Popular music is any commercially oriented music primarily intended to be received and enjoyed by a large audience, usually in literate, technologically advanced societies where urban culture predominates. Unlike traditional folk music, popular music is composed by well-known individuals, usually performers, and is not developed through oral transmission.
From the songs of medieval minstrels and troubadours to elements of art music that were originally intended for a limited elite audience but became widely popular, popular music was historically any non-folk genre that gained mass popularity. True folk music began to fade after the Industrial Revolution. The popular music of the Victorian period and early 20th century was the music hall and vaudeville, with waltz music and operettas dominating the upper echelons. Minstrel shows in the United States performed the works of songwriters such as Stephen Foster. Tin Pan Alley became the first successful song publishing industry in the 1890s, and its text was combined with European operetta in a new type of play known as the music for the next half-century. African Americans began to blend complex African rhythms with European harmonic structures in the 1890s with ragtime, a fusion that would eventually lead to jazz.
Audiences for music
Due to technological advances, the number of people listening to music has increased dramatically. By 1930, gramophone records had replaced sheet music as the primary music source in the home. The microphone made it possible to commercialize more unique singing techniques. Radio’s reach in rural communities helped spread new styles, especially country music. In the decades after the Second World War, American popular music dominated the world.
By the 1950s, the migration of African Americans to northern cities had culminated in the cross-fertilization of blues components with the tempo rhythms of jazz, resulting in rhythm and blues. Popularized by Elvis Presley, rock and roll quickly evolved into a blend of rhythm and blues, country music, and other influences (see rock music). British rock groups, such as the Beatles, became internationally influential and successful in the 1960s. Rock and soul music (especially the sophisticated yet hook-laden variety of the latter, named after the company that invented it, Motown) quickly caught the attention of Western teenagers. It gradually became the global soundtrack for young people. Rock and its derivatives, such as disco, heavy metal, funk, punk, hip-hop, and increasingly pop-oriented world music, have dominated pop into the twenty-first century.
Music that is popular today
Popular music can refer to various music styles with “broad appeal” usually marketed to large audiences by the music industry. In contrast, art and folk music are traditionally disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local audiences. The term was first applied to the music of America’s Tin Pan Alley era in the 1880s. Even though mainstream music is often referred to as “pop music,” the two terms are not synonymous. Pop music usually refers to a particular genre of music, while mainstream music is a general term for music of all ages that appeals to popular taste.
Ricky Skaggs, real name Rickie Lee Skaggs, is an American mandolin and fiddle virtuoso, musician, and music producer who helped pioneer the New Traditionalist movement in the 1980s by adopting the instruments and historically conscious sensibilities of bluegrass music to mainstream country music. He was born on July 18, 1954, in Cordell, Kentucky.
Skaggs was a child prodigy on the mandolin, and by the age of seven, he had already played on stage with Bill Monroe, performed on the Grand Ole Opry, and appeared on the TV show of bluegrass legends (Lester) Flatt & (Earl ) Scruggs. He had also mastered the guitar and fiddle in just a few more years. Skaggs’ musical career began in 1970 when he and his singing partner Keith Whitley formed another bluegrass pioneer, Ralph Stanley’s, band as teenagers.