Discover the Genre of Music You Like

Edited by Jonathan, Eng, JMA, Lynn and 5 others

Music is the universal expression of the many emotions of life.

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It can be expressed through the medium of a musical instrument (including the voice) or through hearing and viewing it in person through live shows; and experiencing it through electronic media (TV, radio, portable music players, internet). A person can enjoy music through different situations. In your car, you may be frustrated by traffic, but you can find relief from relaxing music piping in through the car radio. You can listen and enjoy the music of a jazz band in a classy bar while drinking your favorite beverage. You can jog on the trails of a nature park while listening to your favorite booster songs on your portable music player with earphones. You can swim laps in the pool while delighting in chill out music from your waterproof music player attached to your ears. You can watch on the internet, with your kid on your lap, a classical concert (with a full orchestra) in Paris, while you are at home in Idaho. It does not matter what your preferred musical genre is. What matters is that you enjoy it, and it makes your day more meaningful.

Different types of music genre

  1. 1
    Otherwise known as rock and roll when it came into being in the 1950s in the United States,
    this is the genre with the widest stretch of sub-genres. It ranges from the softest (folk rock) to the loudest (heavy metal). Common elements in all types of rock music are guitar background sounds, fast rhythms which could have distorted sound, a strong tempo, drums, and bass guitar - performed by a rock band. Usually, rock is song-based music with 4/4 time signature using a verse-chorus form, but over time, the parameters of the musical characteristics of rock have been difficult to establish because of the evolution of several subgenres. Themes of rock songs usually emphasize romantic love but there have been several cuts that have social and political themes. Rock music has also served as a vehicle for cultural and social movements and is associated with changes in social attitudes towards politics, race, sex, and drugs.
    1. Folk Rock. Acoustic guitars are the main instruments here because they have a soft intensity level custom-made for folk rock.
    2. Heavy Metal. This is characterized by loud, intense, distorted sounds, heavy usage of drums, continuous presence of the electric guitar sound. Usually the performers, if they are male, sport long hair (very much a heavy metal symbol) and messages of most of the songs signify the questioning of society's norms.
    3. Alternative. It combines the best elements of both folk rock and heavy metal.
    4. Jazz Rock fusion. This is a mixture of the amplification and electronic character of rock music with elements of funk and rhythm and blues (R&B); complex time signatures from non-Western origins, and the typical extended musical compositions (ad lib) of jazz which often uses wind, brass, bass guitar, and/or drums in the extended ad lib, and displaying a high level of musical instrument prowess. Up to the year 1966, rock and jazz were worlds apart. Credit for the creation of jazz rock goes to both Gary Burton, a jazz vibraphonist from Indiana, USA, and Larry Coryell, a guitarist from Texas, USA. Burton, although steeped in jazz, experimented with rock rhythms on The Time Machine (1966). Coryell, in the same year, released the jazz rock recording Out of Sight and Sound.
    5. New Wave. It first circulated as a subgenre of rock in the early 1970s.
      New York bands such as the Velvet Underground and New York Dolls had their music classified as new wave. Music that has the character of experimentation, complicated lyrics, and polished production was associated with new wave in an effort to distinguish it from punk. This was because there was a time in the 1970s when new wave and punk were interchangeable and when music was linked to punk, it had poor sales. The introduction of MTV in 1981 ushered in the greatest success of the new wave phenomenon. British acts, which were tied to independent labels were able to outshine their American counterparts signed up by the major studios. The Brits made better use of the MTV vehicle than their American counterparts in promoting their new wave music. From the 1990s up to today, nostalgia and reminiscence of the new wave era has become popular. New Hollywood movies use new wave soundtracks, 1980s new wave themed nights are the norm for a couple of nights each week in several popular bars, and there are a lot of reunion tours featuring several 1980s new wave bands, packing in that generation's teenagers and also attracting succeeding age groupers.
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  2. 2
    Pop music
    This is a musical genre that originally has roots from rock and roll in the 1950s but at present is a genre that has influences from almost all other music types. It is typically geared towards a mass audience and is pleasant to listen to, and normally does not have artistic depth.
    A general format of pop music is short to medium length songs, verse-chorus structure, melodic tunes, and catchy hooks. Instrumentation is basically electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, and drums. Famous and legendary pop music artists are the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and ABBA. Pop music gained its influences from the following:
    1. Sentimental ballad for form
    2. Gospel and soul music for vocal harmonies
    3. Jazz, country and rock music for instrumentation
    4. Classical music for orchestration
    5. Dance music for tempo
    6. Electronic music for backing
    7. Hip-hop music for rhythmic elements
    8. Rap music for spoken lyrics
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  3. 3
    It is a music genre that has roots at the beginning of the 20th century in the African-American communities of the southern territories of the USA. It has merged characteristics from African music with European elements in the early days.
