New Music Genres

What do people mean by New Music Genres?

Webster’s second Edition Dictionary of the English Language defines genre as; “one of the categories, based on form, style, or subject matter, into which artistic works of all kinds can be divided.” So this article is a fair attempt to look at some new music genres. Now I have often had fun with the term ‘new music,’ because there has always been new music in every day and age. But what people are often getting at is music that is new and different in some way than what went before and whereas every good composer was new and different than what went before to some degree, one can step back and take a really broad look. Music historians have done this, of course, and they divided western music into four main periods; there is the Baroque, which is the really early music of the sixteen hundreds, the Classical (Mozart and Beethoven and all that crew), the Romantic (Liszt and Tchaikovsky et al.,) and finally the Modern Period. The Modern Period begins in the nineteen hundreds and hence the other reason I have fun with the term ‘Modern Music;’ because it’s now quite old.

 Why is it Modern Music?

If you examine the first three periods of music, you will find definite stylistic differences between the three periods, which I will not go into now. The underlying similarity between these three periods is that they get a heck of a lot of milage from what are known as the three Primary Chords. So after a hundred years or so, some composers were really tired of these three Primary Chords. These three Primary Chords are responsible for creating what is known as tonality in music. So some of these modern music composers decided they would do away with tonality and Atonal music was born in genres such as Serial Music or Twelve Tone Music. Other composers used mathematical formulas to make their music and some devised ways of creating music by chance such as throwing dice; called Chance Music (go figure.) Ironically, pop music fits into the Modern Music and we find that, to this day, the Primary Chords are back with a vengeance, only they are now called the Blues Chords. (Seriously. I’m not making this up, honest.) Well, getting tired of the Primary Chords is kind of like getting tired of the primary colors. Curious that the Atonal music was commonly viewed as an evolution of the first three periods of music or ‘serious’ music, as it is known and pop music was something else with unknown origins even though it studiously made use of the three Primary Chords of the early periods of music. There was another genre or two in the ‘serious’ music; Minimalism, but they have now flat out run out of labels. Same with pop music; from Jazz onward the basic musical practice has remained the same and now they have just run out of labels. The ultimate irony is that the two most similar periods of music, as far as musical practice goes, are Jazz and the Baroque. (It’s fashion, beeb, beep!)

Well I hope you enjoyed this little summary of new music genres. I tried to be as honest and forthright about as I could. Obviously genres help to create an identity, which is useful in marketing but it does slow things down and create a lot of confusion as well.

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