VII. Popular Music

This section introduces students to the important harmonic, rhythmic, and formal schemas that pervade English-language pop music after 1950. Most of the examples are drawn from Top 40 pop, but many other genres such as hip hop and indie are also represented.

Prerequisites

This section assumes a familiarity with the topics covered in Fundamentals.

Organization

This section begins with Rhythm and Meter, one of the musical domains that defines pop music as a genre most clearly.

The next few chapters discuss form in pop music, from a small scale (Melody and phrasing) to a larger scale (Introduction to Form in Popular Music, AABA form and strophic form, Verse-chorus form). These chapters are best taught sequentially.

The next several chapters take a schematic approach to understanding harmonies in popular music, beginning with an Introduction to Harmonic Schemas in Pop Music. Instructors can cover as many or as few of these schemas as they like.

The final chapters zoom out and provide a broader view of tonality in popular music through two important phenomena: the Melodic-harmonic divorce and Fragile, Absent, and Emergent Tonics

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

OPEN MUSIC THEORY by Mark Gotham; Kyle Gullings; Chelsey Hamm; Bryn Hughes; Brian Jarvis; Megan Lavengood; and John Peterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book