Has harmony/melody technique regressed in popular music?

Whenever I watch videos of producers creating songs it just doesn’t seem like much thought is put into the chord progression and melody. It pretty much seems like everyone does the basic pick a scale - pick chords in that scale - and then pick random notes in that scale until they come up with a melody they “like”.

On a related note, I was watching a tutorial on captain plugins’ “captain chord” plugin and although it made creating chord progressions and melodies simple and easy, it just seemed geared toward that same basic format I described above. Keep in mind that captain plugins is meant to be used by professional producers.

I guess my question is, do modern producers look to advance harmony/melody techniques or is more time spent on developing sounds or maybe something else?

I know this may come off as a criticism, but I’m not saying that whatever’s happening is better or worse, I’m just curious what people’s opinions are or even approaches you use.

I’m having deja vu because I keep seeing this thread pop up under very slight variations.

I think this is what they tell people, but I wouldn’t doubt that hiring a human to help you would be a much better option if you had the means to do so. Mostly it’s probably used by people who had enough $$ for a plugin, as usual.

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yes for pop music

and also no


YES, this is regression. So the Trap music genre was born. And no. Major producers don’t use basic musical scales and diatonic notes, they use their ears and break the rules. but you think it is basic. maybe.


Frankly it is starting to feel like you are fishing for a specific answer with these posts and I don’t think anyone is going to tell you want you want to hear.

Popular music has always had simple melodies and harmonies that made the songs catchy and the lyrics easy to remember. I can’t site you any specific tavern songs from back in the day, but basically the same thing. Then you had the stuff that famous composers were doing with whole orchestras (and my understanding is some of that music isn’t all that complex).

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No producer ever looks to advance what you are saying.
Because you are using a wrong term. Do you know one harmony technique? Or melody technique? As far as i know you made it up. Its like i would be asking: is rfjhhs really substractive? There is no harmony or melody technique to be clearer. Google it.

You might be asking: look to put harmony theory or melody theory into practice.
Most of people don’t learn theory. They play or make music by ear. Advanced theory doesnt mean it is going to be better or more pleasant to listen. It does so, only if you know how to compose it.

Harmony, melody theory has already been explored. All of it. All combinations of 11 notes per octave by theorists and musicians. In practice by all the music, but for example pop less than jazz.

Some professional producers know their scales. If they want to write melody they know how does a b flat bebop scale sound like, so they just click a few times and all is easier. You should hear this scale man. Next question you would be asking would be how can people like complex scales lol. So that is why simple scales are so common. And mostly used. Because, to get some song worldwide known and sold so you think it is all about those you need simplicity, familiarity not to frighten people with all the possibilities of melody as quick as possible. That is why jazz is just less popular than house for example. And makes you think just house exist now and it doesnt pick musical influence from jazz.

More time is spent on other things like mastering, choosing different samples, and purely subjective things.

The basic format you are describing above is actually the most complex format possible. You just dont know how to use is so you have no idea. Listen:
You can choose between every scale possible. You can choose between all the notes possible. You have infinite harmonic and melodic possibilities. Buy all of of my albums on www.getalife.com.
Then make some music, 10 songs with different melodic content. Then check which one you “liked” the most. Then check the scale. Boom.

Ok interesting. I was under the impression that that’s what it was for because of the people they showed using it on their promo videos. I guess the marketing team got me on that one haha

Yeah, I don’t have a great ear for the musical elements in a song like what chords are being used or anything. It’s hard for me to tell just listening to a song what is actually going on.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like there was a time when what was popular was also what was pushing the boundaries and advancing music theory. I may be way off on all of this but from what I can tell it went from classical music to jazz to blues and then when we got to rock, music became more about the sound and style and less about the harmonic/melodic elements… It’s hard to tell if that’s because we’ve done everything we can possibly do musically or if we just moved on to new dimensions.

Yes, but Jazz, Blues etc is the really good and complex music that got remembered. There was tons of vapid popular music that didn’t get remembered. There was also really average Jazz, Blues and Rock that got forgotten too. There has always been really simple popular music and more complex stuff.