Classroom Resources

A History of Modern Music

If you want to teach music to your students here are two great websites. Now this is applying technology to a fun, but informative use!

Guardian’s interactive history of modern music


Music fans and technology geeks alike will enjoy the Guardian’s interactive history of modern music. It all serves a purpose and comes together in a beautiful package that takes you through 50 key defining moments in music history in different genres. I’d love to see if include a few more moments and bring a little more information to the top from the articles it links to. But, for music appreciators it’s great fun to walk through some musical history and learn some more about the roots of what we call modern music.

In a seven-part series, Guardian and Observer critics chart the history of modern music, tackling a different genre each day and picking 50 key moments. Use this interactive guide to travel through time and see their selections. The Guardian‘s infographic revolves around a rather ingenious scrolling interface: Each band represents a different music genre, and stories along the timeline get little bubble markers. These in turn are color coded by story type, whether it’s a “death” or a “new sound,” and you can click to read more.


Google Music Timeline

Google found a great way to use the data from the people who uploaded songs to Google Play Music. Google Music Timeline “shows genres of music waxing and waning, based on how many Google Play Music users have an artist or album in their music library, and other data (such as album release dates). Each stripe on the graph represents a genre; the thickness of the stripe tells you roughly the popularity of music released in a given year in that genre”. The timeline starts in 1950, data is is normalized by the total number of albums from a certain year and there’s no classical music. Mouse over a genre to find popular albums, search for an album or artist.

Artists are then categorised by genre, and genres subdivided. What it provides, then, is a rough-and-ready map of the popularities of genres and artists over the years. Bear in mind, it’s not logging what people listen to, but what they own. And equally, note that Google Play users are a pretty small subset of music fans.



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