Types of Music Genres

One of the most essential tools in any musician’s toolbox is a style guide. As a musician or band, you know that there are some popular genres to write about, such as rock, pop, and blues. But there are also genres that are less understood, and it’s important to know what they are so that you can compose your music within a genre.

Hip-Hop

There are many different types of music genres, each with its own unique sound and style. Hip-hop is a type of music that originated in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. It is characterized by rap lyrics, breakbeats, and DJing. Today, hip-hop is popular all over the world and is often used as an instrument to express social messages or to tell a story.

Rock

Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1950s. It has since spread to countries around the world and has become one of the most popular and iconic forms of music. Rock music is typically characterized by its hard rock sound, energetic performances, and lyrical themes.

Rock music can be divided into several subgenres based on its musical style. These include alternative rock, blues rock, hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, and reggae rock. Other subgenres that have been noted within the rock genre include funk rock, progressive rock, soul/gospel rock, and various forms of indie rock. 

The roots of modern-day rock music can be traced back to the early days of blues and country music in the 1920s and 1930s. Blues bands such as Robert Johnson developed a style of guitar playing that was amplified through electric amplification. This led to the development of proto-metal bands such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in the late 1960s. Punk emerged from garage bands in the 1970s with groups such as The Sex Pistols and The Ramones playing fast-paced songs with distortion on their guitars. 

By 1978, heavy metal had emerged as one of the most popular genres of rock music with groups like Kiss and Iron Maiden generating large followings across Europe. In 1981, Pearl Jam released their eponymous debut album which helped pioneer grunge music.

Pop

Pop music is a type of popular music that is typically composed and performed by singers with pop songs typically having a fast tempo. The term “pop” was first used in 1926, to describe the music played on the radio by popular American jazz performer Duke Ellington. In the early 1950s, pop musicians such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis helped spread the popularity of rock ‘n’ roll. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, progressive rock musicians such as Yes and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer helped create what is known as the “British Invasion” of popular American music. During the 1980s, hip-hop became increasingly popular with artists such as Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, and Tupac Shakur becoming some of the most well-known performers in the genre. Pop music continues to be a major part of global culture and is often used in advertising campaigns.

Edm

Electronic dance music (EDM) is a genre of electronic music that became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It typically features heavy bass lines and synthesized beats.

Metal

There are many different types of music genres, each with its own unique sound. Some genres are based on a certain type of music, like rock or country. Other genres are based on a certain mood or feeling, like blues or happy music. 

Some popular metal genres include heavy metal, power metal, and death metal. Heavy metal is typically based on loud guitars and drums and is often considered loud and aggressive. Power metal is similar to heavy metal but features more keyboards and synthesizers. Death metal is the most extreme form of metal and features extremely violent lyrics and guitar solos.

Punk

There are many different types of punk music, each with its own unique sound. Some of the most popular punk styles include hardcore punk, ska, and pop punk.

Jazz

Jazz is a genre of music that originated in the African-American community in the 1920s. It is typically considered a form of New Orleans rhythm and blues, although it has been used to describe many different styles of music. Jazz is often improvisational, which gives it a loose, free feel.

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