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Wilfrid

How Pop Music Stopped

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Musical revolutions in the Billboard Hot 100. (a) Quarterly pairwise distance matrix of all the songs in the Hot 100. (b) Rate of stylistic change based on Foote Novelty over successive quarters for all windows 1–10 years, inclusive. The rate of musical change—slow-to-fast—is represented by the colour gradient blue, green, yellow, red, brown: 1964, 1983 and 1991 are periods of particularly rapid musical change. Using a Foote Novelty kernel with a half-width of 3 years results in significant change in these periods, with Novelty peaks in 1963–Q4 (p<0.01), 1982–Q4 (p<0.01) and 1991–Q1 (p<0.001) marked by dashed lines. Significance cut-offs for all windows were empirically determined by random permutation of the distance matrix. Significance contour lines with p-values are shown in black.

 

 

p.s. note that the 1991 event is the biggest in their analysis.

 

Of course since the stoppage dates have been proposed to fall anywhere from 1950 to 1992, Wilfrid was right.

 

The silence is deafening.

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The silence is deafening because we humanists don't trust "scientific" studies of the arts. I have no idea what they think they're quantifying and little belief that it's meaningful. I have this suspicion it's like comparing 20th Century literature with 14th Century literature by counting how many definite v. indefinite articles they each use.

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It's like the studies in which mounds of data are collected and shuffled and compared in the search for some correlation. Then, whatever correlates, that's what the study was trying to prove. Add footnotes. Voila! Journal article.

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It's like the studies in which mounds of data are collected and shuffled and compared in the search for some correlation. Then, whatever correlates, that's what the study was trying to prove. Add footnotes. Voila! Journal article.

Huh? It's very much not that, and Sneak's view on this study is not that.

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The silence is deafening because we humanists don't trust "scientific" studies of the arts. I have no idea what they think they're quantifying and little belief that it's meaningful. I have this suspicion it's like comparing 20th Century literature with 14th Century literature by counting how many definite v. indefinite articles they each use.

But we are talking about if pop music has stopped. Your argument really doesn't make sense in this context.

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The silence is deafening because we humanists don't trust "scientific" studies of the arts. I have no idea what they think they're quantifying and little belief that it's meaningful. I have this suspicion it's like comparing 20th Century literature with 14th Century literature by counting how many definite v. indefinite articles they each use.

 

I think if you read the study you won't find what they're quantifying particularly surprising (that is, if two songs are very far apart/close together in their vector space, you'll probably agree that they're very far apart/close together). Specifically if you look at figure 3 you'll see the musical styles they've identified based on a cluster of songs and I think you'll have little to argue with regarding the time-evolution of said styles.

 

Of course you can still say "hip-hop is less different from hair rock than 60s pop/rock are different from ANY genre in the 30s" and then all us quanty people can do is shrug and say you're entitled to your opinion, not supported by evidence. (separate discussions on where young/old people do and what they agree to listen to should remain separate)

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Orik of course says it better. They're not at all trying to turn art into science. They're study is what this thread is about. Unless this thread is literally about what Wilfrid hears at bars.

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The silence is deafening because we humanists don't trust "scientific" studies of the arts. I have no idea what they think they're quantifying and little belief that it's meaningful. I have this suspicion it's like comparing 20th Century literature with 14th Century literature by counting how many definite v. indefinite articles they each use.

But we are talking about if pop music has stopped. Your argument really doesn't make sense in this context.

 

I think the attempt to objectify music into "facts" is doomed to fail. Sure there might be an insight or two. But just relying on the Billboard 100 strikes me as missing the mark. Lots of great music did not dent the Billboard 100 and yet it was influential. Think Big Star. Think VU.

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Is saying that pop music stopped in the early 1960s (or whatever the premise is),

the same as saying that classical music stopped in the 1500s? All classical music since the renaissance/early baroque period is pretty much the same. Although there are differences.

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Okay, this is extreme. A Brooklyn bar, everyone 20 years younger than me, and we've just done Gordon Lightfoot, the (early) Bee Gees, OC Smith, Anne Murray, Dusty Springfield. This is my dad's music.

 

Still it is better than Black Sabbath or the Scorpions.

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