Pop

Pop music (a term that originally derives from an abbreviation of “popular”) is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented towards a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes. Pop music has absorbed influences from most other forms of popular music, but as a genre is particularly associated with the rock and roll and later rock style.

Throughout its development, pop music has absorbed influences from most other genres of popular music. Early pop music drew on the sentimental ballad for its form, gained its use of vocal harmonies from gospel and soul music, instrumentation from jazz, country, and rock music, orchestration from classical music, tempo from dance music, backing from electronic music, rhythmic elements from hip-hop music, and has recently appropriated spoken passages from rap.[3]

It has also made use of technological innovation. In the 1940s improved microphone design allowed a more intimate singing style[12] and ten or twenty years later inexpensive and more durable 45 r.p.m. records for singles “revolutionized the manner in which pop has been disseminated” and helped to move pop music to ‘a record/radio/film star system’.[12] Another technological change was the widespread availability of television in the 1950s; with televised performances, “pop stars had to have a visual presence”.[12] In the 1960s, the introduction of inexpensive, portable transistor radios meant that teenagers could listen to music outside of the home.[12] Multi-track recording (from the 1960s); and digital sampling (from the 1980s) have also been utilized as methods for the creation and elaboration of pop music.[3] By the early 1980s, the promotion of pop music had been greatly affected by the rise of Music Television channels like MTV, which “favoured those artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince who had a strong visual appeal”.

Pop music has been dominated by the American and (from the mid-1960s) British music industries, whose influence has made pop music something of an international monoculture, but most regions and countries have their own form of pop music, sometimes producing local versions of wider trends, and lending them local characteristics.[13] Some of these trends (for example Europop) have had a significant impact of the development of the genre.

According to Grove Music Online, “Western-derived pop styles, whether coexisting with or marginalizing distinctively local genres, have spread throughout the world and have come to constitute stylistic common denominators in global commercial music cultures”. Some non-Western countries, such as Japan, have developed a thriving pop music industry, most of which is devoted to Western-style pop, has for several years has produced a greater quantity of music of everywhere except the USA. The spread of Western-style pop music has been interpreted variously as representing processes of Americanization, homogenization, modernization, creative appropriation, cultural imperialism, and/or a more general process of globalization.

  • Bryan Adams
  • Michael Jackson
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