How Are Pop And Rock Music Different From Classical Music?Posted by Mike Schuck
The term “pop” music typically refers to songs with catchy melodies and lyrics that are easy to sing along to, whereas classical music is usually considered to be more profound or sophisticated than other types of music.
However, this distinction between pop and classic music isn’t very clear-cut. Technically speaking, any type of song can contain cleverly written lyrics and/or infectious melody lines, which make them hard to listen to for longer periods of time.
Furthermore, some people refer to anything with a heavy beat as either rock or drum and bass as ‘electronic music’, which makes it difficult to clearly define what constitutes as pure pop versus pure instrumental music.
Classical music is more intellectual
While some people may still refer to pop or rock as “pop music”, it is very difficult to define what makes up that genre. Many theorists now consider any music with lyrics to be part of the popular culture spectrum. This includes songs like Adele’s Hello, Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and Beyoncé’s Single Breeder!
By this definition, all types of music are considered to have lyrics, making the term meaningless. More specifically, every song with words and an underlying melody is categorized under the label ‘popular music’.
This means that classical music does not have a defining characteristic beyond having an intelligent audience. If you take away the lyrics, there is nothing special about the music anymore. Artists such as Mozart and Beethoven did not write catchy tunes or flashy rhythms, so they do not fit into this category.
However, one thing nearly everyone agrees upon about classical music is that it should make listeners feel good. The melodies should appeal to the mind, and the sounds should leave your ears feeling relaxed. This effect can last for hours, which is why many musicians devote their careers to creating pieces in this style.
Classical music is more emotional
Many people compare pop and rock songs to classical pieces because both can be categorized as “emotional” music. This perception comes from the fact that many melodies in popular song lyrics are clearly emotive, such as those for songs like “Baby I Love You” or “Happy Birthday.”
However, this view of music as an expression of emotion is only partially correct. While some pieces do contain strong emotions, most classical music is not necessarily an expression of any feeling at all!
Classical musicians often use abstract concepts when composing their music, which makes it hard for outsiders to associate the piece with anything specific. For example, famous composers such as Johannes Brahms wrote beautiful instrumental works that have no clear theme or melody.
This tendency towards abstraction is one reason why many consider Mozart to be much simpler than Bach. Because there is nothing explicit about his music, it is harder to connect his style with that of others who write similar music. This effect goes both ways, however; while Bach’s music may be easier to identify due to its complexity, many think he was too complicated for what we mean by simple.
Music that contains catchy tunes is attractive, but not every piece worth listening to will make you feel something. That is totally fine! Some people believe that having little emotion during your day makes for a happier person, so if you cannot relate to a particular piece, try listening to it alone.
Classical music is more rhythmic
Rhythms are an integral part of classical music. Whether it’s a rhythm instrument like the piano or violin, or a piece with a steady pulse, there are always rhythms in classical music.
Rhythm comes from events that happen as time passes, but some people may not know how to use their own internal clock to find these beats.
This article will talk about some types of music and the ways they contain rhythms. Then, we’ll discuss some easy ways to identify and create your own rhythms.
Classical music is more harmonious
There are two main components of classical music that make it so harmoniously pleasing to listen to. One is harmony, or the placement of notes in relation to each other and their sequence.
The second component is rhythm, which is the steady flow of notes. Both of these elements combine together to form a complete picture of what your ears are listening to. These two ingredients can be mixed up, replaced, or added onto at will. This gives you an incredible amount of freedom as a listener!
Music that has both strong harmonic and rhythmic structure is considered consonant or “well-formed”. Consonance makes the ear feel relaxed and balanced, like nothing too jarring is happening. A lot of popular music doesn't have much of either one, making it less stable than classical.
Classical music is more elaborate
While both genres feature songs, classical music does not have what we refer to as a song structure. That means there are no verses or instrumental breaks within a piece of music.
Instead, every part of a classical composition is considered a passage or theme. These passages are connected by thematic links which sometimes continue for minutes at a time before breaking off into another longer section.
These connections and breaks inspire musical ideas and responses from listeners. This effect is called transposition – depending on how you play a piece, it can feel new and interesting.
There are many theories about why this is. One theory suggests that since classical pieces often use repetition, patterns, or motifs, musicians respond to the work in different ways due to their own personal experiences with these concepts.
Another idea is that listening to very long stretches of music gives people inspiration for creating new things. The mind becomes relaxed and open while listening, making other creative thoughts possible.
Classical music is less popular
Although there are some similarities, most people agree that classical music is not as popular as other types of music. This is due to two main reasons.
One, it is very difficult to learn how to play classical music. It takes years to be accepted into the field if you are not already trained in music theory or performance. Even then, professional musicians are few and far between!
Two, classical music does not contain many catchy melodies or rhythm patterns. If it does, it is usually considered “special” and unique rather than enjoyable to listen to.
Some experts believe that these factors make it harder for classical music to become more popular.
Popular music is more adventurous
In popular music, you will find songs that blend many different styles together under one umbrella. Songs with lyrics about love are typically characterized by strong emotional vocals and romantic melodies. Dance-focused tracks with heavy bass lines and catchy rhythms are another type of song that comes up in popular music.
Music genres such as hip hop or funk use rhythm and blues elements to achieve their groove. Many people associate these types of sounds with being fun, which is why they have become synonymous with music that makes you dance!
In fact, some say that pop and rock music was what made other musical forms emerge.
Popular music is more experimental
There are always new sounds to learn from popular music, it’s never too familiar. Even songs that seem very similar have slight differences in their lyrics or melodies, which add flavor and nuance to the song.
Many people compare pop music to classical music because they both use instruments and feature elaborate compositions. This similarity has influenced many aspiring musicians to focus only on one genre or the other!
However, this perception of popular music as soft and unobtrusive is outdated. Some of the most well-known pieces were considered overly bombastic and loud even when they were first written.
Music with catchy rhythms and luscious tones is still admired by some artists today, and these types of songs continue to be successful.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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