Analysis of half a million pop songs from 1955 to 2010 has revealed that tracks in fifties and sixties had much more variation than modern pop, which is louder, less varied, and uses less chords, the researchers have claimed.
Pink Floyd co-founder and musician Roger Waters performs with children during the last show of his "The Wall" tour on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. (Reuters Photo/Mathieu Belanger)
Martin Haro of Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, the Spanish researcher who carried out the computer analysis, revealed that the reason why today’s tracks are louder is because the sound engineers and producers are cranking up the volume at the recording stage.
As a result, if two tracks are turned up to the same volume, the more recent will sound noisier, the Daily Mail reported.
It was also found that such tracks are a result of better recording equipment and an attempt to make music that catches the attention and is suitable for playing in discos.
The study further revealed that songs are more similar than in the past.
Moreover, the chords used and the changes between chords are simpler, leading to the production of music that is easy on the ear but contains little variety.
“I think this is related to the role of music. Nowadays, it is more about relaxing, you don’t want to think about what the music is telling you,” he said.
“In the 1950s and 60s, music was more artistic and for getting messages, things about politics, across.
“When the synthesiser was introduced, you had lots of bands like Pink Floyd that were experimenting with different types of sound and chords, this was an experimental playground for them.
‘Now it’s about dancing and relaxing, rhythm and energy, with groups and bands not so interested in experimenting with sounds and chords,” he added.
This study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports