Pop music is hard to pin down. On its surface, the term “pop” just means popular music. But many genres produce popular tracks. Pop is something more.
Hard to Pin Down
Pop music is it’s own category. The term was first coined around 1926 and meant a song had “popular appeal.” By the 1950s and 1960s, Pop and Rock meant basically the same thing. Then, in the late 60s, we see the two genres break off from each other and take on unique identities.
What Makes Pop Music… Pop?
Pop certainly changes over time. In different eras, pop artists have infused their music with elements from other genres or music traditions, often popularizing music styles from around the world. But Pop Music has some consistent elements. For example, Pop typically follows a verse-and-chorus structure. Also, it usually features at least one charismatic vocalist. For an example, look no further than the Queen of Pop, Madonna. Pop often repeats musical elements like the hook or the melody.
The Heartbeat of Pop Culture
Pop is also mainstream for its time.That doesn’t mean pop doesn’t progress or push boundaries. It does. But, when we look at Pop Music from a certain era, we recognize the sound. We can place it in time. It’s the heartbeat of current pop culture.
Pop Music vs. Rock
So what separates Pop from Rock? Well, Rock Music usually has an edge to it. And Pop is usually softer with more mass-appeal.