Music past and present

Not one day goes by that you haven’t heard at least 1 song on radio or another device. But what are the differences between the music in the 60’s, 80’s, 00’s and now? Music can be like a therapy, there are different styles, genres and feelings in music. But music also has the capability to entertain, educate and inform. Of course, the music in the 60s isn’t the same as it is now, there are a lot of differences made through the years.

The use of instruments

The “old” music was produced using very simple instruments, such as cello, viola, tuba and trumpet. Of course, there were many other instruments, but these are the most important ones.  In these days, you can just open a computer program and put a few sounds in it and the program will mix them together to create a completely new sound. This had led to a new area in music, you don’t need a musical education, you only need a feeling for music. These days we still use musical instruments, and we like them, but electronic music is more and more a thing.


Back in the days, the genre was very clear to hear and to tell which genre it is. There was either western or Indian, but not the combination. Nowadays, musicians can fit different genres together, so it is impossible to identify them apart.

Method of creation

Old songs heavily depended on melody; the composers took their time to create their own specific music. Making a new song could take several years. Now, the composers often only take a few hours to compose their new song. This is possible thanks to our current knowledge of technology. While we can convincingly say the old songs are a lot better in terms of quality than the new songs, there are a lot of songs of bad quality be it old or new. It’s up to us what we choose to hear and enjoy.

Music in the 60’s

In the 60’s there was a massive rise of popular music styles.  In the 50’s there was the beginning of rock music. But several years later, in the 60’s there were new popular styles, such as jazz, pop and folk music. Folk music was reborn in the 60’s thanks to several performers who wanted to rescue the musical form from what they saw it was. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and the group Peter, Paul and Mary adopted folk styles. They played simple musical arrangements on acoustic instruments, but the songs were filled with political commentary on contemporary issues. Their songs addressed the problems of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.  As the decade continued, folk music merged into folk-rock as performers used electrified instruments and more sophisticated songwriting. The starters of this genre were Bob Dylan and the group Simon and Garfunkel. But rock and roll music was dominated by one group: The Beatles.

Music in the 80’s

The biggest news about music in the 80’s is probably the coming of a television network about music, called MTV. The cable channel soon made the music video very popular and essential. Almost single-handedly, MTV made stars of names all of us know these days, such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Duran Duran.  It also helped bring rap music to the mainstream. The single best-known performer was Michael Jackson. His 1983 album Thriller, with its singles ‘Billy Jean’ and ‘Beat It’, made the former child star a millionaire. Other famous names in the 80’s are Whitney Houston, Prince and Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen’s song ‘Born in the USA’ became an alternative national anthem after its release in 1984.

Music in the 00’s

In the 00’s there was a massive rise of other genres, such as classical, country, hip hop and Latin. Also new bands were formed that you may have heard of! Do you know the bands Art of Noise, Color Me Bad, Kid Dynamite and Rage Against The Machine? Yes? These are just a few examples. This year was also the peak of CD sales in the United States. For the young kids, a CD (Compact Disc) is a digital optical disc data storage to store and play digital audio recordings.

Music now These days the most popular genres are still classical, country, electronic, jazz, Latin, heavy metal, hip hop and rock. The most popular artists still make music and are played daily on one of the many radio stations in the world. Names such as Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran. These names ring a bell, I presume.

Robin Lambrechts

Sources: Taking a Look At The Differences Between Old And New Music
Encyclopedia: 1960s Music
Encyclopedia: 1980s Music
Wikipedia: 2000 in Music
Wikipedia: 2020 in Music
Wikipedia: Compact Disc

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