I'd argue that the research claiming that music is blander may have missed a nuance along the evolution of pop music: It is quite possible that the dissappearance of melodic and harmonic interplay is being replaced by rhythmic interplay. What used to be countermelody and harmony, defining features of European music, has been increasingly replaced by percussion. I'd also assume this is not just chance as the variety of electronic instruments has increased significantly in the same time period.
In other words: perhaps pop music has evolved by taking away tunes that aren't in the melody, and instead adding drums, cymbals, cowbells, and other percussive rhythms – symbolic of the heartbeat in many percussive cultures – to make up for the complexity and connect with the crowds.
/via +Wayne Radinsky
Pop music is becoming louder and blander, say scientists
Spanish scientists publish a study claiming that pop music is becoming less varied
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