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This genre originated in its modern form in the mid 50s in the United States and the United Kingdom. Popular and pop music are terms often used to describe this genre, but popular refers to all music that is a hit (includes many styles). In the 50s and 60s pop usually encompased rock and roll music, and they kept being roughly synonymous until the ending of the 60s, when pop started to be associated with more accessible and commercial music (how we know it today).
Some of the factors that distinguish pop music from other styles that make it to the record charts are: medium or short length songs written in basic format, repeated choruses and hooks, and a tempo or rhythm that encourages dancing. Some of these features are called the pop-music formula, which also includes creating a great rhythm and catchy melody that is easy to remember.
It is very common to see pop songs that also borrow elements from other genres and styles like urban, dance, latin, rock, electro, and country.
Most modern pop songs include verse and chorus, with the chorus representing the part of the song that is created to stick in the listeners head by using musical repetition. It is the most memorable and catchy part of the song, written specifically for this purpose. Before the chorus we usually hear what is called a “drop” where the drum and bass stop and create the anticipation that the main part will come.
Even though the verse-chorus structure is the most common one, there are always some variations, this might include bridge passages, instrumental sections or solos. Usually used to break up verses when they are overly repetitive. Another common characteristic in pop music is the “riff” or “hook” which refers to short redundant collections of notes designed to make the listener engage with the music.
Most contemporary pop songs follow a simple used formula that includes a selection of chords that have been proven to be enjoyable and pleasing to listeners. The reason why these combinations of chords perform so well for listeners is that they create a perfect mix of major and minor chords that is comfortable for the ear.
The tempo and speed varies a lot depending on the song, some can be super slow while others have a heart-pumping tempo of 160 beats per minute. This characteristic can divide pop music into two categories, music for listening and music for dancing, and between these two we can find a million different styles.
As we mentioned above, pop music is all about grabbing the attention of the public by being catchy and rhythmic. So it is the easiest choice when it comes to creating content with an energetic contagious feel, making it ideal for commercials or advertising of any kind. The hooks in pop tracks will make it memorable and easy to recognize because of its repetitiveness, and this is the key of any commercial.
And because of its upbeat tempo it can also be perfect to raise the energy of vlogs, corporate videos, or short films. Pop music has been often used in movies and video games as well, making emblematic soundtracks everyone remembers.
Needless to say, it is one of the most flexible genres that can fit any type of content and deliver great results!