Sick of the noise of commercial radio? Find the likes of LMFAO and Lady Gaga boring? Well now there’s some hardline proof to back up your musical preferences.
While one scientific study earlier this year suggested that pop music was getting sadder and slower, new research has found that pop is becoming steadily louder and blander in the last half-century.
Reuters reports that after analysing an extensive archive of music called the ‘Million Song Dataset’, a Spanish team has analysed popular music between 19550 and 2010 – applying mathematic algorithms and analysis to deem that pop songs have become “intrinsically louder” and less diverse in its musical content.
Joan Serra of the Spanish National Research Council, explained their findings found music’s general volume increasing and the use of chords and melodies becoming increasingly similar. “We found evidence of a progressive homogenisation of the musical discourse,” explains Serra. “In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations – roughly speaking chords plus melodies – has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.”
Published in the Scientific Reports journal, Serra and his team’s study also writes that pop music’s “timbre palette” has become less extensive, meaning that songs are featuring fewer and fewer different sounds.
As for the ‘noisiness’ of contemporary pop music, Serra’s team found that over the last 50 years, there had been a trend and advancement in “intrinsic loudness’; a term referring to the intensity at which a song is recorded. Meaning that a song played at the same volume as another can seem noisier if its “intrinsic loudness” value is greater. Not sure we needed a scientific intervention to tell us that, but at least now we have a fancy term for our dinner party arguments (you have dinner party arguments right?).
It’s the latest findings in a year that’s already told us that men are feeling flabby and insecure about their body image after watching music videos, and that our intrinsic love for rock music is because it reminds of the sounds of animals in distress.
Science: making things weirder since forever.Write a Letter to the Editor