Has the feel become to rigid in modern music?

tcspears

Gold Member
I guess that my point was that....

They 'did' stray from pop. They were the inventors of what became "the new pop", and the deviation is by virtue of them being the first to do it. The Beatles saved us from being drowned by both the Avant-garde and bubble-gum-pop.

It's like saying that Newton didn't stray from the commonly held beliefs concerning gravitation.... He did! And now we have entirely new commonly held beliefs concerning gravitation because of it. If your argument is analogous to "gravity didn't change, our understanding did" , then I concede.

Take a peek at the Goodall piece and see if you still disagree.
I did watch the Goodall piece, and I agree that they pushed the boundaries of pop music, but again you'd be hard pressed to say that they ever expanded outside of pop.

One example around composition and structure: Even in their most experimental songs, their drummer kept time (almost always 4/4). Also, the songs stayed within the acceptable, tried-and-true chord progressions. If you know anything about art music, you'd know that in the 1950s, musicians (across genres) were experimenting with freeing music from traditional rhythm and harmony.

Most of the Beatles innovations were using studio technology, or some pretty cool "accidental sounds" like the reverberating glass bottle.

As it relates to to the thread, I had just used an anecdotal experience where someone had called a song rigid. That song happened to be a Beatles song. My point was that pop music is intended to use repeated rhythms to create a beat, and the song usually sticks with the rhythm, with some minor variations. Again, I can't seem to think of many Beatles songs that vary from a repeated rhythm or beat.

My point was that pop music is often meant to have strict rhythms. Pop music is meant for mass-appeal and/or dancing, so the rhythm is important. It's the same with Afro-Cuban music. If you are playing a Rumba, you need to play the 2:3 or 3:2 clave specific to that rumba, and there is no room to bend time.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I did watch the Goodall piece, and I agree that they pushed the boundaries of pop music, but again you'd be hard pressed to say that they ever expanded outside of pop.

One example around composition and structure: Even in their most experimental songs, their drummer kept time (almost always 4/4). Also, the songs stayed within the acceptable, tried-and-true chord progressions. If you know anything about art music, you'd know that in the 1950s, musicians (across genres) were experimenting with freeing music from traditional rhythm and harmony.

Most of the Beatles innovations were using studio technology, or some pretty cool "accidental sounds" like the reverberating glass bottle.

As it relates to to the thread, I had just used an anecdotal experience where someone had called a song rigid. That song happened to be a Beatles song. My point was that pop music is intended to use repeated rhythms to create a beat, and the song usually sticks with the rhythm, with some minor variations. Again, I can't seem to think of many Beatles songs that vary from a repeated rhythm or beat.

My point was that pop music is often meant to have strict rhythms. Pop music is meant for mass-appeal and/or dancing, so the rhythm is important. It's the same with Afro-Cuban music. If you are playing a Rumba, you need to play the 2:3 or 3:2 clave specific to that rumba, and there is no room to bend time.
All very clever but not what the thread is about. Its about the rigid recording process used now, in most cases, that suck the elastic and more human time out of the music. Also the click tracked ultra rehearsed live music that most acts now perform. We are talking about the lack of energy and risk taking now inherent in, not all, but the majority of live music. Song structure, time signatures or musical complexity have nothing to do with it. The thread seems have been hijacked by a music genre argument.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
If you know anything about art music, you'd know that in the 1950s, musicians (across genres) were experimenting with freeing music from traditional rhythm and harmony.
Indeed, though most of it was quite literally "trash". Composers pissing on tin roofs, formless blobs of sound. Had it continued, we would have all ended up snapping our fingers to stuff like this (don't be fooled, I'm a huge fan). The Beatles saved us from that fate by giving composers like Zappa and Beefheart something to parody.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Indeed, though most of it was quite literally "trash". Composers pissing on tin roofs, formless blobs of sound. Had it continued, we would have all ended up snapping our fingers to stuff like this (don't be fooled, I'm a huge fan). The Beatles saved us from that fate by giving composers like Zappa and Beefheart something to parody.
True, true. I freed music from traditional rhythm and harmony when I first started playing.............cos I was crap.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
All very clever but not what the thread is about. Its about the rigid recording process used now, in most cases, that suck the elastic and more human time out of the music. Also the click tracked ultra rehearsed live music that most acts now perform. We are talking about the lack of energy and risk taking now inherent in, not all, but the majority of live music. Song structure, time signatures or musical complexity have nothing to do with it. The thread seems have been hijacked by a music genre argument.

