Pop music has evolved into its own genre, but when it began, it was known as simply whatever popular music was at the time. It could involve many different genres. It’s a melting pot of musical styles, much more than the shallow belief of what people believe pop music is.
Here’s a look at how pop music has evolved over the years and its influence on using particular musical instruments.
Humble Beginnings in the 50s
The age of rock n’ roll got its bearings in the 1950s. Swing, big band, and crooning music were replaced by a more powerful, louder sound – rock. But the birth of pop music was also growing, and much of its humble start is attributed to producer Mitch Miller.
Miller was working at Columbia Records and wanted to develop a sound that encompassed different genres rather than just one. Songs like “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley, coming out in that decade, became a timeless pop classic.
Bubblegum and Rock Pop of the 1960s
Soon the pop music was primarily associated with a teenage fan base. The portable radio was introduced in the 60s and, with it, the British Invasion of more rock and pop music bands that included The Beatles, with sub-genres of music literally “popping” up.
Beatlemania incited popular culture for things like mustaches and mopped man’s haircuts, but it also created a new fad – that of learning instruments. Ones that included guitar, bass, drums, and even the piano were becoming more associated with the pop music of the time. Many bands relished the idea of knowing more than one instrument so that you could have a genuine music career.
Disco Pop of the 1970s
Though the subgenres of pop began, they all died out in the 70s, with something new called “power pop” that emerged. It was a mixture of punk rock and pop, with bands like Cheap Trick and the Romantics making new sounds. There were still plenty of areas that incorporated the popular sounds heard all over the radio waves, stemming from a variety of genres.
The country genre also transitioned into the pop genre, with melodies and hooks intertwining as pop but including the same twang of country music. However, disco and rock pop were still making headlines, with singers including Donna Summer and Gloria Gaynor and other arena-style pop groups like Queen and the Jackson Five making the most significant impact.
Elton John was another huge pop music influence during this period, with songs like “Bennie and the Jets,” which incited a new love for the piano. John and his partner, Bernie Taupin, were a dynamic duo in their abilities to create songs by word/lyrics and music produced separately.
Those who took to the piano as their primary instrument found that they could put lyrics to it and create a new kind of pop music. The piano, a versatile instrument you can play in many different styles, has and will always have its place within the genre.
Pop Recordings of the 1980s
Recording digitally became the primary way for musicians and artists to make music in the 1980s decade. The possibilities created a more enhanced and booming genre for pop music. Instruments like the synthesizer and other electronic sounds were incorporated into many popular tracks, making a sort of dance-pop or dubbed “techno” pop music emerge.
Drums became more digital and electronically made in the studio, though many drummers liked staying true to their instrument and playing without using pre-recorded booms. Artists who became well-known during this time were considered revolutionary to the pop music movement.
These artists included Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. There were pop, rock, funk, R&B blends, and more. The 80s pop music culture was like no other from before and has since developed a cult following for years to come.
Pop Groups in the 1990s
Even though plenty of bands and groups existed before the 1990s, this decade transitioned into the American market with commercially made boy and girl groups in the pop music genre. Bands like the Backstreet Boys, The Spice Girls, and ‘N Sync all started to dominate the charts in the later years.
Though learning instruments was still a great way to be considered a true musician, with bands like Hanson writing their own music and playing all of their own, certain pop groups also created a surge in the idea that being a musician didn’t need you to play. Many people perfected their dance moves in synchronized movement and pop ‘n lock styles because that became a concentration for entertainment in pop culture.
The 2000s to Today in Pop Music
By the 2000s, pop was a defined genre with endless paths for musicians and independent artists to work with, providing a unique way to discover new sounds. Some of the most popular terms in pop music today include the following subgenres:
- Teen pop (AKA bubblegum pop) – Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera
- Punk/rock pop – Blink 182, Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy
- R&B/ Hip-Hop pop – Rihanna, Usher, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige
- Dance-pop – Lady Gaga, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber
- K-pop – Lee Hyoria, T-ara, Free Style
The instruments also continue to be of the utmost importance in the pop music genre. Some of the most influential and necessary instruments include the following:
- Piano – versatile and stylistic, the piano stands the test of time and is a fantastic beginner’s learning tool for playing an instrument.
- Drums – percussion continues to play an essential role in pop music, so learning how to play might involve some one-on-one, such as through New York City-based lessons for the drums.
- Guitar – whether acoustic or electric style-is a hugely popular instrument in pop music and has versatility like the piano with different types you can play, from country and blues to coffeehouse pop influence.
- Bass guitar – helps to drive the rhythm of the song, and in some instances, this instrument can even help entice the audience with a catchy and memorable sequence; the bass creates a solid foundation in pop music songs.
If you want to learn an instrument, consider factors like your budget, the style of pop music you wish to play, and if you can take lessons in your area. Pop music is more than just popular music or some catchy melody with repetition in the track; it represents how music trends have evolved over the years. Artists who took chances in combining different styles helped make pop culture the diverse and rich influence it is today.