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EncyclopediaPopular Music > Performers
Popular music
Stylistic origins
Cultural origins
Typical instruments
Mainstream popularity By definition, always.
Other topics
Pop rock
A concert of a house band

. This article is about the genre of popular music. ... Traditional Music is a quasi-synonym for folk music. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... A drum kit (or drum set or trap set) is a collection of drums, cymbals and sometimes other percussion instruments, such as a cowbell, wood block, chimes or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single drummer. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... For other uses, see Pop rock (disambiguation). ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (4368 × 2912 pixels, file size: 4. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 533 pixelsFull resolution (4368 × 2912 pixels, file size: 4. ... A house band is a group of musicians, centrally organized by a band leader, that regularly play a venue every night it is open for business and are synonymous with the establishment. ...

Popular music is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and are disseminated by one or more of the mass media. It stands in contrast to art music,[1] which historically was the music of the elite and upper strata of society, and traditional music which was disseminated orally.[2] It is sometimes abbreviated to pop music, although pop music is more often taken as meaning the genre of pop, rather than popular music as a whole. For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up mainstream in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Popular press redirects here; note that the University of Wisconsin Press publishes under the imprint The Popular Press. Mass media is a term used to denote a section of the media specifically envisioned and designed to reach a very large audience such as the population of a nation state. ... This article is about the broad genre of classical music in the Western musical tradition. ... Traditional Music is a quasi-synonym for folk music. ... This article is about the genre of popular music. ...


Definition of popular music

Among scholars in the humanities, a broader range of definitions have been proposed about popular music. Frans Birrer (1985, p. 104) gives four conceptions or definitions of "popular" music: For other uses, see Humanities (disambiguation). ... Look up popularity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

  1. Normative definitions. Popular music is an inferior type.
  2. Negative definitions. Popular music is music that is not something else (usually 'folk' or 'art' music).
  3. Sociological definitions. Popular music is associated with (produced for or by) a particular social group.
  4. Technologico-economic definitions. Popular music is disseminated by mass media and/or in a mass market.

All of these, according to Middleton (1990,p.4) "are interest-bound; none is satisfactory." According to Hall (1978, p.6-7), "The assumption...that you might know before you looked at cultural traditions in general what, at any particular time, was a part of the elite culture or of popular culture is untenable." Thus popular music must be comprehended in relation to the broader musical field (Middleton 1990, p.11).

Bennett (1980, p.153-218) distinguishes between 'primary' and 'secondary' popular culture, the first being mass product and the second being local re-production, discussed further below.

"While repetition is a feature of all music, of any sort, a high level of repetition may be a specific mark of 'the popular', enabling an inclusive rather than exclusive audience." (Middleton 1990, p.139) Look up Repetition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Much popular music is the product of the modern business enterprise disseminated for the purpose of earning a profit. Executives and employees of popular music businesses try to select and cultivate the music that will have the greatest success with the public, and thus maximize the profits of their firm. In this respect, popular music differs from traditional folk music, which was created by ordinary people for their own enjoyment, and from classical music, which was originally created to serve the purposes of the Church or for the entertainment of the nobility. (Today classical music is often subsidized by governments and universities.) Folk song redirects here. ... Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ...

Although the controlling forces of popular music are business enterprises, young people who aspire to become popular musicians are not always driven by the profit motive. Rather, they often want to find an outlet for their sense of expression and creativity, or simply to have fun. Historically, the conflicting motives of business people and musicians have been a source of tension in the popular music industry.

