What do pop songs share with symphonies?
Whether you’re comparing the latest pop song from 2018 or a classical symphony from centuries past, in essence, they are all songs. In order to understand why we say this, it is necessary to first look back on the history of music.
All music starts with the voice. Whether this is used to revere nature or a god or to express delight over the harvest, mammals have been using their voices to express their emotions since the dawn of time. Songs first appeared when humanity began adding musical intervals.
This led to the invention of musical instruments and the birth of songs through the integration of music and culture in the form of opera, and symphony orchestras were formed to accompany this. Operas were originally popular music in the same way as pop songs are today, and symphony orchestras were created as the backing band to accompany them. Western music in its current form is no different.
Although symphony orchestras consist of large groups of people following the lead of a conductor, which makes the music they play seem much more complex and difficult than modern-day pop songs, analyzing the harmonies show that they follow a tetrad style, which is not much different from present-day pop. The reason why this involved more people than today’s bands is because they evolved before electricity could amplify the sound, and the only way that they could fill large opera halls with sound was to increase the number of musicians.
As operas became more and more widespread as a popular form of music following this, a certain amount of time was set aside before the opera started during which symphony orchestras would play alone to provide time for members of the audience who were running late to arrive. The music that they played during these performances became known as “overtures” or “preludes.” Symphony orchestras acclaimed for their preludes began to play individual performances without singers, and the music that they played eventually became known as “symphonies.”Symphony orchestras acclaimed for their preludes began to play individual performances without singers, and the music that they played eventually became known as “symphonies.” #DidYouKnow Click To Tweet
However, symphonies were not completely devoid of songs, as you already know from the songs that systematically appear in the effective parts of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
When looking back on the history of music, we see the same songs in pop music and in symphonies as if they are twins that share the same DNA.