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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 75 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 Ain't She SweetVariousPopular SongsOther Ensembles
4 Along the Road to GundagaiVariousPopular SongsTrad Jazz Band
5 AlwaysBerlinWaltzRhythm Combo
6 An American in Paris - 3rd theme (Blues)GershwinTone PoemOrchestra
7 And I Love HerMcCartneyPopular SongsOther Ensembles
8 Autumn LeavesVariousPopular SongsOrchestra
9 Bare NecessitiesVariousJazzTrad Jazz Band
10 Belle of the BallAndersonWaltzOrchestra
11 Besame MuchoVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
12 Blue SkiesBerlinJazzBig Band
13 Blue TangoAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
14 CharmaineVariousWaltzPops Orchestra
15 Chattanooga Choo ChooVariousJazzBig Band
16 Cheek to CheekBerlinPopular SongsSolo
17 Chicken danceVariousPopular SongsOther Ensembles
18 DaisyVariousSongDuet
19 Days of Wine and RosesVariousPopular SongsOrchestra
20 Deep PurpleVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
21 Don't get around muchEllingtonJazzRhythm Combo
22 Elizabethan SerenadeBingeShort PieceOrchestra
23 Fascinating RhythmGershwinPopular SongsRhythm Combo
24 Forgotten DreamsAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
25 Hey JudeMcCartneyPopular SongsRhythm Combo
26 Home on the RangeVariousSongOther Ensembles
27 How About YouVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
28 I got it BadEllingtonJazzRhythm Combo
29 I Got Rhythm (jazzy clarinet)GershwinJazzRhythm Combo
30 I'm in the Mood for LoveVariousPopular SongsPops Orchestra
31 Lazy RiverVariousJazzBig Band
32 Les Bicyclettes de BelsizeVariousPopular SongsOther Ensembles
33 Let's Call The Whole Thing Off.GershwinJazzRhythm Combo
34 Lullaby of BirdlandVariousJazzRhythm Combo
35 Memory from 'Cats'.Lloyd-WebberPopular SongsOther Ensembles
36 Moonlight SerenadeVariousJazzBig Band
37 My Fair LadyLoewePopular SongsOrchestra
38 Once in a WhileVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
39 Over the RainbowVariousPopular SongsOrchestra
40 Que Sera, SeraVariousWaltzPops Orchestra
41 Rampart Street ParadeVariousJazzRhythm Combo
42 Rhapsody in BlueGershwinConcertoOrchestra
43 Rudolph the Red-nosed ReindeerVariousPopular SongsSolo
44 Santa Claus is Coming to TownVariousPopular SongsSolo
45 Sleigh RideAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
46 Smoke gets in your EyesKernPopular SongsRhythm Combo
47 Snow White and the seven DwarfsVariousPopular SongsPops Orchestra
48 Someone to Watch Over MeGershwinPopular SongsRhythm Combo
49 South PacificRodgersPopular SongsOrchestra
50 Stranger On the ShoreBilkJazzPops Orchestra
51 Summer TimeGershwinJazzPops Orchestra
52 Syncopated ClockAndersonShort PiecePops Orchestra
53 Taking a Chance on LoveVariousPopular SongsRhythm Combo
54 The Lady is a TrampRodgersJazzBig Band
55 The Phantom of the OperaLloyd-WebberPopular SongsOrchestra
56 The Sound of MusicRodgersPopular SongsOrchestra
57 When You Wish Upon a StarVariousPopular SongsPops Orchestra
58 Who's Sorry NowVariousPopular SongsTrad Jazz Band
59 YesterdayMcCartneyPopular SongsOrchestra
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