early 15c., "pertaining to music;" mid-15c., "tuneful, harmonious;" late 15c., "adept at making music," from Medieval Latin musicalis, from Latin musica (see music). Related: Musically. Musical box is from 1829. Children's or parlor game musical chairs is attested from 1862, hence use of musical as a modifier meaning "changing rapidly from one to another possessor" (1924).
Instrumental and vocal music, the quadrille and country-dance, occupy a portion of the time. No waltzing is however permitted. After dancing, round games follow, as Terza, "The Post," Musical Chairs, Cross Questions, all tending to amuse and promote exercise, until the partial extinguishing of the gas, at ten p.m., gives warning of approaching bedtime. [The Rev. R. Wodrow Thomson, "Ben Rhydding, the Asclepia of England," 1862]
In mid-19c. makers of musical boxes also advertised musical chairs, "playing beautiful tunes simply by the weight of the person sitting in them."
"musical party, private concert or performance," 1872, from French musicale, short for soirée musicale "musical evening (party);" see musical (adj.).
"device for connecting computers and electronic musical instruments," 1983, acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
"having popular appeal," 1926, of individual songs from many genres; 1954 as a noun, as genre of its own; abbreviation of popular; earlier as a shortened form of popular concert (1862), and often in the plural form pops. Pop art is recorded from 1957, said to have been in use conversationally among Independent group of artists from late 1954. Pop culture attested from 1958, short for popular culture (which is attested by 1846).
To dismiss him [Johnnie Ray] out of hand one would have to share (as I can't) that facile contempt for "pop" culture, and by implication "pop" audiences, which is the principal flaw of that ambitious new musical, "Expresso Bongo." [Kenneth Tynan, "At the Theatre," The Observer, May 11, 1958]