[Pt.I Proj.2] – Pop versus classical

Research point

In your listening log, write some brief notes on your views about pop music and classical music. What constitutes good music, in your opinion? Where do your preferences lie, and why do you think this is?


Pop music is a relatively recent phenomenon in music history. On the surface pop music appears very different to Classical music, however in my view the same elements which cause a classical piece to achieve popularity are the very ones at play in a good pop song. Memorability, repetition and sing-ability tends to be qualities one looks for in a good pop song, but they are equally as important in a Classical piece in order for it to achieve mass success and longevity. Many of these elements are very prevalent in many of Mozart’s ‘hits’. The same can be said for popular opera arias… I see pop music as the distilled catchy core of a piece of music. I like both pop and Classical. There are areas in which they overlap and fill the same function, like the one mentioned above. Classical music being more complex and generally allowed more time over which to evolve and expand offers a greater variety and possibility of expression. Regardless of genre I enjoy music that manages to evoke a sense of familiarity whilst still totally surprising me. I want to learn and experience new things whilst listening. I’d like to be a different person to the one I was before I listened to new piece of music.

‘Trumpets and violins I can hear in distance

I think they’re calling our names

Maybe now you can’t hear them, but you will

If you just take hold of my hand

Oh, but are you experienced?

Have you ever been experienced?’ (Jimi Hendrix)