Rather than painting the whole modern music world with a large
yes-or-no brush, it should be obvious that some new music will work
on the old instruments and some will not. I have heard a lot of
popular ballads, dancing music, country songs, show tunes, TV themes,
and movie music that would work just fine. Music meant for children,
like Sesame Street's old favorites, is great.
Probably the main considerations should be the musical resources
available in the instrument, and whether the music has lasting quality
itself. There is a lot of classical and old popular music that has
disappeared because it just was not that good to start with.
Another element in this is the ephemeral nature of popular music in
any case. A tune is at the top of the charts and listened to worldwide
for a month or so, and then is gone. Even if it is great we don't want
to hear it again right away. A very few get covered and recovered by
different artists and last in the public ear.
I run into this problem as a teacher. I have a CD player in my
classroom, and in breaks and before or after class I play something.
Of course students will come up to me and object to my choices.
I welcome them to bring in their own CD and I'll use it. Guess what?
The same thing happens, with other students objecting to whatever gets
played (with one exception)! We just do not want to hear last year's
The exception? There is only one artist I can play who gets universal
welcome. Not classical, not renaissance, not baroque, not folk, metal,
rap, or anything else will get a passing grade from everybody, but this
one will: Bob Marley's early reggae music is the charm.