I guess my point is that genre is a huge part of what you are seeing.

Pop music is made for mass appeal and usually contains strict rhythms. Pop concerts are in stadiums. You can't have nuanced music played in a stadium to bunch of screaming fans. Therefore, as pop music becomes bigger and bigger, it will also become more and more rigid as to control the sound and ensure the same product is delivered every time, add this to the fact that technology makes it easier to lock everything into perfect time, and you get the rigid music that this post is about.

If they were playing in a pub, it would sound sterile, but the groups that people are talking about aren't playing in a bar. They are playing to 50k people in a stadium.

In order to understand why modern music feels more rigid, you need to understand the purpose of pop music, and the scale to which it is now delivered.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I guess my point is that genre is a huge part of what you are seeing.

Pop music is made for mass appeal and usually contains strict rhythms. Pop concerts are in stadiums. You can't have nuanced music played in a stadium to bunch of screaming fans. Therefore, as pop music becomes bigger and bigger, it will also become more and more rigid as to control the sound and ensure the same product is delivered every time, add this to the fact that technology makes it easier to lock everything into perfect time, and you get the rigid music that this post is about.

If they were playing in a pub, it would sound sterile, but the groups that people are talking about aren't playing in a bar. They are playing to 50k people in a stadium.

In order to understand why modern music feels more rigid, you need to understand the purpose of pop music, and the scale to which it is now delivered.
Nothing about pop music. I have no interest in what is termed true "Pop" music. I am talking about Rock gigs and most heavily produced music. Nothing to do with genre. Most music now is heavily processed and quantised so it is as close to perfect as it can be, no room for the human touch in most of it. Of course there are pockets of stuff that are not bending to the will of the suits, always has been. It is possible to have all the complexities coming for a big stage to a big audience. I have seen the original Genesis Yes, King Crimson, Family, Neil Young,Stones, Zep etc etc etc and they all pulled it off.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Nothing about pop music. I have no interest in what is termed true "Pop" music. I am talking about Rock gigs and most heavily produced music. Nothing to do with genre.
I think you're still misunderstanding what I'm saying. At a bird's eye view, there is pop music designed for mass appeal, and there is art music designed to experiment with and expand on the foundations of music. Neither one is better than the other.

This thread is talking about modern pop music being too rigid in it's feel. Pop music can be electronic music, rap, rock, et cetera. It doesn't matter what genre, but it does matter that we are talking about popular music. No one is saying that Ornette Coleman, or John Zorn are too rigid, right?


Most music now is heavily processed and quantised so it is as close to perfect as it can be, no room for the human touch in most of it. Of course there are pockets of stuff that are not bending to the will of the suits, always has been.
This is where you are missing the pop part. Pop music is meant to have repeated rhythms over simple harmonies... in some cases, like hip hop, almost no harmony.

This is the point of the music. To create a repeating rhythm that doesn't vary or stray from its rhythmic center. It's meant to be danced to, or have a foot tapped to, it's not trying to challenge your perception of rhythm.

One of the first big pop groups in the US were the Hutchinson Family Singers, who were extremely popular around the 1840s. Not only did they tour the world at the time (which was much slower), they sold music as well. Not recordings, but sheet music. The songs were all fairly simple melodies over a repeating rhythm, that people could dance to, or clap along, et cetera.

As technology has advanced, so has our ability to control that rhythm. What used to be written down could soon be recorded. As recording advanced, we were able to find more accurate and efficient ways to create perfect, unshifting rhythms... it's one of the main points of this type of music.



Of course there are pockets of stuff that are not bending to the will of the suits, always has been.
Yes, this would fall under art music, not the pop music that is in question.


It is possible to have all the complexities coming for a big stage to a big audience. I have seen the original Genesis Yes, King Crimson, Family, Neil Young,Stones, Zep etc etc etc and they all pulled it off.
These are all pop groups, and they almost always kept to a backbeat driven pulse in simple or compound time. I think it's safe to say that if you are playing in stadiums, you're probably playing popular music...

King Crimson was more experimental, where they used some fairly complex song structures, rhythms, and influences from experimental music and jazz. But they were still largely pop music.


