Back in the 90’s and early to mid 2000’s, the main form of music heard on the radio was rock. You would’ve definitely heard pop and dance in there, but that was not as hot a style. There were many different sub-genres of music inside of the overall umbrella of rock. There was punk rock, pop rock, metal, hard rock, acoustic rock, alternative rock, but it was all rock. It was all guitar-driven.
In the early to mid 2000’s, something started to be added to rock music: electronics. It was very subtle at first, but people enjoyed it. It sounded new, refreshing, exciting! It became so amazing that eventually guitar-driven music started fading out. It was replaced by piano/keyboard driven music. This doesn’t mean that guitars were taken out, but just that they were not the basis for writing songs.
One of the major proponents of this new style was Coldplay. They seemed to take the U2 style of sound but place it on a keyboard-driven base. One of their major contributions to coming out of the guitar-driven music era and into the keyboard-driven era was the song “Clocks.” Not only did they set the stage for many songs to follow in the music style, but also in the rhythm style. It is a style that is 4/4 timing in nature, but has syncopated accents on the 1st, 4th, and 7th eighth notes creating a 3–3–2 kind of style. After that song, many artists tried to make the same rhythm or similar kinds.
With all of the switching between guitar and keyboard-driven music, one type of beat came into the absolute forefront: 4-on-the-floor. This means that the bass drum always played on the quarter notes in 4/4 timing: Beats 1, 2, 3, 4.
One thing about this new electronic age is that, although it is not the 80’s, different bands took 80’s styles and modified or upgraded them to sound modern. The way musicians and bands would do this is through MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) to DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations). In other words, they would plug a USB from their keyboard into their computer, and use computer sounds generated from music programs (DAWs) such as Garage Band, Logic Pro, Main Stage, Fruity Loops, Ableton, Cakewalk, or Cubase. Thus, they would be able to add their own sounds, modifications, and effects, and save the settings right on a computer, or even a tablet/smartphoone. This has proven extremely useful for musicians, as they can now carry around their sounds with them, and load an entire set of songs with the click of a button.
Something also happened musically to music — it seemed to get much more moody, as the different types/styles of sounds were added to the mix. As a musician, you also started seeing much more maj7 (major 7th) chords added, especially to the root of the 4th note in each key (ex. you would see an Fmaj7 chord in the key of C, or a Dmaj7 chord in the key of A).
There were also some things lost in all of this — one was that you didn’t see as many “2” or “sus” chords being used. They didn’t need to be used, because the music was based on keyboard, not guitar. In guitar, you might use a “2” chord on the 4th note of each key, and a “sus” chord on the 5th note of each key, if you were playing guitar (ex. In the key of G, you would see a “C2” chord, and a “Dsus” chord, or in the key of E, you would see an “A2” chord, and “Bsus”chord.
With every new and upcoming style, something is taken, and something is given. I still wonder what will be the next major style coming out in the next few years?