Predicting the future of music is a near impossible task. In 1979, they figured that the music of 500 years into the future would sound like this:
All they managed there was crap techno accompanied with ballroom dancing (and oddly, ‘pills’). If there was any future-peering here, the only nail hit on the head would be the preview of the rave scene ten years into the future, but Buck Rogers dancing to techno music and taking pills is hardly going to point to what we will have five hundred years in the future.
I think that future music won’t be far removed from what we have now…. 4:4 time signature (like we’ve had for thousands of years). Alternatives to 4:4 are a distraction more than anything else. We only have to look at Dave Brubeck’s fantastic ‘Take Five’ album to listen to the power of alternative time signatures, but deviations from the norms here don’t figure for a mainstream basis for the future of music. Use of drum and bass elements to create rhythm, and diatonic scales to create melody.
Certain musical acts have hit upon ways of creating music in a dissonant style that suggests a musical sophistication beyond our current era.
- Future Sound of London
- Aphex Twin
Where in reality, future music will most probably continue to adopt real acoustic instruments, the common theme with these kind of acts is their heavy use of synthesizers, and often the use of inhuman or sterile, passionless voices. This idea reinforces the notion that we have of our own future being a dystopian one.
The bit we can’t predict is the cultural difference. Our modern, contemporary and cosmopolitan world has resulted in r+b being the predominantly favourite form of modern music (much to my regret), proving a hit on many different continents. Ultimately, future music will never get around the mainstream desire for ballads, love songs, and feel-good rhetoric. Luckily, there’ll always be a left-field scene to react against that sentiment.