Adult contemporary music (AC) is a style of music, ranging from 1960s vocal and 1970s soft rock music to predominantly ballad-heavy music of present day with varying degrees of easy listening, soul, rhythm and blues, and rock influence. Adult contemporary is rather a continuation of the easy listening and soft rock style that became popular in the 1960s and 1970s with some adjustments that reflect the evolution of pop/rock music.
Adult contemporary tends to have lush, soothing and highly polished qualities where emphasis on melody and harmonies is accentuated. It is usually melodic enough to get a listener's attention, and is inoffensive and pleasurable enough to work well as background music. Like most of pop music, its songs tend to be written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), as well as the common employment of repeated choruses.
Adult contemporary is heavy on romantic ballads which mostly use acoustic instruments (though bass guitar is usually used) such as acoustic guitars, pianos, saxophones and sometimes an orchestral set. The electric guitars are normally faint and high-pitched. However, recent adult contemporary music may usually feature synthesizers (and other electronics, such as drum machines).
AC radio may play mainstream music, but they will exclude "hip hop", "heavy metal", youth-oriented "hard rock", some "teen pop" music and rhythmic "dance tracks" as they are less popular amongst the target demographic of these radio stations, which is intended for an adult audience. Radio stations playing this format will often target the 18–54 age group, also the demographic that has received the most attention from advertisers since the 1960s.
Over the years, AC has spawned numerous sub-genres: "hot AC", "soft AC" (also known as "lite AC"), "urban AC", "rhythmic AC", and "Christian AC" (i.e., a softer type of Contemporary Christian music). Some radio stations play only "hot AC", "soft AC", or only one of the variety of sub-genres. Therefore, it is not usually considered a specific genre of music; it is merely an assemblage of selected tracks from musicians of many different genres.
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Famous quotes containing the words music, adult and/or contemporary:
“Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence.”
—T.S. (Thomas Stearns)
“Because the young child feels with such intensity, he experiences sorrows that seem inconsolable and losses that feel unbearable. A precious toy gets broken or a good-bye cannot be endured. When this happens, words like sad or disappointed seem a travesty because they cannot possibly capture the enormity of the childs loss. He needs a loving adult presence to support him in his pain but he does not want to be talked out of it.”
—Alicia F. Lieberman (20th century)
“The shift from the perception of the child as innocent to the perception of the child as competent has greatly increased the demands on contemporary children for maturity, for participating in competitive sports, for early academic achievement, and for protecting themselves against adults who might do them harm. While children might be able to cope with any one of those demands taken singly, taken together they often exceed childrens adaptive capacity.”
—David Elkind (20th century)