Pop music is designed to be have a strict rhythm, and as technology advances, it gets more rigid. If you study up on music history, there is documentation from Rome where people complained that newer music was becoming too rhythmic and not focusing on harmonic complexity. I'm willing to bet that since music has been around, people have been complaining that newer music is too rigid and devoid of substance.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I think you're still misunderstanding what I'm saying. At a bird's eye view, there is pop music designed for mass appeal, and there is art music designed to experiment with and expand on the foundations of music. Neither one is better than the other.

This thread is talking about modern pop music being too rigid in it's feel. Pop music can be electronic music, rap, rock, et cetera. It doesn't matter what genre, but it does matter that we are talking about popular music. No one is saying that Ornette Coleman, or John Zorn are too rigid, right?




This is where you are missing the pop part. Pop music is meant to have repeated rhythms over simple harmonies... in some cases, like hip hop, almost no harmony.

This is the point of the music. To create a repeating rhythm that doesn't vary or stray from its rhythmic center. It's meant to be danced to, or have a foot tapped to, it's not trying to challenge your perception of rhythm.

One of the first big pop groups in the US were the Hutchinson Family Singers, who were extremely popular around the 1840s. Not only did they tour the world at the time (which was much slower), they sold music as well. Not recordings, but sheet music. The songs were all fairly simple melodies over a repeating rhythm, that people could dance to, or clap along, et cetera.

As technology has advanced, so has our ability to control that rhythm. What used to be written down could soon be recorded. As recording advanced, we were able to find more accurate and efficient ways to create perfect, unshifting rhythms... it's one of the main points of this type of music.





Yes, this would fall under art music, not the pop music that is in question.




These are all pop groups, and they almost always kept to a backbeat driven pulse in simple or compound time. I think it's safe to say that if you are playing in stadiums, you're probably playing popular music...

King Crimson was more experimental, where they used some fairly complex song structures, rhythms, and influences from experimental music and jazz. But they were still largely pop music.


Pop music is designed to be have a strict rhythm, and as technology advances, it gets more rigid. If you study up on music history, there is documentation from Rome where people complained that newer music was becoming too rhythmic and not focusing on harmonic complexity. I'm willing to bet that since music has been around, people have been complaining that newer music is too rigid and devoid of substance.
You are still missing the point. It is possible to play any sort of music with the human elastic feel to time and rhythm, and its also possible to play any genre, including what you call "Art" music, rigidly and without any feel. Its down to the musicians involved and how they bounce off each other. So If a piece of music has one chord or 30 it can be played with feel and emotion, or it can be reduced to mathematics and over indulgence. Its not what you play its how you play it.

We are not talking about what you like to term pop music being too rigid in that sense, look at the OP, its about the "Feel" and emotion being compressed and made rigid. I dont care if its Mongolian nose flute music played in 13/11.5, time its how its played or recorded not not how many notes someone can play or how "Arty" they may be.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
You are still missing the point. It is possible to play any sort of music with the human elastic feel to time and rhythm, and its also possible to play any genre, including what you call "Art" music, rigidly and without any feel. Its down to the musicians involved and how they bounce off each other. So If a piece of music has one chord or 30 it can be played with feel and emotion, or it can be reduced to mathematics and over indulgence. Its not what you play its how you play it.

We are not talking about what you like to term pop music being too rigid in that sense, look at the OP, its about the "Feel" and emotion being compressed and made rigid. I dont care if its Mongolian nose flute music played in 13/11.5, time its how its played or recorded not not how many notes someone can play or how "Arty" they may be.

It sounds like some of the musical and musical hsitory terms are throwing you off... I am talking about the "feel" of the songs, exactly as the OP has asked. I'm not saying anything about how many chords are in a song, I don't think you're understanding. Art music and Pop music aren't genres in the way you are thinking, they are music terms...

Here's an example without any musical terminology that might state my point better.

When a popular band tries to play a blues song, it sounds rigid an stiff compared to an actual blues song, I think everyone can agree on that.

Take the song "Baby Please Don't Go" by Big Joe Williams: it's bluesy, emotional, and feels very human in the way that time isn't perfect. Now take Van Morrison, or Aerosmith, or AC/DC doing the same exact song. It's extremely rigid feeling, and most of the original emotion is gone. Instead the feel is completely different, as the goal of the music is different.

Van Morrison et al aren't trying to play the Blues, instead they are playing much more rigid arrangements that have popular appeal.

