What do we mean by popular music?

A pop band
A pop band

Popular music is used as a general term to cover lots of styles such as:

  • rock
  • pop
  • reggae
  • hip-hop

Originally there was a clear distinction between popular and classical music. Nowadays the distinction can be more blurred with the two areas of music influencing each other.

Origins of popular music

Modern pop music has been influenced by many styles.

Pop label in middle. Labels for Folk, Jazz, Blues, Country and Gospel surround and point into pop label.

European settlers began travelling to America in the 16th Century and brought with them all of their different musical and cultural experiences.

Slaves were brought from Africa to America in the 17th Century. Elements of black African music, such as rhythms and use of pentatonic scales, have played a major part in developing music in America along with European musical styles.

The combination of African and European musical elements resulted in new styles of popular American music - including ragtime, blues and jazz.