Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Beatles Did Not Revolutionize Music, Study Claims

  It is very difficult to quantify pop music. Whether measuring its successes or its roots, it is difficult to gather and analyze meaningful conclusions. I believe the "If it cannot be measured, it cannot exist" stance transcends art and music among other things. Still, it is interesting to observe the data and speculate till the cows come home. The Beatles are accused with merely following trends and simply making popular what came before them. What made them musical revolutionaries is far overlooked in this study. Yes, many of the styles and ideas they were bringing to the table were already being played in clubs and part of the culture. However, part of their musical genius was hand picking elements from these styles and genres to make something magical the world had never seen. Much like making a new dish from the ingredients in your kitchen, the Beatles used the worlds musical pantry to cook up something spectacular and innovative. It is a shame to downplay the brilliance needed to mash these pre-existing genres and ideas together to create something so wonderful. Still, this article from the Guardian is an interesting read! Research by a group of London academics focuses on musical patterns in the US pop charts from 1960 to 2010, using data analysis to pinpoint the year in which trends appeared in the charts and measure their duration. The studys findings may come as a shock to fans of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, as its authors believe there is no musical evidence to suggest that the British invasion of the early 60s caused a revolution in the US charts at all. Rather, the music style those bands displayed measured by properties such as chord changes and tone was already established in the US charts before they arrived. Beatles did not revolutionise music, study claims | Music | The Guardian They are credited with reviving rock’n’roll, setting the template for modern pop songwriting, and inviting a generation to turn on, tune in and drop out by embracing psychedelia. But a study questions quite how influential the Beatles were – claiming they were merely following musical trends already set in motion. The researchers believe they found evidence of a culture-shaking moment in pop, though – it just happened 30 years later. The emergence of hip-hop, which crash-landed in the charts in 1991, reinvented the musical landscape like nothing before or since, the study claims. Its lead author, Matthias Mauch, from the school of electronic engineering and computer science at Queen Mary University of London, believes the research breaks new ground in the way it measures musical trends. “For the first time we can measure musical properties in recordings on a large scale. We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their makeup, and understanding how they have changed,” he said. The researchers from Queen Mary and Imperial College London enlisted help from music website Last.fm to [...]

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