Ennio Morricone passed away at the age of 91. We remember the life and works of one of the most important soundtrack composers of the 20th century.
3 pop revolutions in half a century
Researchers have found three “revolutions” in pop music occurred between 1960 and 2010, disproving the common myth that pop never changes.
A lot of stuff has been written about the origin and the history of pop music, but in most cases it all proved to be just a series of anecdotes with no scientific confirmation, at least not until today. A group of researchers at Queen Mary University and at London Imperial College discovered that pop music has continually evolved, but its evolution was particularly swift during three stylistic “revolutions” in 1964, 1983 and 1991. The result was obtained by examining 17,000 songs list in Billboard Hot 100, the chart of the most listened songs in the United States, between 1960 and 2010.
Published on Royal Society Open Science, the survey points out that the first revolution in 1964 was driven by the so-called British Invasion, with groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones which introduced a rock music sound at the expense of the most used chords in both jazz and blues until then. However, according to the survey, the spreading of British bands in the United States market was not the only feature which triggered the change. The revolution was the results of trends already existing in 1960.
On the other hands, 1983 turbulent charts were due to the spread of new technologies and to the increasing use of synthesisers, electronic drums, and samplers, particularly used by stadium rock bands, such as Van Halen, Queen and Kiss, followed by the success of Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Eurythmics.
To assess the extent of the changes in music during the years and to verify whether its evolution has been constant or not, scientists focused on diversity parameters, measuring the pitch, harmony (the type of chords) and timbre features (for instance the use of voice and percussions) used in a given year, and their variation, that is how these features differ between them. The results of the survey are interesting and prove wrong those believing that major record label led to a stylistic standardisation. Indeed, the data collected show that differences and variations narrowed until 1984, and then increased again until the first year of the 21st century.
On 22 June 1991, “Niggaz4life” by NWA (Niggers with Attitude) ranked first in Billboard charts, which outdo REM “Out of Time”. For the first time in Billboard’s history a rap group topped the charts. According to the survey, the third musical revolution took place in 1991, when rap and hip hop became mainstream at the expense of rock music, thanks to the success of several artists, such as Public Enemy, the later Busta Rhymes, Nas and Snoop Dog. “This was a real revolution: suddenly it was possible that you had a pop song without harmony. I think that hip-hop saved the charts” said to BBC Dr Matthias Mauch, one of the researchers.
Un violador en tu camino – the rapist is you – is an anthem protesting the impunity of gender-based violence. It began in Chile and has become a global flash mob, bringing people to the streets and resonating all over the world.
The 50th anniversary of the Moon landing on 20 July has awakened the fantasy of many. Here’s the perfect playlist of musicians who have let themselves be inspired by the universe and its celestial bodies.
N’we Jinan is a Canadian record label that gives First Nations students their voice back by allowing them to create their own music in mobile recording studios.
The Australian songwriter, who became famous with Follow the Sun, is back with Walk Away, a new and powerful ode to freedom. He’s about to set off on a world tour. Our interview with Xavier Rudd.
Three teenagers from New Zealand sing in the Maori language about abuse at the hands of British colonisers. Thanks to their thrash metal music, young people are being attracted to native culture.
There’s no room for anger, resignation, or desire for revenge in this playlist. There’s just the moral obligation of retracing and telling the stories that can’t go lost and forgotten all over again. We do so through music.
Le canzoni più belle del 2017 secondo LifeGate Radio. Con questa playlist lanciamo la nostra collaborazione con Spotify Italia che vi farà ascoltare la musica migliore, selezionata.
Through dance, music, fashion and art, the documentary RWANDArt explores Rwanda’s growing creative industry through the stories of a new generation of creative entrepreneurs.