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Popular Modern Period Return to List of Periods
The Popular Modern period lasted from 1930 to 2030 approximately.
Popular Modern

Popular Modern is the term used for popular songs, ballads, jazz, and rock music, written from the middle of the 20th century onwards.  Its most salient characteristic is its enormous popularity. Audiences often fill football stadiums, and record sales frequently pass the million mark.

Another characteristic is the relative importance of the performers, compared to the composer. Often the artists performing a song have written it themselves. If not, it is their performance of the song that gives it its character, and the name of the actual composer is probably unknown to everyone involved.  Fans follow performers, not composers.  Record  and CD labels display the names of performers, not composers.

Popular songs and ballads have much in common with folk music. This applies especially to songs popular between 1910 and 1960. They usually are short, have simple memorable tunes, and easily memorable words. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra sang these kinds of catchy tunes, and they were idolized by fans in their heyday. In this period, the musical was a development from light opera, in which songs were strung together with a story. My fair Lady and Oklahoma are fine examples of this genre, and the tunes from these musicals are still heard frequently to the present day.

In the USA, jazz evolved from black spiritual songs, mixed with blues, marching band music and ragtime piano music. In its evolution, jazz passed through Dixieland/New Orleans/Traditional Jazz style, to Swing, to Big Band,  then to Modern Jazz, and finally more or less faded out in 1960 with its evolution into 'Free jazz', in which every player played what they felt like.

Rock music started in the 1960s as rock'n'roll, as an evolution from rhythm and blues combined with country and western. It was characterized by a heavy beat on drums and cymbals, simple chord progressions, and a catchy melody. Since then it has evolved into many variations of rock, including punk, progressive, and  heavy metal.  It is way beyond the scope of Best Classical Tunes to demonstrate, describe or analyse these types of music.

Tunes originating from the Popular Modern period. Audio is available for 71 tunes for this period.
No.Name of WorkComposerCategoryEnsemble
1 A Nightingale Sang in Berkely SquareVariousJazzBig Band
2 A Shanty in Old Shanty TownVariousJazzTrad Jazz Band
3 AlwaysBerlinWaltzRhythm Combo
4 An American in Paris - 3rd theme (Blues)GershwinTone PoemOrchestra
5 And I Love HerMcCartneyPopular SongsOther Ensembles
6 As Time Goes ByVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
7 Bare NecessitiesVariousJazzTrad Jazz Band
8 Belle of the BallAndersonWaltzOrchestra
9 Besame MuchoVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
10 Blue SkiesBerlinJazzBig Band
11 Blue TangoAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
12 CharmaineVariousWaltzPops Orchestra
13 Cheek to CheekBerlinPopular SongsSolo
14 Chicken danceVariousPopular SongsOther Ensembles
15 DaisyVariousSongDuet
16 Days of Wine and RosesVariousPopular SongsOrchestra
17 Deep PurpleVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
18 Don't get around muchEllingtonJazzRhythm Combo
19 Fascinating RhythmGershwinPopular SongsRhythm Combo
20 Forgotten DreamsAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
21 Hey JudeMcCartneyPopular SongsRhythm Combo
22 Home on the RangeVariousSongOther Ensembles
23 How About YouVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
24 I got it BadEllingtonJazzRhythm Combo
25 I Got Rhythm (jazzy clarinet)GershwinJazzRhythm Combo
26 I'm in the Mood for LoveVariousPopular SongsPops Orchestra
27 Lazy RiverVariousJazzBig Band
28 Les Bicyclettes de BelsizeVariousPopular SongsOther Ensembles
29 Let's Call The Whole Thing Off.GershwinJazzRhythm Combo
30 Lullaby of BirdlandVariousJazzRhythm Combo
31 Memory from 'Cats'.Lloyd-WebberPopular SongsOther Ensembles
32 Moonlight SerenadeVariousJazzBig Band
33 My Fair LadyLoewePopular SongsOrchestra
34 Once in a WhileVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
35 Over the RainbowVariousPopular SongsOrchestra
36 Que Sera, SeraVariousWaltzPops Orchestra
37 Rampart Street ParadeVariousJazzRhythm Combo
38 Rhapsody in BlueGershwinConcertoOrchestra
39 Rudolph the Red-nosed ReindeerVariousPopular SongsSolo
40 Santa Claus is Coming to TownVariousPopular SongsSolo
41 Sleigh RideAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
42 Smoke gets in your EyesKernPopular SongsRhythm Combo
43 Snow White and the seven DwarfsVariousPopular SongsPops Orchestra
44 Someone to Watch Over MeGershwinPopular SongsRhythm Combo
45 South PacificRodgersPopular SongsOrchestra
46 Stranger On the ShoreBilkJazzPops Orchestra
47 Summer TimeGershwinJazzPops Orchestra
48 Syncopated ClockAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
49 Taking a Chance on LoveVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
50 The Lady is a TrampRodgersJazzBig Band
51 The Phantom of the OperaLloyd-WebberPopular SongsOrchestra
52 The Sound of MusicRodgersPopular SongsOrchestra
53 When You Wish Upon a StarVariousPopular SongsPops Orchestra
54 Who's Sorry NowVariousPopular SongsTrad Jazz Band
55 YesterdayMcCartneyPopular SongsOrchestra
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