In Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. “postcard ballads”, that is, poems printed on paper with notes in the upper part of the sheet, became very popular. These were already the first steps of show business, mass distribution of music.
Folk music spreads as if by itself: someone hears a song, remembers it and sings, then someone else hears a singer and remembers, etc. This is an uncontrolled process. But the copying of sheet music is already an attempt at conscious, controlled distribution of music.
Today’s pop music belongs to an entire industry – a multitude of production structures through which a musical idea passes to become a concrete product and be sold to millions of people. And “postcard ballads” were the beginning of the formation of this complex system.
In 1650, in London, the collection “Teacher of Dances” compiled by John Playford (1623-1686) was published, in which the notes of various country dance tunes of England were collected, provided with explanations for dance figures and movements. Playford and his friends traveled a lot around the country and collected folklore. The collection proved to be very popular, and many others followed it.
The effectiveness of folk melodies, the accuracy of the ballad form, proven over the centuries, attracted the attention of serious composers. Yes, it was “The Dance Teacher” that formed the basis of “The Beggar’s Opera”, one of the early works of the so-called ballad opera. Composer John Pepusha (1667-1752) and playwright John Gay (1685-1732) presented their work to the London public at the end of January 1728. The success was so great that it threatened the popularity of HF Handel, whose operas dominated the English stage at the time.
From the end of the 18th century. amateur music-making is widespread and, as one of its main instruments, the piano. Good pianos were not cheap, but inexpensive unpretentious models were also sold. It is important that music making itself became very popular. Piano pieces, simple and sentimental, which were not difficult for anyone to learn, are in vogue. These plays were richly decorated with various simple but effective musical techniques, which made them extremely sophisticated at first glance. Similar techniques are used by modern popular music.
The well-to-do public of Europe was entertained by salon music. A special genre of salon ballad appeared, which was a simplified imitation of opera art.
For poor people, one of the few entertainments was the accordion, invented at the end of the 18th century. in Switzerland.
The bagpipe could play one or more popular tunes, and wandering bagpipe players performed a variety of songs, from satirical verses to sad ballads.
The number of music publishing houses that produced sheet music and books grew. By the end of the 19th century multimillion copies of sheet music were no longer something strange.
Collections of folk songs continue to be published: collections of minstrel songs, and such major publications as Collections of National English Melodies and Popular Music of Our Antiquity.
From the middle of the 19th century. the active growth of the popular music industry and the entertainment industry as a whole begins. Sheet music and collections are becoming more affordable, and the number of places to listen to popular music is growing rapidly. In Europe and the USA, there are so-called amusement parks, in which various kinds of performances are constantly given and music is played. In England, the first such park, “Vauxhall”, was founded back in 1660. The nature of the music performed in amusement parks, for example in the famous Copenhagen “Tivoli”, opened in 1840, was exclusively entertaining. The repertoire of the parks consisted of humorous songs, comic numbers, folk ballads.
Popular music (eng. ror music, short for popular music – popular, publicly available music) is a concept that covers various styles, genres and directions of mass music making. The phenomenon of pop music was formed primarily in the English-speaking countries of the West as a phenomenon of youth culture.
Instrumental resources of pop music are limited, as a rule, to electric guitars and percussion instruments with occasional use of saxophones and other, in particular, exotic instruments. Electronic equipment is of great importance for modern pop music. Melodies, as a rule, are simple, rhythmic, and easy to remember.
The vocal style of pop music is characterized by a melodic and emotional manner of performance, the use of an “open” sound, an approach to speech by singing, demonstratively “unplaced” voices, unnatural tessitura, with extensive use of ecstatic exclamations, moans, howls and other effects.
Modern forms of pop music are widespread all over the world, but the complexity of its evaluation as a cultural phenomenon is due to the ambiguity of aesthetic evaluation and social role.
Modern pop music was formed in parallel with other genres, such as rock music, and was not always separate from them. In the 1970s and 1980s, its most typical form was the so-called “traditional music” (traditional pop), which in the USSR was called “pop music”, “pop”. The traditional non is performed by a singer-soloist with background accompaniment. In the USA pop was closely connected with jazz (Frank Sinatra), in France – with chanson. Similar performers are also popular in the USSR – Mykhailo Utyosov, Klavdia Shulzhenko, Mark Bernes, Volodymyr Troshin. A significant part of the pop music scene in the United States is made up of black artists in the soul genre.
A real breakthrough in pop music was the appearance in the 1970s of the “disco” (Eurodisco) style and such groups as ABBA, Boney M, Dschinghis Khan, Bee Gees. From now on, pop music replaces rock and roll as the main dance music at discotheques, and since then dance music is one of the main trends in pop music.
Thanks to the advent of music television (in particular, the MTV channel), the culture of video clips was formed in the 1980s. At this time, such stars as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Whitney Houston appear in the USA. Pop music during this period was influenced by hip-hop, soul, rhythm and blues. In the 1990s and 2000s, electronic dance music was added to this. Since 2009, such stars as Noemi have appeared in Italy.
The criteria for the popularity of pop music are determined by two factors.
One of them is international festivals and competitions that identify the “best”. The Grammy Award is considered the most prestigious pop music competition. Pop music is also represented at the annual Eurovision Song Contest, which is somewhat politicized due to the way votes are counted by country.
Another way is related to statistical data, in particular, counting the number of CDs sold, the popularity of songs on radio stations and in sales made via the Internet. Lists similar to the largest national music list in the world – Billboard Hot 100 (USA) are compiled based on statistical data. For example, in Great Britain it is the UK Singles Chart and the UK Albums Chart at the same time.
Advertising plays an important role in the promotion of this or that pop group. Already in the early 1940s, advertising appeared on the radio, then on television, and is now used on the Internet. The mobile phone has become a new medium and advertising tool.