You can stop rolling over, Beethoven; science has confirmed what you would have guessed: all modern pop music sounds the same.
Researchers in Spain discovered that the fundamental building blocks of music – melodies, chords, and sound types – are all becoming far more similar in pop music in the last 50 years, and shockingly, the one attribute of music that has remained variable is the amplitude, or loudness.
The study was conducted by the Spanish National Research Council, led by Joan Serra, a specialist in Artificial Intelligence. Serra commented:
“In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations – roughly speaking chords plus melodies – has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.”
Serra and her team also noted that the timbre palette, or tone color, has decreased, which indicates that less different sounds are being used.
It’s not surprising; the increasing emphasis on electronic instruments has limited the variety of colors available to the composers, and the fact that rap has a very limited range because it eschews melody and harmony hasn’t helped.
The drab sameness of sound may be with us for a while.