The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Scientists: Pop Is Too Loud & Boring
Laurie Tuffrey , July 26th, 2012 10:09

Generations of parents sadly proved right, according to new research

Add your comment »

Scientists have found that modern pop music is intrinsically louder and "does all sound the same", report Reuters.

Research boffins at the Spanish National Research Council used the Million Song Dataset, a massive archive containing the audio and lyrical content of pop songs from 1955 to 2010, to analyse various musical elements including chord progressions and timbre.

Their report, which is published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that chords and melodies have become simpler and the “timbre palette” had narrowed.

Worryingly, they also found that by taking an old song and simply increasing the volume at which it is recorded and by making the chord progression less complex, it could instantly sound more contemporary.

As the Quietus has previously reported, in Daniel Barrow’s excellent article ‘A Plague Of Soars’, ubiquitous modern compositional techniques have made pop music more uniform.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.

Jul 26, 2012 2:28pm

Hmmm. You don't need a computer to tell you this. Very sad. It's happening in film music too. Compare the musical language of Hanz Zimmer et al to the likes of Bernard Herrman, Jerry Goldsmith or John Williams. Everything is simplified so it is replicable and can be produced quickly, on mass. There must be lots of talented pop and film score composers out there without jobs...

Reply to this Admin

Jul 26, 2012 2:31pm

'Research boffins'

What is this The Sun?

Reply to this Admin

Jul 26, 2012 3:29pm

In reply to jamboree:

I agree. Better journalism please!
But yes pop had become simpler and louder and duller.

Reply to this Admin

Jul 26, 2012 11:59pm

In reply to Nick:

very true- it's not all bad though: Dario Marianelli is an excellent film composer and right in the mainstream...

Reply to this Admin