What Makes Something Popular?
Over the past few years I’ve become acutely aware of patterns: patterns that people replicate in their lives, patterns in nature, and patterns in music. We live in a world interwoven with patterns so I guess it’s not surprising that they show up in our artistic and musical preferences. But still I wonder, what makes a particular pattern rise to prominence at a particular moment in time? In recent music, I’ve noticed an increased use in the heavy use of a similar sounding electronic synth. Check out the songs below — I tried to link to the exact moment when the artist uses the synth. Three different bands, three different types of music, yet three similar sounds…
I tried to google “patterns in popular music” and I came across this interesting post noting the chord patterns of approximately 1300 popular songs. It’s kind of a long post and I haven’t finished reading it myself, but even some of the comments are interesting! The question of what makes a particular musical sound or device popular at a given moment in time might be something that I explore further in future blog posts.
I’ll leave you with an animated video from a music professor talking about Patterns of Popular Music.