I am reading a book written by an author who criticizes popular music for "its constand reversion to the tonic, the insistent repetition of its rhythms, the inevitability of its melodic lines, its extreme harmonic poverty."
(Bachmann, M-L. (Parlett, D., transl)  2002. Dalcroze today: An education through and into music. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 186.
But does this generalization really apply? If my musical memory serves me right, "Surfer Girl," sung by the Beach Boys, begins with a phrase which surprisingly ends on measure 7 instead of measure 8. During that 7-measure phrase, we are treated to a wealth of substitution chords and secondary dominant chords.
On the other hand, Lully's well-known song, "Au clair de la lune," is erected on the overworn AABA blueprint. The A phrases end predictably on the tonic and the B phrase ends predictably on the dominant.
The Mozart sonata in A major, K 331, begins with a 4-measure antecedent and a 4-measure consequent which end, lo and behold, on the dominant and tonic, respectively. The first two measures of the two phrases are exactly the same. Furthermore, there is only one chord besides the tonic and dominant.
Next is a 4-measure B phrase ending on the dominant, just as in Lully's song. In the restatement, Mozart finally surprises us with an extension.
Because of the perfect symmetry of the first 8 measures, those 8 meaures have been acclaimed as "the most perfect melody ever written." Yet Bachmann condemns popular music for the very same trait. Let us be consistent!
What do you think?
Does Bachmann have a valid criterion for good and bad music, or not?
Does Bachmann's generalization about popular and classical music really apply, or not?