Debate continues about the status of popular music. Some emphasize the commercial motive and suggest the big companies manipulate the audiences and sell them products with no intrinsic value. This is the debate about "authenticity" which rages whenever popular music is discussed. Commercial interests can cause the dilution of music as corporations take over their distribution, and may cause music to move away from the grassroots level of Folk or Blues. Several movements such as punk and Heavy Metal in the 80s, and Indie in the 90s, attempted to ensure this dilution did not occur. Punk rock is an anti-establishment music movement beginning around 1976 (although precursors can be found several years earlier), exemplified and popularised by The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. ... Heavy metals, in chemistry, are chemical elements of a particular range of atomic weights. ... In popular music, indie music (from independent) is any of a number of genres, scenes, subcultures and stylistic and cultural attributes, characterised by perceived independence from commercial pop music and mainstream culture and an autonomous, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. ...

The electric guitar and amplification have had a big impact on modern music. In the 1930s and 40s amplified instruments became necessary to compete with the loud volumes in the Big Swing bands of the era. Gibson introduced the first Gibson Les Paul solid body guitar in 1952. In the 1960s, the tonal palette of the electric guitar was further modified by introducing an effects box in its signal path, the wah-wah pedal. The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the [[. In East Asia, the rise of militarism occurred. ... Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969. ...

Many people play popular music in amateur "garage bands". These amateur groups can be considered a modern equivalent of folk music, which was composed and performed by ordinary people and transmitted by word of mouth. Folk song redirects here. ...


Form in popular music is most often sectional, the most common sections being verse, chorus or refrain, and bridge. See also the discussion of complexity below. The structures or musical forms of songs in popular music are typically sectional forms, such as strophic form. ... The term musical form refers to two related concepts: the type of composition (for example, a musical work can have the form of a symphony, a concerto, or other generic type -- see Multi-movement forms below) the structure of a particular piece (for example, a piece can be written in... The structures or musical forms of songs in popular music are typically sectional forms, such as strophic form. ... A refrain (from the Old French refraindre to repeat, likely from Vulgar Latin refringere) is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the chorus of a song. ... This article is about a bridge section in a piece of popular or classical music. ...


Popular music dates at least as far back as the mid 19th century, and is commonly subdivided into genres. Different genres often appeal to different age groups. These often, but not always, are the people who were young when the music was new. Thus, for instance, Big band music continues to have a following, but it is probably a rather older group, on average, than the audience for rap. For some genres, such as Ragtime music, the original target generation may have died out almost entirely. Popular music dates at least as far back as the mid 19th century. ... A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with playing jazz music and which became popular during the Swing Era from the early 1930s until the late 1940s, although there are many big-bands around nowadays. ... Hip hop music is a style of music which came into existence in the United States during the mid-1970s, and became a large part of modern pop culture during the 1980s. ... Look up ragtime in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

With the increasing social and economic independence of young people, this "generation gap" has grown wider and wider since the second World War. Music hall and other forms before the 1940s were not so clearly marked by generation. From the Depression through the end of the war, Bing Crosby was the highest-selling recording artist in the United States. His fan base had no age division. The average Kraft Music Hall listener was 21 years old. But after Crosby's semi-retirement in 1954, a large generation gap emerged. Elvis Presley became the most popular recording artist among teenagers, while Frank Sinatra was most popular among adults. Harry Lillis “Bing” Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American popular singer and Academy Award-winning actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Elvis redirects here. ... Sinatra redirects here. ...

Classical music and popular music

The relationship between (particularly, the relative value of) classical music and popular music is a controversial question. Some partisans of classical music may claim that classical music constitutes art and popular music only light entertainment. However, many popular works show a high level of artistry and musical innovation and many classical works are unabashedly crowd-pleasing. The elevation of classical music to a position of special value is closely connected to the concept of a Western canon, and to theories of educational perennialism. This article is about the philosophical concept of Art. ... The Western canon is a canon of books and art (and specifically one with very loose boundaries) that has allegedly been highly influential in shaping Western culture. ... Perennialists believe that one should teach the things that they deem to be of everlasting importance to all people everywhere. ...

The very distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in the border regions [3], for instance minimalist music and light classics. In this respect music is like fiction, which likewise draws a distinction between classics and popular fiction that is not always easy to maintain. This article is about a musical style. ... Genre fiction is a term for writings by multiple authors that are very similar in theme and style, especially where these similarities are deliberately pursued by the authors. ...

