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  • Writer's pictureJay EuDaly

A Hit Instrumental Song is Almost an Oxymoron

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

FYI: to get the full gist, you'll need to follow the links - I believe in you!

Those who follow me know that I generally avoid curating other people's material instead of producing my own. This is one of those times I'm featuring something other than my own blither-blather.

Ted Gioia is a musicologist I follow over on Substack - The Honest Broker. A recent article of his features a guest contributor, Chris Dalla Riva. Chris, in Ted's words,

"...combines a deep grasp of music history with probing data analytics."

So I'm actually curating a piece that Ted Gioia has curated, thus doubling my transgression of the no-curating rule!

You should read the following articles of mine to understand why I find Chris' article so interesting; it supports what I've been saying all along! Only better! With math and graphs 'n stuff.

First of all, back in February of 2018 I wrote a piece called, Listen With Your Eyes? A Gigantic Step Backwards!

That article was an exploration of a statement made by my teacher and mentor concerning the lack of sophistication in the musical content of current Pop Music:

"Popular music consistently progressed for 900 years and then in the 1950's it took a gigantic step backwards from which it has never recovered." (John Elliott).

In tracing that de-evolution I identified two main factors, both of which were predicated on electricity:

  1. Increasing volume due to amplification

  2. Television

Then in September of 2018 I published, The Decline of the Guitar God.

In that article I talked about how pop music was guitar-centric from the 1950's through the '80's. Starting in the '90's with the rise of Rap, Hip Hop and various other genres of Electronica, the guitar has become marginalized in Pop Music.

Chris Dalla Riva has confirmed both these things in his article, The Decline and Fall of the Hit Instrumental Song.

As Ted Gioia says,

"...he looks at the disappearance of hit instrumental songs over a period of almost 80 years. This is one of the most significant music trends of the last century, but rarely discussed and almost never analyzed."

The short story?

  1. Amplification

  2. Television

  3. The rise of Hip Hop in the '90's

Dude! Affirmation is a beautiful thing! 👍😁

Anyway, if you haven't already, read my articles; they're from a more guitar-centric perspective;

Then head over to Ted Gioia's place and read,

Or just skip my stuff and read Chris Dalla Riva; it really is worth your time, if you're interested.


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