21

In addition to No'am's nice answer, there are two further points I'd like to make: In most (all?) of your instances, note that the chord in question changes from major to minor. This is thus an easy way to make a pretty big change in the harmonic environment. But perhaps more than that, let's think about how easy it is to do this change. Imagine we have a C-...


20

Let's say a song is in the key of C; three semitones below this is the key of Am, which is known as the relative minor key. In the same way, chords which are 'three semitones below' (e.g. F and Dm, G and Em) are the relative minor chords. These chords can often be substituted one for the other, as they have two common notes (F and Dm have in common F and A). ...


14

As topo morto already commented, it doesn't really make sense to consider pop as just an evolution of classical music. It has lots of influences from folk, blues, jazz that don't really make sense from a classical-harmony perspective. To a large degree, you might also just sum pop up as “relax, focus on keeping the melody simple&catchy and then ...


12

(Parts of this answer were posted before the OP edited the question to exclude some of it - in particular, e.g. to move up half step and Don't discuss other music such as jazz. were added after this answer was posted.) Has pop music ever modulated at all?! Your terminology is rather imprecise: You seem to be drawing a hard line between Bach/Classical ...


12

This is an issue of what we call hypermeter; specify, we can call it a hypermetrical extension. By hypermeter, I mean a metrical structure not at the level of the beat, but at the level of the entire measure. Try conducting along with "Amarillo"; it's in 4/4 time. After you're used to that, try conducting in 4/4 where every beat is the start of a new ...


9

I'm in a similar situation. I was classically trained for 13 years, and 6-7 years ago I started playing pop styles. I'm still not excellent at it, but I've come a long way and am generally competent. The biggest difference, as I'm sure you've discovered, is that you can't just play what's on the page (if there even is a page!) and have that be enough, ...


8

Have pop music ever modulated at all? Yes, of course - an example I like is: ...and there are many more. Why pop music rarely modulates? I've mentioned a slower, more balladic piece, but think of the function of a typical dance-oriented pop piece - people want to be able to dance, to sing along, and to 'know where they ...


7

This is all great advice, but it treats you like a total beginner who doesn't know what to do. You have a huge advantage from your classical training, which is the ability to read. I would look for the most detailed transcriptions of the type of pop music you want to play -- for instance, if you like the Beatles, see the Complete Transcriptions which capture ...


6

One point of view is given by Peter van der Merwe in a couple of interesting books. "Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music" and "Roots of the Classical: the Popular Origins of Western Music." Another interesting book is Alec Wilder's "American Popular Song" but it only covers the period up to about 1950. ...


6

Here is a non-comprehensive list of such pieces: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TruckDriversGearChange Under the "Subversions" sections you can find some pieces that modulate down. e.g. Inverted in "Tonight" from West Side Story, which moves down a half-step with each successive chorus so the final one can end calmly and quietly.


6

I don't pretend that this classification is absolute truth and applicable to any modern composition, but still. Majority of the modern songs have: intro verses choruses bridge (1 or more) outro Intro in many senses is like a prologue in a literature. Outro is like an epilogue. Solos usually go into bridges. Maybe this will give you an inspiration. :) And ...


6

Yes, it is helpful It's not obvious, but there is a lot of jazz influence in pop. Learning jazz will give you a lot more experience with chord progressions, chord shapes, modal mixtures, alternate theories of harmony, soloing techniques, etc. Types of music that are not too far away from pop that are heavily jazz influenced include musical theater, hip-hop,...


6

I'll bet all of you—whether you know it or not—already like Johann Sebastian Bach! —Glenn Holland You approach the question from the flawed premise that "pop" music rarely modulates (which I'm taking to mean as changes key) much, and that it's abrupt when it does. The answers already posted have hopefully dispelled ...


6

By crikey this is broad. You've basically asked "What's the difference between 'white' music & 'black' music?" Because you could write entire books on the subject & still not arrive at any real definition, especially in this day & age when everybody's borrowed from everybody else to such a degree as it's almost impossible to disentangle any more,...


