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Popular Music Genres

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A group of singers and musicians

Started a long time ago, the phenomenon called 'music' continues today. But what exactly is it? Why is it so popular? And why to people spend ghastly amounts of money to go to hot, stuffy, concerts with poor sound and weird strangers pressed up against every part of their person.

What is that Awful Noise?

Music is different sound waves that have harmonised through whatever medium they are passing - usually the air. The different sound waves are produced by the instruments, and they mix into what we call 'music'.

If that is what music was, banging randomly on pots and blowing through a kazoo would be considered music. But one thing, what really constitutes 'music' is when the sound waves are on the same frequency, and they mix in one sound that is pleasing to the ear. This 'same frequency' effect is usually achieved by tuning instruments (thus changing their pitch, and sometimes frequency).

Types of Music

Humans love to catagorise and music is one of those things that is massively organised, catagorised, and catalogued. Music with a lot of drums and guitars is usually called 'rock'. Music with an overbearing drums and guitars and loud vocals is usually referred to as 'heavy metal'. 'Rock' with trumpets, trombones, and other types of horns is called 'ska'. There is a type of music that border lines ska and rock, it is called contemporary.

Watching what type of music is popular is a fun pastime. For decades, rock was what music was all about. Then ska became very big, with bands like Five Iron Frenzy and the Insyders making ska popular with their rock/ska/heavy metal songs. Contemporary then made a comeback, and slowly pushed ska from the limelight.

Music from past times (usually 16th or 17th Century) is usually catagorised as 'classical' music. Composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart are thought of as the epitome of classical music. An interesting and modern form of classical is called 'classical rock'. This is old classical music that has been 'moderinised', guitars, keyboards, and drums are usually added.

Even though it shouldn't have its own category, disco does. During the '70s, when disco was popular, there were two types of people. The disco-loving people, and the people who proclaimed 'death before disco'. Disco is generally rock, but with a constant, and simple drumbeat. In disco, the lyrics often repeat, and just about every verse is the same as the last. That is definitely true with the choruses.

Why is it Popular?

In the words of Toby McKeenan of the rap/rock group DC Talk, 'music can say things words never could'. Music touches people with the turns of its tunes, the instruments invoke sentimentalism, the lyrics touch people's feelings. Music can be just wacky fun, can have a serious message or could even tell a story. In 'musicals'1 songs are used to forward and enhance the characters and the plots.

Why it Will Remain Popular

As long as people have feelings and enjoy a complex art form, music will continue. It is art, and complex art, but is also very satisfying. Music follows the moods and swings of the present generation, and that is why it will always be around.

1Musicals are movies or plays with lots of songs.

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