Neat divisions between 'folk' and 'popular', and 'popular' and 'art', are impossible to find ... arbitrary criteria [are used] to define the complement of 'popular'. 'Art' music, for example, is generally regarded as by nature complex, difficult, demanding; 'popular' music then has to be defined as 'simple', 'accessible', 'facile'. But many pieces commonly thought of as 'art' (Handel's 'Hallelujah Chorus', many Schubert songs, many Verdi arias) have qualities of simplicity; conversely, it is by no means obvious that the Sex Pistols' records were 'accessible', [trashy?] Frank Zappa's work 'simple', [Frank Zappa is considered by many a serious composer] or Billie Holiday's 'facile'." [light?] (Middleton, 1990)

Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, musician, and film director. ...

See also

This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Popular culture (or pop culture) is the widespread cultural elements in any given society that are perpetuated through that societys vernacular language or lingua franca. ... This is an alphabetical list of popular music performers. ...

External links

  • Pop and Rock Argues that Pop and Rock are inferior musical genres.
  • The 1950s-2000's Week-By-Week - Looks at pop music/albums/radio and music news through these decades.
  • Pop Culture Madness Features the most requested pop songs 1920s through today


  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
  • Bennett (1980).
  • Birrer, Frans A. J. (1985). "Definitions and research orientation: do we need a definition of popular music?" in D. Horn, ed., Popular Music Perspectives, 2 (Gothenburge, Exeter, Ottawa and Reggio Emilia), p.99-106.
  • Hall, S. (1978). "Popular culture, politics, and history", in Popular Culture Bulletin, 3, Open University duplicated paper.
  • Everett, Walter (1997). "Swallowed by a Song: Paul Simon's Crisis of Chromaticism", Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-510004-2.
  • Hamm, Charles (1979). Yesterdays: Popular Song in America. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-01257-3.
  • Manuel, Peter (1988). Popular Musics of the Non-Western World: An Introductory Survey. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505342-7.


  1. ^ "Arnold, Denis (1983)
    • "Art Music, Art Song," in The New Oxford Companion Music, Volume 1: A-J, Oxford University Press, p.111. ISBN 0-19-311316-3
    • "Popular music" in The New Oxford Companion to Music, Volume 2: K-Z, Oxford University Press, p.1467. ISBN 0-19-311316-3
  2. ^ Arnold, Denis (1983).
    • " Art Music, Art Song,"idem
    • " Popular music," Ibid vol.2 p.1467 .
  3. ^ Arnold, Denis (1983). " Art Music, Art Song," in The New Oxford Companion to Music, Volume 1: A-J, Oxford University Press, p. P.111, . ISBN 0-19-311316-3
Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Popular Music - MSN Encarta (1603 words)
Popular music is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and are disseminated by one or more of the mass media
The most popular songs in America during the late 18th century, as judged by reported sales of printed music, were written by professional English composers for performance in London parks (known as pleasure gardens) or for performance in English ballad and comic opera.
Soul music, the successor to rhythm-and-blues music, covered a wide range of styles, including the gospel-based performances of Aretha Franklin, the deep funk and virtuosic stage techniques of James Brown, and the soulful crooning of Marvin Gaye.
On popular music: I. The musical material (3772 words)
Serious music, for comparative purposes, may be thus characterized: Every detail derives its musical sense from the concrete totality of the piece which, in turn, consists of the life relationship of the details and never of a mere enforcement of a musical scheme.
Listening to popular music is manipulated not only by its promoters but, as it were by the inherent nature of this music itself, into a system of response mechanisms wholly antagonistic to the ideal of individuality in a free, liberal society.
Popular music, however, is composed in such a way that the process of translation of the unique into the norm is already planned and, to a certain extent, achieved within the composition itself.
  More results at FactBites »



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