Today's popular acts are much the same. They are influenced by the acts that come before them, but are molding it to fit today's aesthetic... the same way that the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or whoever did 40-50 years ago.

If someone from the 20s listened to blues groups in the 70s they would say the same thing: the music is too rigid, the players aren't communicating musically, et cetera.

in 40 years, people who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s will be saying the music is too rigid and lacks the feel of their music.


This has been going on since the dawn of time...

This is all I'm saying. It has nothing to do with chords, or time signature, I think that's throwing you off...
 

mikel

Platinum Member
It sounds like some of the musical and musical hsitory terms are throwing you off... I am talking about the "feel" of the songs, exactly as the OP has asked. I'm not saying anything about how many chords are in a song, I don't think you're understanding. Art music and Pop music aren't genres in the way you are thinking, they are music terms...

Here's an example without any musical terminology that might state my point better.

When a popular band tries to play a blues song, it sounds rigid an stiff compared to an actual blues song, I think everyone can agree on that.

Take the song "Baby Please Don't Go" by Big Joe Williams: it's bluesy, emotional, and feels very human in the way that time isn't perfect. Now take Van Morrison, or Aerosmith, or AC/DC doing the same exact song. It's extremely rigid feeling, and most of the original emotion is gone. Instead the feel is completely different, as the goal of the music is different.

Van Morrison et al aren't trying to play the Blues, instead they are playing much more rigid arrangements that have popular appeal.

Today's popular acts are much the same. They are influenced by the acts that come before them, but are molding it to fit today's aesthetic... the same way that the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or whoever did 40-50 years ago.

If someone from the 20s listened to blues groups in the 70s they would say the same thing: the music is too rigid, the players aren't communicating musically, et cetera.

in 40 years, people who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s will be saying the music is too rigid and lacks the feel of their music.


This has been going on since the dawn of time...

This is all I'm saying. It has nothing to do with chords, or time signature, I think that's throwing you off...



"I think it's the same with much of today's music, it's mostly about a rhythm or beat, with some simple chords (often not more than 2 or 3) thrown on the top." (Quote) From one of your earlier posts.

There have been some excellent versions of old blues and Jazz numbers done since the originals, with tons of feel and emotion, and just as many newer ones. To state that all music, apart for your "Art" music, is rigid, and back in whatever day you chose it was better, is just plain wrong.

If an Art act becomes popular will they no longer be an Art band, or will they become a popular art band?
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
It sounds like some of the musical and musical hsitory terms are throwing you off... I am talking about the "feel" of the songs, exactly as the OP has asked. I'm not saying anything about how many chords are in a song, I don't think you're understanding. Art music and Pop music aren't genres in the way you are thinking, they are music terms...

Here's an example without any musical terminology that might state my point better.

When a popular band tries to play a blues song, it sounds rigid an stiff compared to an actual blues song, I think everyone can agree on that.

Take the song "Baby Please Don't Go" by Big Joe Williams: it's bluesy, emotional, and feels very human in the way that time isn't perfect. Now take Van Morrison, or Aerosmith, or AC/DC doing the same exact song. It's extremely rigid feeling, and most of the original emotion is gone. Instead the feel is completely different, as the goal of the music is different.

Van Morrison et al aren't trying to play the Blues, instead they are playing much more rigid arrangements that have popular appeal.

Today's popular acts are much the same. They are influenced by the acts that come before them, but are molding it to fit today's aesthetic... the same way that the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or whoever did 40-50 years ago.

If someone from the 20s listened to blues groups in the 70s they would say the same thing: the music is too rigid, the players aren't communicating musically, et cetera.

in 40 years, people who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s will be saying the music is too rigid and lacks the feel of their music.


This has been going on since the dawn of time...

This is all I'm saying. It has nothing to do with chords, or time signature, I think that's throwing you off...
I think you're way off base, and going the wrong direction, how is this for pop music dancing with flexible time in giant stadiums. The fact is some of the largest stadiums are filled with rhythms that are not rigid:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLyyfCqbwEA
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
It sounds like some of the musical and musical hsitory terms are throwing you off...
Jesus dude, you've got the condescension cranked to 11 here. You can hide behind your vast musicological nonsense all you want, but you really need to see that your consistent use of the word "pop" is absolutely a pejorative and is frustratingly dismissive.

The worst part of it is how you contrast and separate "pop" from "art".

Like King Crimson was a pop band, and thus not art by your definition? I actually think Weather Report was more pop than KC, so they're devoid of art too?

