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Survey Says Modern Music Sounds the Same – Your Favorite Decade in Music [POLL]

Flikr user jonrawlinson
Flikr user jonrawlinson

Fact is, throughout time, parents have complained to their kids that “your music ________!” (Fill in the blank). “Not like it was in our day….!”

That statement might be truer today than at any other time previous.

For instance, as a former disc jockey, I’ve played loads of different styles of music on the radio…from country, to top 40, to disco, to soul, back to top 40, to dance, eventually to country…and then to oldies.

As the years have gone by, it’s gotten harder and harder for me to pick our individual artists and specific styles of music.

It’s as though originality is not a prized commodity anymore…and formula is the key.

This is borne out by this study which suggests:

….. that today’s hits really do all sound the same.

The study, by Spanish researchers, analyzed an archive known as the Million Song Dataset to discover how the course of music changed between 1955 and 2010.

While loudness has steadily increased since the 1950s, the team found that the variety of chords, melodies and types of sound being used by musicians has become ever smaller.
Joan Serra of the Spanish National Research Council, who led the study published in the Scientific Reports journal, said: “We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse.

“The diversity of transitions between note combinations – roughly speaking chords plus melodies – has consistently diminished in the past 50 years.”

The “timbre” of songs – the number of different tones they include, for example from different instruments – has also become narrower, he added.
The study was the first to conduct a large-scale measurement of “intrinsic loudness”, or the volume a song is recorded at, which determines how loud it will sound compared with other songs at a particular setting on an amplifier.

It appeared to support long-standing claims that the music industry is engaged in a “loudness war” in which volumes are gradually being increased.

Although older songs may be more varied and rich, the researchers advised that they could be made to sound more “fashionable and groundbreaking” if they were re-recorded and made blander and louder.

Sad commentary, isn’t it.

Homogenization seems to be the buzzword today.

Everything sounds the same.

Just look at the acts that are chosen as the winners on American Idol….assuming you still watch.

Is there anyone who stands out among all the past winners that you can say has developed a style all their own.

Outside of Carrie Underwood, and even that’s a stretch…nobody strikes me as being “original”.
But look back a few decades, and you’d probably find more originality…more variety; and something for everyone.


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