If music was a game, the pop genre would have forever been known as a cheater. Originally existed to be of anything that rock genre couldn’t do, now pop practically means anything that is popular. Pop music takes greatest advantage by absorbing everything around it and amalgamate them into the things that already exist within itself.
You could say that pop music has almost no absolute boundary.
Back at it again with Japan
In one of my much earlier post, I’ve talked about how pop music, specifically Japanese and eventually anime pop, started using electric guitar as one of the occurring lead instruments. This ultimately results in pop music extending its boarder all the way, interloping with the equally (used to be much less known) popular rock genre.
In this post, let’s look into how pop music makes use of its characteristic, that is pop literally meaning popular, to go even further.
Absorb and mix!
If you happen to be well versed with mainstream pop or just anime music that is heavily involved in idol type shows, it will come to no surprise that today, a lot of them contain classical band instruments!
Especially as of current (let’s just mark the time being 2017 so the future readers know), it is heavily expected among fans to see mainstream pop idol groups dancing along with their songs in music videos.
By dance I don’t obviously mean just get on the floor and look crazy; dance choreography becomes the most important part of mainstream pop music in Asian countries today.
So to dance, you will obviously want music which can get you to do exactly that. If you’re just sticking to the most basic then anything electro-beat will do just fine. Going above a few levels and you will meet dance-pop, a sub genre or rather a combination of electric dance and generic pop. They have a few notable characteristics shared among both genres it adapts from:
- Uptempo, upbeat music intended for clubs, with a danceable or dance-centered nature.
- Catchy songs with an easy, pop-based structure
- A strong emphasis on beats and grooves
- Prominent hooks
- Simple lyrics
- Polished productions
Some of the best examples of this, while not Japanese, is PSY’s Gangnam Style.
But Japanese music composers always love to take everything to the next level so it feels like a grand achievement, no matter the task. So they add more energy into the already danceable pop songs. The easiest way about it is to use trumpets and trombones combination, one as lead and the other as backing instruments or vice versa.
What energy, you might ask? Perhaps looking back to the history of an instrument may well explain it to you.
Trumpets and Trombones have a history, you know?
Both instruments have similar uses back in the early days, mainly used as signaling devices for the military (especially for the trombones which were used to also signal arrivals of important personnel). Basically they were the whistles of the old age. It was done with a single, flat tone as well; there were no variations like the ones you see today due to technological rudimentary.
With the sounds going off, it’s a no brainer that soldiers respond with zealous salutation. They are tireless and committed, just like you, the person who is listening to your favorite tracks involving these two instruments.
In case you’re wondering, since both trumpets and trombones are now considered music instruments, a bugle still exists as the blueprint to an earliest form of trumpet–the simplest form of brass instruments–used to do the signaling tasks.
Let’s get some examples in here!
I wouldn’t be writing up this post if I didn’t wonder about why I was heavily enticed by audaciously loud noises of the trumpets. I’m glad that my wonder is nearly coming to an end for this specific topic.
Firstly, let’s hear some anime song because you know, this is animewonders.
Love Live! School Idol Project second season‘s last ending song has always been my number one favorite (not even Alfredeo will be able to convince me out of this!).
Coming off AKB0048 we have… well… AKB48 giving out an insert song for a rather happy emotional scene. A great music to accompany such feeling is no other than one with energy!
Notice that in this song, while it is of the exact same genre, the presence of those instruments are prominent as they are used as the lead.
Ponytail to Shushu
Last but not least, this one is much more recent. TrySail’s latest single lives up to its very name with trumpets as one of the lead instruments. It is also one of those songs I mentioned to be taking pop to the next level as it a pop song combined with the use of electric guitar and wind brass instruments.
I can’t actually find an instrumental version that can be played on the spot but here is a link to DropBox, otherwise just stick to the same old anime version with vocals.
Not that it matters a lot for this song because the instruments in question are overpowering the vocals, haha!
I should have included some thing about Hibike! Euphonium as the entirety of its discography is a legitimate example of movement towards this very trend.
All of its openings and endings for both seasons and movies pretty much incorporates music band instruments with pop.