Die Neue Langeweile in der Musik

New Boring is the New Wave

Über die Gründe der Neuen Langeweile in der Musik (New Boring as New Wave) hat im Guardian einen interessanten Text geschrieben mit dem Titel: “The Millennial Whoop: the melodic hook that’s taken over pop music”. Dieser Text geht auch zurück auf eine Veröffentlichung von Patrick Metzger auf seinem Blog “The Pattening”. Dort schreibt er unter…

“The Millennial Whoop: A glorious obsession with the melodic alternation between the fifth and the third

I like to call this melodic snippet the ‘Millennial Whoop.’ It’s a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an ‘Oh’ phoneme, often in a ‘Wa-oh-wa-oh’ pattern. And it is in so many pop songs it’s criminal. The musical figure is probably best exemplified by Katy Perry’s 2010 song “California Gurls” (featuring Snoop Dogg). […] In ‘California Gurls’, we first hear it at 0:51 as a kind of foreshadowing to its more memorable usage within the chorus at 1:05 (and multiple times in every chorus thereafter).
The beauty of such a short melodic sequence (simply the repetition of two notes over and over) is that no one can own it. […]
[W]here does the Millennial Whoop come from? […] [A]s Leonard Bernstein pointed out in his lecture series The Unanswered Question, seem to transcend cultures across the globe. It’s the kind of musical phrase that we seem to know instinctively and that has a relationship to the overtone series embedded in every single note we hear.[…]
So it is that the Millennial Whoop evokes a kind of primordial sense that everything will be alright. You know these notes. You’ve heard this before. There’s nothing out of the ordinary or scary here. You don’t need to learn the words or know a particular language or think deeply about meaning. You’re safe. In the age of climate change and economic injustice and racial violence, you can take a few moments to forget everything and shout with exuberance at the top of your lungs. Just dance and feel how awesome it is to be alive right now. Wa-oh-wa-oh.”

Gavin Hayes weißt darauf hin:

“Naturally, the Whoop is not the first time pop music has eaten itself – there was the Bo Diddley Beat as far back as the 1950s. Some melodic ideas transcend all cultures. Axis of Awesome’s 4 Chords speared the I-V-vi-IV chord progression that underlies hundreds of hits. And there are never going to be more than 12 notes on the western scale. But given that a 2012 study concluded that the diversity of melodies used over the preceding 55 years had shrunk dramatically, the ubiquitous Whoop’s smothering two-note baby-talk emotional register means that your sense of pop music dumbing down may not be entirely down to ageing.”

Es ist also sogar wissenschaftlich bewiesen, dass es nicht nur einfach der Millenium Whoop ist, sondern die Musik ist tatsächlich scheiß-langweilig geworden, weil sie enorm an Komplexität verloren hat. “the ‘diversity of … note combinations … has consistently diminished in the last 50 years'”. das ergab eine Untersuchung aus Spanien, die in Nature veröffentlicht wurde (hier, wers nachlesen möchte). Die Forscher haben dafür immerhin 464411 Songs von 1955 bis 2010 untersucht.

“Thus, beyond the global perspective, we observe a number of trends in the evolution of contemporary popular music. These point towards less variety in pitch transitions, towards a consistent homogenization of the timbral palette, and towards louder and, in the end, potentially poorer volume dynamics.”

Sean Michaesls schreibt über diese Studie im Guardian und erklärt einige Punkte der Forscher näher:

“When researchers write about ‘pitch transitions’, they mean the way notes are used – the variety of intervals, and the difference between one melody and another. Melodies are becoming more and more similar, Serra explained to Reuters. ‘We obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations – roughly speaking chords plus melodies – has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.’
Not only are the melodies of songs more similar than they used to be, the timbral palette employed – the sounds of the instruments – has also grown narrower. A trumpet’s sound, its ‘timbre’, is very different to the sound of an electric guitar or electric piano. But now, apparently, songs are relying on a much smaller range of timbres than in the past. When so many instruments are synthesised, perhaps, or rely on digital processing, the trumpet begins to lose its trumpet-ness.
Finally, the research team found scientific evidence for the so-called ‘loudness war’. Owing to mastering and compression techniques, new songs are literally louder than old songs. Or, as the scientists put it: ‘The empiric median of the loudness values x grows from −22 dBFS to −13 dBFS, with a least squares linear regression yielding a slope of 0.13 dB/year (p < 0.01, t-test).’ Despite this fact, the Spanish team also found that songs’ ‘absolute dynamic variability has been conserved’ over the years. In other words, the overall dynamic range of recordings – the distance between a song’s quietest and loudest moments – has remained more or less the same.”

Und zum Schluss nochmals kurz von mir zusammengefasst, warum die meiste Musik heute so scheiße und langweilig klingt, wie schon 1000x gehört:

  • Der Millenium Whoop ist eine Phrase, die in vielen Songs vorkommt
  • Es wird ein geringerer Tonumfang in vielen Songs verwendet
  • Auch die Dynamik ist sehr gering, also leise Stellen in Songs sind nicht wirklich leise und die Unterschiede zwischen leiseren und lauteren Stellen sind sehr gering
  • Viele Instrumente werden auf ein gewisses Klangbild gebracht. Entweder durch Synthetisierung (Instrument wird nicht real gespielt, sondern von einem Synthesizer) oder dorch digitale Überarbeitung. Der eigentliche, unnachahmliche Klang verschiedener Instrumente geht verloren.
  • Und was mir oft auffällt: Es wird viel bereinigt. Rauschentfernung tötet auch wichtige Frequenzen ab. Fehler und ungewollte Verzerrungen oder Mitschwingungen (Obertöne) werden in Aufnahmen beseitigt, was vielen Songs die Lebendigkeit nimmt. Sop ist der Boom der Platte vielleicht auch die Sehnsucht danach, mal wieder nicht pefekt alles zu hören, sondern auch mal wieder ein Knistern. “Es knistert! Es lebt!”