Much of the best music of the last three decades has come from experiments with rhythm and sound at the expense of melody and harmony.

Another blog article, How Music Listening Has Changed, makes the broader claim that music listening is essentially different now than it was back in the day. That article calls out six reasons, including less melody and harmony. Here is where to discuss the claim about melody and harmony.

This is my short versionĀ of the melody and harmony (then and now) story:

Earlier rock and soul music were propelled by rhythm, but also by strong melodies and harmonies. You could sing along and often harmonize with your favorite songs, even as you also tapped your feet or shook your booty.

Beginning in the 1980s, new music from the rhythmic thrusts of rap, funk, and punk had little concern for melody or harmony. Different sounds and attitudes, like heavy metal, dub, electronica, trip-hop, and dissonance-infused indie/alternative rock also marked a break with previous music.

These days, country music and some pop music have strong melodies, but even most indie rock emphasizes sound and rhythm more than melody and harmony.

Much of the best music of the last three decades has come from experiments with rhythm and sound at the expense of melody and harmony. Just as older elements of pop coexisted with rock and soul for years, so do older elements of rock and soul coexist now with today's less melodic rap, punk, pop, and the indie scene.

Do melody and harmony matter to your enjoyment of music listening? Do you agree that today's music is less about melody and harmony than it used to be?