Music isn’t changing…

It’s just being explored… and much like the Earth, there isn’t much left to explore. After the work of the mid to late 20th century, nearly all harmonic combinations were pretty much exhausted. Then came the rhythmic exploration. What’s left?

There are still composers across all genres doing great innovative things. What we see becoming popular across most genres, however, is pretty much just old ideas with some new orchestration slapped on and no innovation at all.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to return to old ideas. In the evolution of Rock we see a direct development from the blues, then an infusion of folk, classical orchestration, back to the blues, etc… and this is just in the first 10 or so years. This is how music has always evolved and become something new. But, as I said above, all we see now is the plunder of old ideas.

Although there isn’t much new coming from most of the “popular” artists, this isn’t an accurate reflection of the human spirit. Rather, it’s the result of an industry that’s in panic about losing everything because all of their old models have been destroyed by new technology. They’re only concerned now with pumping out a hit song that will make at least a million bucks.

And the artists they’ve chosen to work with are either pretty and pliable people, or diligent researchers of what has made songs hits in the past. They either smile and sing whatever is handed to them or dissect old hits, extracting the elements they need to construct a new one. Facade, sterile and surgical… no art allowed.

If you look deeply past all of this, all the fireworks that explode once, blinding you for a while, but then disappearing forever, you find the underground. The fertile ground where new ideas actually take shape.

Sites like Made Loud help you to navigate this new and vast terrain. There are others. Just search indie or underground or DIY and the genre of music you love the most. Unfortunately, as powerful as the internet is, there is so much garbage to wade through but there’s also a lot of gold buried there! You’ll find it well worth it in the end!

4 responses to “Music isn’t changing…

  1. This is a pretty excellent little blurb, and speaks well to my feelings about the unfortunate lack of innovation in the music industry. People refuse to accept anything “strange,” but it’s actually the artists who dare to be different that actually push discovery forward. I do believe there isn’t much more to be discovered as far as the science of music and what sounds we can create, but as long as there are amazing people to put their own unique spins on the basic genres, music will be alive and well. Now if only we could get Top 40 to go away…

    • When have people ever accepted anything strange? People hated it when they added the fifth above the tune in plainsong, Bach only ever had one piece published in his lifetime and was pretty much ignored for 100 years, and the rite of spring didnt excatly go down too well…

      And as for ‘ I do believe there isn’t much more to be discovered as far as the science of music and what sounds we can create’, this is obviously not true. Think of what technology is starting to let us do!

      This is only the start…

  2. There is so much left to explore! Music is just an application of math and numbers (and there are plenty of those!). You say that harmonic and rhythmic exploration have been exhausted; whether this is the case or not is unimportant, they are just 2 small areas that make up music. Western music’s dependency on harmony has been great, but by utilising harmony to the heights it has been has had a detrimental effect as well. lots of ears and people think that harmony is more important than it actually is, to the point where other musics (like popular music) have been written off by musicians who point out the simple harmony and say its rubbish becuase it only uses 4 chords.

    This is rubbish, it is like saying Scheonberg is rubbish becuase he doesnt have very good melodies. Popular music of nowadays is not interested in complex harmonic progressions, simply becuase it doesnt need to be. What makes popular music a form of art is the ability to create really great melodies that are extremely catchy, to use technology in an extremely complex and musical way, and to make lots of money.

    Make lots of money. Yes, this is art. Why is popular music derided becuase it is self-financing? Maybe it’s a fault of other forms of music that it doesnt support its self. It is increddddibly hard to make an amazing ‘pop’ song that makes a hefty buck, it takes an awful lot of skill, talent and energy to right a hit. Forget the singer or band, they’re just a front (like the orchestra; they have little to none creative input), but instead admire and respect the gifted song writers and producers that are doing some great stuff.

    What’s wrong with writing music to make money? Beethoven did it, and he’s alright…

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making money with your art. I do think there’s something wrong with compromising your art to make money… unless, of course, money is your first priority. And I think there’s a lot of great pop out there and I love Schoenberg and Beethoven. This piece was a commentary on what I see happening predominantly in the pop industry. A sacrifice of art for money.

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