Evolution of Modern Music

The Lexington School for Recording Arts

“All music is folk music.
I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.” – Louis Armstrong


(formerly) Music Theory History II & III


For a society to fully embrace the future, it must comprehend its past. To be on the edge of tomorrow’s music, one must study the evolution of its recent past. To this end practical theory relies on the development of all aspects of the music industry. The science of sound, coupled with the advancement in technology influence the development of music. To simply study the elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo, duration etc), without understanding its impact on society would be shortsighted and limiting. For example in the mid eighties the invention of the digital keyboard dominated popular music. Jump (Van Halen), Axil F (theme from Beverly Hills Cop) and the background tracks from Seinfeld are examples of how technology moved stealthily into American pop culture.    



Evolution of Modern Music I begins with the invention of the radio. The inception of radio into everyone’s daily life created the beginning of the recording industry. The music giants EMI Records (Electrical and Musical Industry) and Columbia (CBS Records) were there in the beginning and are still major players. Evolution of Modern Music I concludes with the birth of rock and roll and its impact on society. Theory is more than a staff with dots and stems. True practical theory is how music affects the human condition.



Evolution of Modern Music II picks up with the Beatles and the “British Invasion” through today’s digital delivery system. For example in the past 20 years extraordinary changes have created both new ways to make music and more importantly new ways to distribute music. The progression from traditional brick and mortar stores (Sam Goody, Tower Records, Circuit City ) to online stores (iTunes, Rhapsody, Pandora), was an amazingly fast transformation. The ramifications (loss of jobs, empty stores, etc) is something that will continue to be part of the evolutionary equation.


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