What are the Different Music Genres?

While discussing every genre of music available today would be unwieldy and nearly impossible, there are several major categories into which other subgenres may fall. The most popular of these music genres is rock and roll, which is an umbrella genre that encompasses a variety of different types of music. Classical, folk, jazz, R&B, blues, metal, and world music are some of the other major music genres.

Upbeat beats and guitar-heavy sounds characterize rock and roll. Folk rock, alternative rock, and heavy metal are all music genres that fall under the rock and roll umbrella. All of these music genres rely heavily on guitars of various sound levels and distortions; for example, folk rock typically employs acoustic guitars and clean-tone electric guitars at a soft or moderate volume, whereas heavy metal employs primarily heavily distorted electric guitars. Vocals are frequently screamed or sung loudly. Alternative music frequently incorporates elements from both of these genres. The blues genre gave birth to rock and roll, as did R&B (rhythm and blues).

The glues genre is characterized distinct song structures and themes, and it was created African-American musicians. Blues music can be fast or slow, and it usually centers on a struggle or sadness; it is often based on spiritual hymns, work songs, chants, or narrative stories. The 12-bar blues are a type of blues that is built around a set of chord progressions. People often say they have the blues when they are sad or depressed because of the themes associated with the blues.

Classical music has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular types of music. Classical music is characterized meticulously composed scores that frequently feature pianos and full orchestras. The melodies are frequently complex, and musical scores are frequently themed, but not always. Classical music was once the most popular of all music genres, and it was especially popular in early American, British, and European societies—though not exclusively. Classical music is now widely used in film scores as well as in local and national symphony halls.

World music is a broad genre that encompasses a wide range of musical styles from around the globe. Tribal chants, sea shanties, music from various nations and cultures, and anything else unique to a culture or region may be included. One might argue that because this is the largest of the music genres, it encompasses all music in general; however, a subgenre must demonstrate some sort of regionality or cultural tie in order to be considered world music.