    In the succeeding decades, jazz has successfully integrated American popular (pop) music into its harmony. One key element which separates jazz from other music genres is its freedom of improvisation. Each jazz piece could be interpreted in different musical methods by each musician attempting to do his own version of a jazz piece. A comparison could be made when playing classical music as against jazz music. A classical piece, if authorized by the composer, grants the performer discretion (not all the time) to interpret or ornament the piece in his own unique way, but the end result should be that the primary goal of the performer should be that the piece should be played as it is written by the composer/creator. In direct contrast, performance of a jazz piece is a result of band creativity, cooperation, and interaction, and places fluctuating degrees of loyalty to the original piece of the composer, because performing a jazz piece is like creating your own style and tempo. Therefore, a jazz performer, when playing the same jazz piece several times, will interpret it in unique ways each and every time, never duplicating it twice. The musician can change melodies, harmonies and time signature at will.  
    1. The blues. Black American work songs were the originators of the blues, one of the subgenres of jazz. They were songs sung by slave laborers like stevedores, railroad workers, oil riggers, etc. The earliest blues music had a call-and-response format without musical instruments for accompaniment, without harmony. But blues has evolved today, from unaccompanied vocal music to a wide variety of variations, with regional distinctions across the USA. The term blues was said to have been coined by Ma Rainey, who was one of the first professional blues singers. Other legendary blues musicians are W.C. Handy and Bessie Smith. The blues style of singing is performed with guitar, piano, and harmonica.
    2. Ragtime. Ernest Hogan, a ragtime pioneer, is largely credited for coining the word ragtime. Its peak of popularity was between 1895 and 1918. Its main character is found in its ragged rhythm. One of the more famous ragtime composers was Scott Joplin, whose claim to fame were the ragtime hits The Entertainer and the Maple Leaf Rag. Ragtime fell in popularity after 1917 when mainstream jazz claimed the public's imagination, but the major jazz bands still included ragtime in their repertoires. Ragtime (with Joplin as its major star), is on the American pedestal which could stand as an equivalent of such musical standouts such as the minuets of Mozart, the mazurkas of Chopin, and the waltzes of Brahms. Classical composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Eric Satie, and Claude Debussy, were greatly influenced by ragtime. There was a major ragtime revival in the early 1970s. Ragtime is accompanied best by piano.
    3. Dixieland. It is also called Hot Jazz or Early Jazz or traditional jazz. Its most well known performer is Louis Armstrong, but his influence runs throughout the jazz spectrum.
      The term Dixieland stuck to this jazz subgenre when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band began selling by the millions its records in 1917. Dixieland is an important jazz style because it was able to integrate blues, ragtime, and the brass band into one musical harmony. When one says Dixieland, it is not only one, two, or three instruments. The clarinet, the trombone, the trumpet, the saxophone, were united with a rhythm section which has piano, string bass, drums, banjo and tuba. Generally, there is no vocalist in a Dixieland performance. Aside from Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton is also an important Dixieland legend.
    4. Big Band. This jazz subgenre also means a musical ensemble. This is because to play big band jazz, approximately 12-25 musicians (with rhythm, brass, and woodwind sections) are needed to complete the ensemble. It is also identified with the Swing Era (high energy dance music) wherein the notable musicians were Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. Big band jazz was instrumental in uplifting the morale of American troops during World War 2 while they waged war abroad. Big Band jazz groups toured the many war fronts of the soldiers and many musicians themselves, were killed in the process. Later Big Band stalwarts developed it further to include Brazilian and Afro-Cuban repertoire.
    5. Bebop. In the 1940s, with the decline of the Big Band era, in contrast, a new jazz form, emerged, Bebop, with had a smaller ensemble of four to six musicians. It has complex melodies, fast tempo, and complicated chord progressions - which are not suitable for dancing, as a contrast again to Big Band. Bebop sounds erratic, fragmented, disorganized to the amateur listener, but to jazz musicians and enthusiasts alike, Bebop is a beautiful jazz revolution. It demanded listening from the audience, not dancing. From Bebop emerged scat singing, a type of vocal improvisation which uses nonsense syllables, but when put together, they sound amusing and entertaining. A typical Bebop band uses musical instruments such as the saxophone, bass, drums, trumpet, and piano. Bebop is considered the precursor of modern jazz. Dizzy Gillespie, a trumpeter, is considered the father of Bebop and Charlie Parker, an alto sax specialist, is also a Bebop legend. Up until recently, hip-hop artists attributed the great influence of Bebop on their music.
    6. Smooth jazz. It is a mix of jazz with R & B and New Age, which had its beginnings when a radio format called Easy Listening took root in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. It is a jazz subgenre more or less created by radio, not the musicians. Whereas pure jazz when performed, is unpredictable, smooth jazz has a preplanned melody and direction, but sounds pleasant as background music when one is in the office or in the home. Famous artists of smooth jazz are David Benoit, George Benson, Spyro Gyra, Grover Washington, Stanley Clarke, and many, many others. The support of recording companies for the smooth jazz subgenre spawned so many smooth jazz artists. Typically, a smooth jazz track is down tempo, and using instruments such as the soprano and tenor saxophones, bass and electric guitars, and background of programmed rhythms.
