Popular Music

Popular music is any commercially oriented music intended primarily to be received and enjoyed by a large audience, usually in literate, technologically advanced societies where urban culture predominates. Unlike traditional folk music, popular music is composed by well-known individuals, usually performers, and does not develop through oral transmission.

From the songs of medieval minstrels and troubadours to elements of art music originally intended for a limited elite audience but becoming widely common, popular music was historically any non-folk genre that gained mass popularity. True folk music began to fade after the Industrial Revolution, and the popular music of the Victorian period and early 20th century was that of the music hall and vaudeville, with waltz music and operettas dominating the upper reaches. Minstrel shows in the United States performed the works of songwriters such as Stephen Foster. Tin Pan Alley became the first successful song publishing industry in the 1890s, and its text was combined with European operetta in a new type of play known as the musical for the next half century. African Americans began blending complex African rhythms with European harmonic structures in the 1890s with ragtime, a fusion that would ultimately lead to jazz.

Audience for music

Due to technological advances, the number of people listening to music. By 1930 sheet music had been replaced as the primary source of music in the home by gramophone records. The microphone made it possible to commercialize more personal vocal techniques. Radio’s ability to reach rural communities helped spread new styles, especially country music. In the decades after World War II, American popular music dominated the world.

By the 1950s, the migration of African Americans to northern cities had culminated in the cross-fertilization of blues components with the up-tempo rhythms of jazz, resulting in rhythm and blues. Popularized by Elvis Presley, rock and roll quickly evolved into a mix of rhythm and blues, country music, and other influences (see rock music). British rock groups, such as the Beatles, became internationally influential and successful in the 1960s. Rock and soul music (especially the sophisticated yet hook-laced variety of the latter, named after the company that invented it, Motown), quickly caught the attention of Western teenagers and gradually became the global youth soundtrack. Rock and its derivatives, such as disco, heavy metal, funk, punk, hip-hop and increasingly pop-oriented world music, have dominated pop into the twenty-first century.

Music that is popular today

Popular music can refer to various musical styles with “broad appeal” that are usually marketed to large audiences by the music industry. On the other hand, art and folk music are traditionally spread academically or orally to smaller, local audiences. The term was first applied to music from America’s Tin Pan Alley era in the 1880s. Although mainstream music is often called “pop music”, the two words are not synonymous. Pop music usually refers to a particular genre of music, while mainstream music is a general term for music of all ages that appeals to popular tastes.