Aaron Copland invents the sound of pop music

Aaron Copland invented the sound of pop music. In two works from the early 1940s – the Violin Sonata and Appalachian Spring – he introduced a specific, independent harmonic entity which has defined pop music since 1970. This harmonic entity consists of a chord built a fifth above the root. 
 

Aaron Copland: Sonata for Violin and Piano (1943)

Copland, Violin Sonata


 

Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring – Ballet in one act for full orchestra (1944)

Appalachian Spring


 

Here are just a few of the many famous pop songs that have used this chord…

“So Far Away” (Carole King)

“If You Leave Me Now” (Chicago)

“Josie” (Steely Dan)

“Sailing” (Christopher Cross)

“Love’s Theme” (Barry White)

“One On One” (Hall & Oates)

“Beth” (Kiss)

Beth

“You may contribute a verse…”

H. C. Benedict, “Original And Unique The P. and H. Process Of Negative Development” (1939)

The question, O me! so sad, recurring — What good amid these,
O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here — that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I’m thinking of you Mary Anne…