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

accompagnato

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, “Youth at a restaurant night club…” (ca. 1941)

accompagnato

Scarlatti went to dinner with
Scriabin and Rameau
and at the table next to them were
Schoenberg and Milhaud

Scarlatti sang 440 “A”
to catch the waiter’s ear
Arnold sang eleven more
and Webern drank his beer

—J.S.

Remembering Allan Holdsworth

I was saddened to read recently of the passing of Allan HoldsworthThis is a transcription I did a long time ago of his “In The Dead Of Night” solo. I saw him in the fall of 1983 and remember how much he inspired me.

“Hats off, gentlemen—a genius!”

—Robert Schumann, Review of Chopin’s variations on Mozart’s “Là ci darem la mano,” Op. 2 In “Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung”, Vol. 33, no. 49 (December 7, 1831)
 



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.

Below I have highlighted the scores and given audio examples of both Copland works.

Copland, Aaron: Sonata for Violin and Piano (1943) for violin and piano

Copland, Violin Sonata

Copland, Aaron: 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