VII. Popular Music
This section introduces students to the important harmonic, rhythmic, and formal schemas that pervade English-language pop music after 1950. Most of the examples are drawn from Top 40 pop, but many other genres such as hip hop and indie are also represented.
This section assumes a familiarity with the topics covered in Fundamentals.
This section begins with Rhythm and Meter, one of the musical domains that defines pop music as a genre most clearly.
The next few chapters discuss form in pop music, from a small scale (Melody and Phrasing) to a larger scale (Introduction to Form in Popular Music, AABA Form and Strophic Form, Verse-Chorus Form). These chapters are best taught sequentially.
The next several chapters take a schematic approach to understanding harmonies in popular music, beginning with an Introduction to Harmonic Schemas in Pop Music. Instructors can cover as many or as few of these schemas as they like.
The final chapter zooms out and provides a broader view of tonality in popular music through the phenomena of Fragile, Absent, and Emergent Tonics.