[Smt-talk] Pop Music And Theory

Isaac Malitz imalitz at omsmodel.com
Fri Dec 12 08:39:31 PST 2014

So, the big question is: "What should music theory look like for pop music?"

I'll start with a top-level answer to that question:

- For "old music" (i.e. Beethoven, ...) theory has 3 parts at the 
top-level: The COMPOSER point-of-view, the PERFORMER point-of-view, the 

- For a large amount of successful pop music, COMPOSER+PERFORMER seem to 
be merged. We might call it the PRODUCER or CREATOR point-of-view.  As 
Nancy Garniez and Carson have recently alluded, the PRODUCER (which may 
be one person, or a team, formal, informal, ...) creates or brings-about 
a musical performance using many ingredients. Some of the ingredients 
involve structure and form, others involve "effects", and so on.

On 12/11/2014 8:29 AM, Victor grauer wrote:
> --------------------------------------------
> On Wed, 12/10/14, CARSON FARLEY wrote:
> "The essence of Pop music is that it is free of all rules and not concerned with structure in the same way that classical music/art is."
>   I completely disagree. According to my research, pop music is in fact highly constrained. As you say, the musicians themselves are usually not consciously aware of the constraints -- but the same could be said for many "classical" composers as well. Certain fundamental structural and stylistic elements have been passed on as taken-for-granted traditions. But that does not make popular music free of all rules, not at all.
> For some insights into how pop music operates within very rigid constraints dating, very possibly, from the 16th century, see my book "The Life and Times of a Musical Virus: A Critical History of the Rhythm Section" --
>   http://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-Musical-Virus-Critical-ebook/dp/B00LH0GKJC
> Victor Grauer
> Pittsburgh, PA
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