Saturday, September 08, 2012

Pop music is getting sadder and more emotionally ambiguous

From the anals of the BPS aka British Psychological Society's latest research digest -  Pop music is getting sadder and more emotionally ambiguous with noteworthy points below:

Have you heard older generations lamenting the way pop songs don't sound like they used to? There's a sense that the hits from yesteryear had an innocence and feel-good quality that's missing from today's pop offerings. Now Glenn Schellenberg and Christian von Scheve have confirmed what many suspected - pop music over the last five decades has grown progressively more sad-sounding and emotionally ambiguous.

.......Happy sounding songs are typically of fast tempo in major mode, whilst sad songs are slow and in minor. Songs can also be emotionally ambiguous, having a tempo that's fast in minor, or vice versa.

Schellenberg and von Scheve found that the proportion of songs recorded in minor-mode has increased, doubling over the last fifty years. The proportion of slow tempo hits has also increased linearly, reaching a peak in the 90s. There's also been a decrease in unambiguously happy-sounding songs and an increase in emotionally ambiguous songs. The findings complement an analysis of pop lyrics from 1980-2007, published last year, that found a drop over time in references to social interactions and positive emotions, but an increase in angry and anti-social words.

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