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It is tempting to confuse pop music with popular music.
Pop Music is to be distinguished from Popular music which belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. Popular music stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local audiences. Although popular music sometimes is known as "pop music", the two terms are not interchangeable. Popular music is a generic term for music of all ages that appeals to popular tastes, whereas pop music usually refers to a specific musical genre.
Pop Music has primarily come into usage to describe music that evolved out of the rock 'n roll revolution of the mid-1950's and continues in a definable path to today.
Pop Music is an ample and imprecise category of modern music not defined by artistic considerations but by its potential audience or prospective market. Pop is music composed with deliberate intent to appeal to the majority of its contemporaries.
Pop Music, music which is produced for the lowest common denominator, and to appeal to the broadest possible audience, to which a strict format is usually adhered. Musicologists have the characteristics down as the following:
In opposition to music that requires education or formation to appreciate, a defining characteristic of pop music is that anyone is able to enjoy it. Artistic concepts such as complex musical form and aesthetics are not a concern in the writing of pop songs, the primary objectives being audience enjoyment and commercial success.
In contrast to genres with clear origins and a traceable evolution, pop developed, and continues to expand, as a haphazard merging of styles. Pop is an amalgam of successive fashions, of elements of many differing styles that have been successful over the years and have ended up incorporated into the genre.
Multiple references are given to give the broadest, yet clearest description of this unique genre.
NMAAM’s focus on this particular type of music provides dialogue on current, evolving genres as well as historical counterparts initiated or influenced by African Americans and recognizes that Pop Music represents a gradual process that in small increments has grown since the 1950’s. This genre has accumulated many aspects to bring about significant change in how music is produced, performed and disseminated.
NMAAM cites that the fusion of multiple genre characteristics, as seen in Pop Music, offers a unique perspective of future genre development. It is distinctive in its lightening-like surfacing from post 1950’s through the technology revolution of today. Originating within US borders it may be the foundational example of ‘world genres’ to come.
NMAAM identifies cross-categorization as a natural conclusion of genre advancement as ongoing, in depth research occurs. Thus, artists such as Ray Charles, Anita Baker and Justin Timberlake become examples of musicians who have excelled/excel in more than one genre.
NMAAM leads the way in the exploration, discovery, archiving, and most importantly, the sharing of African American music legacies ‘in the making’; a music heritage that’s still being defined, even today.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American recording artist, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most-awarded female act of all-time.
Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller", were credited with transforming the medium into an art form.
In the year 2000, Aguilera consolidated her stardom by performing at the White House Christmas gala and the Super Bowl halftime show, and winning a Grammy for Best New Artist.
Michael McDonald has a unique and immediately recognizable voice that has soared through pop, rock and R&B hits for four decades. He has enjoyed sustained success while retaining his personal sound and values.
Anita Baker's voice is a rich, romantic contralto, her songs steeped in passion and feeling. She grew up listening to female jazz singers like Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and Ella Fitzgerald.
A singer, songwriter, actor, and producer, Timberlake’s solo recording career began in 2001 and his brand of pop has been so successful that he's been branded ‘The new King of Pop.’
Blind from the age of seven, Charles was a gifted pianist and saxophonist who taught himself to compose and arrange music by Braille, then became one of the most successful artists of the 20th century.
Johnny Mathis has combined the microphone mastery of the crooners, the vocal depth and technique from classical training, and the image of innocence connected with the teen idols of the 1950s and 1960s.
Usher has risen from genuine teen idol to mature pop star. He received a 1998 Grammy award nomination for Best Male R&B vocal performance and has launched a successful acting career and media empire.
National Museum of African American Music
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The National Museum of African American Music will stand as an international iconic cultural museum dedicated to the vast contributions African Americans have made in music.