What Is Period Music?

How Specific Do You We Need To Get?

Can you envision a time when we look fondly back on the early 2010s and sigh as we listen to an ear piercing Dubstep track? Or perhaps the question should be, what style of music would best define this era? As we progress and diverge as a society with music becoming as equally diverse by preference, the media we choose to consume and lifestyle choices, is there a unifying song—or musical style—that will define all of us moving forward?

We at CSS Music keep abreast of the traditional/standard eras that comprise the genre known as Period Music. For example, a track like Vivaldi’s “Spring From The Four Seasons” (Digital Ditties 3) immediately transports us to a European garden party in the early 1700s. Or a cut such as “Blues Around The Clock” (Super Themes 29) takes us to the early 1950’s and the beginnings of Rock ‘n Roll. Or a song like “More Cowbell” (Target Trax 63) will send you back to an early 1970s outdoor rock concert.

But as we look at our new century, what songs/music genres will immediately evoke a sense of say, the year 2004? At CSS Music, our immediate choice would be the infectious “Hey Ya!” from Outkast. But surprisingly, Usher’s “Yeah!” topped the Billboard® charts that year. While “Hey Ya!” played on nearly every radio format save Country, if you only listen to Adult Contemporary radio, you may have never heard “Yeah!”

Perhaps your job these days as a Music Supervisor or Editor is to drill down into the statistics of your audience. If you’re producing an outdoor show and want to reference 2004, maybe a music track that evokes the feel of Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” would resonate more with your viewers since it was a big Country hit.

What was once defined as Period Music may now be parsed into sub genres so specific that even a music style as broad based as Pop may yield three or four different results, depending on a very narrow breakdown of demographics. Or we can hope for a song like “I’m So Happy” that crossed over to nearly every radio format a few years ago. Without that, be prepared to really put on your thinking cap when trying to capture nostalgia in the future!