Commercial Pop fingerprints
Disco & Funk
Synth Pop, Latin Pop, Progressive Pop, Indie Pop
Vocals and BVs, drums, percussion, bass, electric guitar, piano, electric piano, organ, horn section (trumpet sax and trombone), string section. Synthesizers, drum machines, samplers
Performance and Arrangement
- Emotional vocal delivery either forceful and high energy or reflective and passionate.
- Simple message.
- Ensemble backing vocals (bvs) with several singers singing harmony
- Driving rhythms from drums (with snare doing back beat on 2 + 4) and percussion (tambourine/shakers)
- Bass often Riff-based, often with synthesisers and drum machines.
- Piano and guitar play chords rhythmically (‘chordal parts’) playing off-beat giving them more of a rhythmic than melodic role.
- Dance music, therefore tempo was quite fast (120bpm or faster)
- Slower tempo for ballads
- Regular use of hooks or riffs in the instrumental and vocal parts
- Use of Call and Response throughout
- The use of a Musical Hook
- Simple structures (verse/chorus form with bridge).
Technology and Production
- Multi-track tape machines (up to 24 track).
- Whole bands recorded in as overdubs for better separation and post production
- Use of DI (direct input) in the guitar and basses.
- Use of Synths
- Use of Drum Machines
- Use of Samplers
- Close Mic drum recording and replacement
- Vocals Overdubbed
- Extensive vocal processing (e.g. Autotune, Chorus, double-tracking)
- Compression used (such as the Teletronix LA2A).
- Extreme Panning used in stereo mixes such as all drum and bass on the left side.
- Electronic instruments such as the Hammond Organ or Fender Rhodes electric piano.
- The Beatles
- David Bowie
- Michael Jackson
- Bruno Mars
- Billie Eilish