Published Jul 26, 2012Think that all modern pop music sounds the same? You have science on your side. According to researchers in Spain, pop songs today have less melodic diversity and a smaller range of sounds than in the past.
As Reuters reports, the researchers analyzed songs released between 1955 and 2010 using the freely available Million Song Dataset. They looked at the songs' measurable data and found that some significant changes have taken place over time.
"We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse," Joan Serra from the Spanish National Research Council told Reuters. "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."
What's more, the timbre palette has become more limited. This measures the variety of sounds and instruments being used.
And in news that will surprise no one, the researchers also found that pop music's intrinsic loudness has increased. This means that new songs sound louder than old ones that are being listened to at the same volume setting on a playback device. In recent years, mastering engineers' attempts to raise the volume of songs has been frequently criticized by audiophiles.
The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.