PHOENIX - We all have our favorite songs that can get us singing along behind the wheel of our car while we blast the music loud enough to drown out our own voices (undoubtedly causing passersby to stare laughingly). However, many of these catchy tunes might not be as upbeat as you would think.
According to an article by Arizona Public Radio , most of the songs that hit the current Top 40 charts have sad-sounding minor keys with different emotional structures than music of past decades.
Compared to the upbeat music of the 1960s, only 18 of the Top 40 songs of 2009 were written in a major key. However, in 1965, all Top 40 sings published by Billboard were written in major keys, according to the article.
But why are people more drawn to the complexity of sad-sounding songs now than in previous decades? Glenn Schellenberg says in the article, "I think that people like to think that they're smart. And unambiguously happy-sounding music has become, over time, to sound more like a cliché."
However, not all today's songs written in minor keys have sad messages. According to the article, many of these songs have positive messages, making them emotionally complicated.
According to the article, Schellenberg believes this complication is intentional.
"People have come to appreciate sadness and ambiguity more. Life is more complicated, and they want the things that they consume as pleasure to be complicated similarly," Schellenberg said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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