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How Music
REALLY Works

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   Reviews
 
 

  

   About the Author,
   Wayne Chase

  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Reviews
 
 

  

   About the Author,
   Wayne Chase

  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Reviews
 
 

  

   About the Author,
   Wayne Chase

  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


  

  
CHAPTER 2:
What the Popular Music Industry
REALLY Is, and Where It Came From
  
2.3 Your Musical Roots: How the Major Genres Emerged

 
PAGE INDEX

  

2.3.1 “My Music Is Better than Your Music”

2.3.2 Phases of Genre Popularity: Underground, Breakout, Crest, Mainstream

 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~


2.3.1

MY MUSIC IS BETTER THAN YOUR MUSIC


You’ve probably heard comments such as “rap isn’t music” or “electronic music isn’t music.” Similarly, some lovers of jazz ridicule country music. And rock fans sneer at sub-genres of rock that devalue “the true spirit of rock.”


     Mostly, it’s a guy thing.


     If you’re a male, once puberty hits, your hormone-addled brain amplifies the significance of the music you and your peer group identify with. That’s your music all over the radio and TV and the Internet. Other music sucks, compared with your music.


     As discussed in more detail in Chapter 7, the songs you’re listening to during emotionally significant times or events, such as falling in love for the first time at age 13 or so, get burned into your memory. Whether your music happens to be rock, hip-hop, jazz, country, or some emerging genre, the music of your youth eventually becomes your life’s soundtrack, or at least a good part of it.

 

        The life soundtrack of a teen in the first decade of the 21st Century might include the music of Eminem, the White Stripes, Kanye West, or the Dixie Chicks (or any of hundreds of other acts).

 

        In the 1990s ... maybe Nirvana, Jay-Z, or Smashing Pumpkins.

 

        1980s ... Wham!, Madonna, or AC/DC.

 

        1970s ... Bee Gees, Sex Pistols, or David Bowie.

 

        1960s ... The Beatles, Rolling Stones, or Bob Dylan.

 

        1950s ... Nat King Cole, Everly Brothers, or Elvis Presley.

 

        1940s ... Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, or Frank Sinatra.


     Every decade, countless new acts emerge, create new genres, and attract legions of youthful diehard followers. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine published a list of its “50 Greatest Artists of All Time” (i. e., popular musicians and groups).

 

        Who were the judges? Mainly middle-aged male music writers and critics.

 

        What musical acts did they select? Mainly those who were big during the judges’ youth.

 

        What was the breakdown by sex of the acts selected? Of the 50 musicians or groups on the Rolling Stone list, 46 were male.


     Darwin’s theory of sexual selection predicts both the preponderance of male judges and the preponderance of male artists. As people grow up and get married, the music of the present assumes less and less interest and importance, compared with the music of adolescence and young adulthood. For most, by middle age, the music of the present day—“the crappy stuff them young ‘uns are listening to”—sounds weird and definitely inferior to all those “great wonderful songs of my youth.”


     Yet new musical genres that emerge every decade or two, seemingly like clockwork, somehow manage to stick around. Generation after generation.



2.3.2

PHASES OF GENRE POPULARITY: UNDERGROUND, BREAKOUT, CREST, MAINSTREAM


Emerging musical genres go through a characteristic series of phases. The Gold Standard Song List

 (www.GoldStandardSongList.com), if taken as a more or less representative data sample of genre popularity, reveals a genre popularity profile. This profile applies to most musical genres over time (Figure 2 below).




FIGURE 2 Genre Popularity Over Time

 

 




     1. Origins, or “Underground” Phase

 

        Typically, a musical genre begins as an underground movement. This formative phase often lasts many years, even decades.

 

        New genres and sub-genres emerge in several ways. Among them:

 

          -    Musicians from outside a geographical region move in and bring new instruments and new styles of playing, singing, and songwriting to an established local musical tradition.

 

          -    A genius comes along and decides to shake things up (Charlie Parker, Bob Dylan).

 

          -    New technology makes it possible to create new sounds.



     2. Breakout

 

        At some point the genre breaks out as a widely recognized musical phenomenon in popular culture.

 

        The new style attracts the attention of masses of people, including musicians just getting started, musicians working in other genres, music consumers, and music business people.

 

        Suddenly, performers everywhere are playing in the new style. Lots of the new music get recorded and sold. Over a comparatively short period of time, the new genre or sub-genre becomes all the rage.



     3. Crest

 

        Inevitably, within a decade or two, the popularity of the genre crests and starts to subside.

 

        Along the way, it spins off numerous sub-genres.

 

        The original one does not go away.



     4. Mainstream Genre

 

        Instead, with few exceptions, it remains a permanent mainstream genre, co-existing, influencing, and being influenced by, many others. For example, when bluegrass was “invented” in the 1930s and 40s, it did not replace traditional country music. Neither did “new country,” a couple of generations later. When hip-hop and electronic dance music came along, they did not replace mainstream pop or rock.

 

        So many people accept and adopt the elements of the genre that it becomes a cultural infrastructure (more on this a bit later). It settles into the mainstream of popular culture—not as popular as it once was, but permanently accepted and established.

 

        Every so often a long-established mainstream genre experiences a period of renewed popularity ("revival") that may extend for some years.


     The Gold Standard Song List (GSSL), a sample of 5,000 songs over 100 years, provides a visual representation of genre popularity profiles over time (Figure 3):




FIGURE 3  Gold Standard Songs by Genre and Decade




     Today, many young people, while identifying mainly with their music (the music of their youth), like to sample music across genres and eras. On a single iPod you might find the Clash, Beethoven, Aretha Franklin, Eminem, Iggy Pop, Bjork, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash. . . .

 

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You are reading the FREE SAMPLE Chapters 1 through 6 of the acclaimed 12-Chapter book, How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition. Here's what's in Chapters 7 through 12. 

 

To order the book, click here:

  
 

  

 

 

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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