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Subject: The death of melody - when did melody start to die?

Written By: rapplepop on 08/17/19 at 1:26 am

I think it's become especially notable how melody has fallen out of favor in pop music over the past 3 years or so, but I would argue you can trace the trend back as far as the 1970s and disco, or maybe even as far back as the 50s and rock n roll, when beats became a big element of popular music.

I think popular music has gradually become less melodious. 50s and 60s music isn't melodic compared to big band music, and 70s and 80s music is more melodic than 90s and 00s music, which in turn are more melodic than music from the 2010s.

Subject: Re: The death of melody - when did melody start to die?

Written By: Voiceofthe70s on 08/18/19 at 9:12 pm

It happened with the disco era. "The track" became far more important than the song. The producer, be it a Giorgio Moroder or somebody at the time, would come up with a whole danceable "track" but it wasn't a SONG. It didn't really have a melody. Then a singer would be found to sing over it. But the singer and the song weren't as important as the danceable TRACK. Things were downhill from there. And with rap, THE BEATS are all important. People are even said to "compose" beats. There's a rhythm but no melody in a beat.

Subject: Re: The death of melody - when did melody start to die?

Written By: yelimsexa on 08/21/19 at 6:03 am

IMO the prog/art rock movement of the early 1970s was the last hurrah for melody in music; even symphonic music (don't call it classical!) has had a reduction in the importance of motives since then, thanks to the minimalist movement that surfaced around that time. It even reflects little things like game shows as we used to have "Name That Tune"; nowadays, we have "Beat Shazam", and even though that includes music as far back as the '50s on its playlist, it doesn't have the traditional melodies that the classic editions of Name That Tune had, which even had a round called Melody Roulette.

I'd imagine that the lack of melody was the primary reason behind the disco backlash, and for awhile in the early '80s, the trend towards more melody had resumed, but of course, it turned out to be a "dead cat's bounce", and then came rap, grunge, emo, and techno which together combined to make the producer just as important as the featured artists.

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