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  4. 4
    Classical music
    This music genre is basically Western music, whether liturgical or secular, which can be distinguished from other forms of music by its character of staff notation. Staff notation denotes that the execution of a classical piece should be exact in terms of speed, pitch, meter, and individual rhythm.
    Classical music.jpg
    This leaves little room for improvisation or ad lib. Historically, classical music has links to early Christian liturgical music of the ancient Greeks, wherein Pythagoras created a tuning system and helped to codify musical notation. Since then, this art music which is rooted in Western traditions, has been around formally since the 11th century, but it is only during the period from 1550 and 1900 when classical music was codified and well documented. This is the era when the greats of classical music such as Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach emerged. The term classical music only appeared in the early 19th century, noted as an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1836. The musical instruments used for performing classical music is perhaps the most varied and the most extensive when compared to other musical genres. It is performed by an orchestra and has string, woodwind, brass, and percussion families of instruments. These are in addition to solo musical instruments such as the piano, harpsichord, and the organ. At present, electric instruments such as the electric guitar and the Ondes Martenot also form part of the orchestra together with electronic instruments such as the synthesizer. Depending on the purpose, ethnic instruments such as the bagpipes, vihuelas, hurdy-gurdies and pop music instruments such as the acoustic guitar, have also found their place in the orchestra. Classical music has been used as the theme music for several world events and has been used extensively in media (movies, TV, cable, internet) soundtracks.
    1. Concerto. A musical composition with three parts (movements). A solo instrument (violin, piano, flute, or cello) is played, accompanied by the orchestra. The concerto emerged in the Baroque period.
    2. Symphony.
    3. Sonata. This literally means a piece to be played in contrast to a cantata which means a piece to be sung. A sonata has four large sections written for one or two musical instruments. These four sections vary from each other in rhythm and mood.
    4. Suite. It is a sequential series of instrumental or orchestral pieces performed in a concert, and not merely as an accompaniment.
    5. Etude. It is a short instrumental musical composition which has a degree of difficulty and has the purpose of teaching a specific musical skill. Most etudes are designed to be taught with the aid of the piano, which is perhaps the most popular training tool for aspiring classical music students. There are etudes which are very easy to play; others have traditional difficulty, and there are those that are designed to teach unorthodox musical techniques. Stalwarts of the etude form include Frederick Chopin and Franz Lizst and Claude Debussy.
    6. Symphonic poem. Orchestral music which has one single continuous movement, wherein it strives to evoke in the audience the use of their imagination for the scenes, ideas, and moods of a poem, novel, painting, sculpture, or any other non-musical form. It strives to connect music to other art forms. The Hungarian composer Franz Liszt stands out for the symphonic poem form.
    7. Opera. Here, in this classical music form, musicians and singers perform together. In a theatrical atmosphere, they consummate a dramatic work with text (the libretto) and the musical score. More famous recent opera singers are Maria Callas, Enrico Caruso, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti.
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  5. 5
    Rhythm and blues
    A music genre that emerged in the 1940s and was originally geared toward African Americans who had migrated to big urban cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit.
    It is popularly shortened as either R & B or RnB. The term rhythm and blues was thought up by Jerry Wexler of Billboard magazine in 1948 to replace the offensive sounding race music. In the 1950s through the 1970s, RnB bands usually used a piano, one or two guitars, drums, bass , and saxophone as their instruments. Up until today, when contemporary RnB came into being, other musical instruments, particularly the electric and electronic ones, creeped into the instrumentation of this musical genre. Popular American RnB artists are Ray Charles, Little Richard, Fats Domino, the Platters, and ironically, a white performer, Elvis Presley. In Jamaica, R&B influenced the development of ska. In Britain, RnB invaded the public consciousness through Black American servicemen stationed there. One famous British R&B group is the Rolling Stones. British RnB is a study in contrast to African American R&B because the British type is more into guitars and has greater energy.
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What is the influence of the Black Church to jazz?

When African-American slaves started embracing Christianity, they also learned the concept of hymns. Over the decades, these religious African-Americans developed their own hymns, those worship songs with the lilting melodies, inspiring lyrics which they perform in church with much gusto and dancing. These hymns which they developed came to be known as spirituals. The origins of the blues, which is a precursor of jazz, is largely undocumented, but it is the secular counterpart of the spirituals. The spirituals are homophonic, meaning creating a musical texture from two parts which move in harmony, and then together, they create chords. On the other hand, rustic blues and early jazz, early on, were heterophonic, meaning a single melodic line is produced in several distinct versions at the same time.

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