much?

This discussion is essentially "quantitative" besides "qualitative" -- there's a lot of pop music out there... and we're talking about all of them here.
 

·
Registered
Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
Joined
·
1,700 Posts
Actually not. "bunch" =/= "all", but I don't know why I have to explain that. Besides, it's rather obvious how much the statement is truthful -- not 100%, but not that far away.

But yes, I chose to do a unsympathetic pot shot because I thought it was a "thoughtful" contribution. First of all, people must be honest with themselves about how much they actually hear of pop music. Everbody here is supposedly a classical enthusiast, and probably listen to other music too... so it's where we're spending our free time when we sit to listen to music. I guess some others also work with music and are a little more exposed to modern trends, but how much?

This discussion is essentially "quantitative" besides "qualitative" -- there's a lot of pop music out there... and we're talking about all of them here.
The problem with "generalisations" is that they are, by definition, referring to the 'general'...ie pretty much everyone, if not everyone. Several posters have taken on the task (entirely voluntarily, and probably fruitlessly) of defending "pop" music from the same kind of generalisation that I'm objecting to now.

Why?

For the same reason that we sometimes staunchly defend the classical that we love, or the right of people to love the classical we hate. Because music - not just classical - is important to us, and "pop" and "prog" and "alt" etc are or have been important to us as we grew up or are growing up.

So, don't be surprised if we get as prickly about pop as we do about Chopin, Cherubini or Carter.
 
541 - 560 of 641 Posts
Top