Seriously man, you're killing me.

And this coming from a guy who sells himself to the highest bidder without regard to any artistic merits of a given project, because you're a "professional". Honestly.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
But back to the OP...

My view is that this relatively recent trend toward rigidity in music is more the byproduct of the technology used to produce it than it is some sinister plot by the suits to sterilize all that is righteous and holy about the physical act of playing. If tempos are locked in to a click, then it makes copy/paste edits possible so that arrangement changes can be made post production. It also eliminates the need to get a whole song done in one take because if you have a brilliantly executed verse on take 2 and a magical chorus on take 5, you can stitch them together without having to stretch and quantize to make them fit together. If the drummer is fluid and human-sounding while tracking to the click, it can work – and it’s done all the time.

Unfortunately, too many drummers aren’t very comfortable with clicks so bands and producers are forced to employ various quantization strategies to shove parts together. Yeah, the feel gets sacrificed, but it’s technically correct.

But this isn’t at the insistence of suits in most cases, at least not in my experience. As DED pointed out, most often it’s the bands themselves that drive it. Why? Because in the absence of deep-pocketed labels, they’re footing the bill for the recordings themselves and it’s more efficient to work that way, but it’s also because they’re accustomed to hearing “perfection” that way and they want it too.

Then if they get carried away and start tracking sequenced parts on top of that, then the studio click follows them to the stage so they can reproduce their studio “magic” live.

A lot of this rigidity started back in the ‘80s when drum machines came into wide use, but now that real drummers can be snapped to the grid and copy/paste functions have replaced razor blades and Scotch tape, I don’t think anyone should be surprised that standards for precision have exceeded what’s humanly possible.

Dismayed maybe, but not surprised.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Nobody said it was a sinister plot by suits just that as you have stated most of which i agree with the process has now taken over rather than the making of music . Ultimately a meeting of experts ( suits ) presides over this. My opinion is worthless but then again i'm just a musician not a " musical " business man. The visual aspect has taken over. People now say Yum when they see a photo of food, may as well dance to a Helicopter.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Jesus dude, you've got the condescension cranked to 11 here. You can hide behind your vast musicological nonsense all you want, but you really need to see that your consistent use of the word "pop" is absolutely a pejorative and is frustratingly dismissive.

The worst part of it is how you contrast and separate "pop" from "art".
Those aren't condescending terms, I'm sorry it comes off that way.

Wen you study music, it is typically separated into 2 schools of thought: popular music, and art music.

That's not to say that pop isn't talented, or experimental. I think you are misunderstanding the terms. Popular music has the goal of mass-appeal, making people dance, playing stadiums, et cetera.

Art music is intended to push the boundaries of the avant garde... the cutting edge music.


I think you are under the impression that pop is a bad word. It's not. The Beatles were pop, Ellington was pop, Cole Porter was pop.

Pop music and Art music are categories. Didn't you think to look these terms up before you started getting angry and calling me condescending?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Popular music has the goal of mass-appeal, making people dance, playing stadiums, et cetera.

Art music is intended to push the boundaries of the avant garde... the cutting edge music.

Didn't you think to look these terms up before you started getting angry and calling me condescending?
Dude, OK, we get your point. Pop = mass appeal. Everybody gets it ...thats why its called 'pop'. Short for 'popular'. We are not stupid. One doesn't need a music degree for that. Your poor trombonist got cajoled into playing a 'pop' not 'art' song.

Can't you see you are driving the thread around the bend with a discussion centered on what 'art' is? This is not what people are talking about. Rigidity and feel, not pop vs. art music.

You are misaligning your definitions as well. Music played in stadiums also does not equal pop music. I don't think you have you ever been to stadium show in the 1970's for a Yes or Genesis show. If you were, you would understand there were no 'screaming fans' at such shows demanding music to dance to.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Wen you study music, it is typically separated into 2 schools of thought: popular music, and art music.

Pop music and Art music are categories. Didn't you think to look these terms up before you started getting angry and calling me condescending?
It's funny, as I've studied music in both an academic and professional sense, and that never came up. Pop is pop by virtue of its popularity Art is art by virtue of its ability to convey thought or emotion that is beyond the scope of its media. Any musical work can be either, or, neither, or both.

