Robert Philen has a new piece on his wide-ranging and always-fascinating blog on some of the interactions between art music and popular music. In this piece, titled simply Art Music and Popular Music, Philen lays out three modes or methods that art music composers use to bridge the gap between popular culture and high art (and also points out that this traffic travels along a two-way street, with popular music composers and performers drawing on art music as well). Along the way, he makes the important point "that there are at least two different ways of conceptualizing the popular, the popular in the sense of folk culture and music or in the sense of modern 'pop culture' or 'mass culture.'" These two tend too often to be conflated by practitioners of what used to be called cultural studies.
I encourage everyone to read this stimulating piece.