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date: 01 March 2021

Popular musiclocked

  • Charles Hamm,
  • Robert Walser,
  • Jacqueline Warwick
  •  and Charles Hiroshi Garrett


Although the term is used widely to refer to music that is readily accessible to large numbers of listeners rather than to an elite few, “popular music” is difficult to define precisely because its meaning has shifted historically and because its boundaries are unclear and contested. It has been conventional to conceive of three broad categories of music: popular, art (or classical), and folk. Just as “art music” may refer to Gregorian chant, grand opera, string quartets, and minimalist percussion music, “popular music” is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide set of variously distinct though often related genres. All of these designations are imperfect, and more nuanced understanding of popular music necessitates recognizing the fluidity of musical boundaries, and the constant transformation, adaptation, and impermanence of musical practices. Definitions of popular music seeking to distinguish it from art or folk music usually emphasize its wide appeal, means of dissemination (in particular, mass distribution), and social structure (music of the people; music for a non-elite audience; music for a mass audience)....

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