To be fair, there is an air of condescension. Mainly it is because (like the above) you assume that the posters here haven't studied music for a few decades, lived life as a professional musician, or had successful artistic endeavors... Like in the jazz thread where you referred to a ~40yr old classically trained professional jazz drummer as a 'kid'. I'm fine with it, because it falls perfectly into line with my worldview and expectations of humanity.

What's the George Carlin phrase? Something like, "I'm not condescending, I'm simply better than you".
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Dude, OK, we get your point. Pop = mass appeal. Everybody gets it ...thats why its called 'pop'. Short for 'popular'. We are not stupid. One doesn't need a music degree for that. Your poor trombonist got cajoled into playing a 'pop' not 'art' song.
It's funny, as I've studied music in both an academic and professional sense, and that never came up. Pop is pop by virtue of its popularity Art is art by virtue of its ability to convey thought or emotion that is beyond the scope of its media. Any musical work can be either, or, neither, or both.
That's not what I'm saying at all! I'm saying that the music that is being called rigid is intended to be rigid! It's the point of the music. I'm not trying to have a discussion on what's art and what isn't, I think you're mixing up my terms... or maybe I'm not being clear.

The feel in modern music is more rigid because the popular music of today is designed to be rigid, and we have more technology at our disposal to do so. Nickelback is more rigid than Foghat, is more rigid than Lena Horn, is more rigid than Robert Johnson... classical music was more rigid than Baroque, which was more rigid than renaissance... As technology and instrumentation advances, so does our ability to make more "perfect" music.

These are all popular types of music that aimed for mass appeal. I'm not talking about the genre of pop, but the musicological classification.

Ellington was pop, pretty much every jazz standard every written was a pop tune. Being popular has no bearing on musical talent or compositional talent. 90% of the material that I play comes from popular song (Great American Songbook).

To be fair, there is an air of condescension. Mainly it is because (like the above) you assume that the posters here haven't studied music for a few decades, lived life as a professional musician, or had successful artistic endeavors... Like in the jazz thread where you referred to a ~40yr old classically trained professional jazz drummer as a 'kid'. I'm fine with it, because it falls perfectly into line with my worldview and expectations of humanity.
If I've come across that way, I'm sorry... I'm in my 30s, so the term kid wasn't meant to be condescending. I'm from Boston, and everyone is a kid until they have grey hair petty much. That's what we all call each other. The drummer looked young in the videos, but they weren't close ups... and one was only his hands... He may have studied jazz, but he came across as a rock guy, based on that one video... I'm not trying to come across as a know-it-all, but this is my area of expertise. I love playing/listening to music, musicology, and music history. I tend to be verbose, and probably ramble on about things, but I never mean to be condescending.

I was agreeing with the OP and offering a musical explanation as to why we're seeing music become more rigid. I recently started going back to school for a masters/graduate, and I've been working on a paper on how the "swing" feel from the Baroque period gets lost in the classical period, and is replaced by a more rigid feel... I'm just sharing what I've found and what many musicologists have written about. Again, I'm sorry if I came across as anything but genuinely passionate for the subject.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Tc - you lost me at 'King Crimson - Pop Music'.

You may think you have a vast musicological knowledge but you really stepped in it there. 'Three of a Perfect Pair', I will grant you has pop elements. 'Fracture'? Absolutely not. 'Starless' has poppish verses but a 13/8 bass-led mid-section that is all about tension and release.

Sorry mate, you might think you know what you're saying but you haven't listened to enough King Crimson to throw around what you think they are. I'm afraid you picked an example that entirely invalidates whatever point you're trying to make.

Is 'Drei Klavierstucke' more rigid than 'Verklarte Nacht'? No. It's not. This idea that music becomes 'more rigid' as time has gone is absolute horseshit. The two examples I've just cited are by the same compose and the opposite is true (and separated by four years). Beethoven's symphonies are structurally far freer than a Bach Chorale. I've sat and analysed both and the general principles of Bach are much more rigid - albeit he broke his own conventions on multiple occasions. 20th Century Classical (hate the term, common practice...) music is much, much, much more experimental than anything that came before and broke centuries-old traditions of harmony, instrumentation and concept.

Yes, in popular music since 1950, the style has become more homogenous in general, at least at the very commercial end - but that is a tiny proportion of all the music released as to be, essentially, statistically irrelevant.

Yours sincerely,

The bloke that went to a gig last weekend where there was woman playing a sitar with an axe and Thurston Moore was standing five feet away.
 
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