Interesting Read: Meshing Traditional Music Theory with Modern Pop Music

This is a long-ish and rather academic read from Slate.  But if you’re at all interested in music theory, it’s worth the time.

The academic music world is slowly coming to grips with the ways that the conventional teaching of music theory serves practicing musicians pretty poorly. The pop music pedagogy movement, spearheaded by Lucy Green, is doing some creative work aimed at aligning music education with the way people experience and understand music in the present. Rather than trying to identify a canonical body of works and a bounded set of rules defined by that canon, we should take an ethnomusicological approach. We should be asking: What is it that musicians are doing that sounds good? What patterns can we detect in the broad mass of music being made and enjoyed out there in the world?I have my own set of ideas about what constitutes common-practice music in America in 2014, but I also come with my set of biases and preferences. It would be better to have some hard data on what we all collectively think makes for valid music

If you’re not afraid of phrases like “performing sans triadic harmony, ” keep going.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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