5

It's often hard to draw a line between melody and chords. I know, that sounds ridiculous. But sit back and think about the role a keyboard plays. Sure, they can just play a single note melody, or they can just hold some chord tones. But often they do both, at the same time. They voice the chords they play, so that a melody is formed. Sure, it's not the ...


5

I'm not an advanced pianist by any means, but one difference I've noticed is that classical music is more voice-oriented than pop music. That is, it concerns itself largely with horizontal relations between notes to create multiple independent melody lines, each following voice leading. In pop music, these seem to be much less important relative to the ...


5

Muscle memory and playing by ear are very much related. You probably don't want to just memorize songs or chord progressions because that won't help you in the long run. Instead, try to figure out songs by ear. This is the main exercise, but it gets easier with every song you work on because you're making a link with what you hear to where your fingers go. ...


4

Something that makes your question difficult to answer is that you talk of "pop music" as if it's one genre. In fact if you pick two pop keyboard parts at random, you're likely to find that they're using completely different techniques. One pop song might be backed by long chords of synth strings. Another might have a showboating solo on a monophonic synth. ...


4

Welcome to the site! Studying jazz is better and easier through a course - providing it's a good one! You'll be taken a lot deeper into music than you would studying pop-type music, although it depends where one thinks pop starts and ends. Keep studying and do the pop transcription etc., by yourself. It will become easier and easier to sort out pop while ...


4

You may be interested in what pop-music scholars often call the "melodic-harmonic divorce." By "divorce," they mean that the pitches in the melody are often vastly different from from the harmony that accompanies them. As such, the non-chord tones in this repertoire do not always fit the standard designations from the common-practice period like passing ...


4

Originally, carols - simple songs - were sung and often danced as a celebration of something joyous, often in the open air, by 'the common people'. It's said that the first carol was 'sung by angels from the sky', not surprisingly, at the first Christmas. The words still survive, apparently. Logic says that to be a Christmas carol, the words would have to ...


4

It's syncopated, but really there is so much to this topic. One of the earliest practitioner (that we have recorded) of this was, and the most famous, was Louis Armstrong on his many early recordings. It's really one of the main reasons that he was so revolutionary (and he was - in contrast to his later rather cabaret image, he had a reputation in the 30's ...


3

What defines pop music is that it is music that is marketed for mass audiences and therefore will have an industrial influence. That means input from theatre professionals where large performances can be assembled and performed. Therefore, the history with musical theatre will have a large impact on pop of all kinds, including independent pop. With that ...


3

Really, I'd just play around until I found something I like. But for some initial ideas: given a scale and a note, there are three triads from the scale that contain that note; for example, there are three triads from C major that contain the note A: Dm, F, and Am. Try one of those. The IV, V, and I chords (in C, those are F, G, and C, respectively) are ...


3

Pop music is very different indeed. (Fill in black music/white music stereotype here.) Things usually done wrong by classical players: In the beginning, there was groove. If everything else fails, the groove must survive! You can't play the wrong note, only at the wrong time. Don't relax, keep the tension. There's a trap door under your chair: lose the ...


3

Determining a piece's time signature isn't only a matter of counting up the beats, it's also about how to notate a piece so it has logical rhythmic units. Time signature is something that's (1) set by the composer, and (2) for the convenience of musicians who will read and perform the piece. So there are pieces that can be written in more than one way, and ...


3

A lot of people do get turned off piano because of the association with 'serious' stuff. It can absolutely be fun with the right teacher/methods. And it's kinda funny, it amazes me the amount of people who are at University doing piano, they can shred the keyboard to pieces, they've been playing for years on end, but then they'll catch you playing a pop song,...


3

There are great answers already written, and I'll just add a little more explanation for why this phenomenon exists. In the end, it's a result of the fact that we construct chords from stacked thirds. How Chords Are Built Consider a C major chord, which is C-E-G. The interval between the C and E is a third. The interval between the E and G is a third. ...


3

Maybe if we had been designed with three legs, the even time signatures of 2 and 4 wouldn't be so popular. 6 would possibly survive, especially in slow time! 5 time and 7 time remain rarities for much the same reason. It's probably the fact that in 2 and 4 (and 6 if that gets counted in 2 lots of 3) literally evens everything out. Dancers will always be on ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible