How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

MUSIC-the word immediately sways us away to a completely different world. However, the definition and perception of that very world differs for different group of people. It also depends on the mood and the environment. For e.g. on one hand, it can act as a source of relaxation for someone who wants peace, whereas on the other hand, it is an indispensable element of a rocking event or a party. Therefore, to cater to these varieties, there is plethora of music genres and we are going to explore each of those, in our discussion further.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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Before, stepping forward, let us first define music genre:-

 What Is A Music Genre?

A GENRE refers to a cluster of music styles that share similar values and tradition. There are several styles in music such as jazz, rock or salsa and they are grouped on the basis of certain common traits that they have. It is basically a way of expressing the emotions with the help of music. Also, knowing that music affects your brain, it would be interesting to tune ourselves to all the popular genres. Let us move on for the same.


There are two major types on which, music has been classified, which are:

  • Western music
  • Oriental music

African music also used to hold a separate place within this classification but now has been included in the Western music itself.

Western Music- It is a type of folk American music and is composed by the people who have worked and settled all over the United States (Western) and Canada (Western). It is similar to the Appalachian music and the folk music of Mexico, also aided to the development of this genre.

Oriental MusicThis music owes its name to the Asian riff also known as the oriental riff. It is actually a musical phrase (riff) that has been used in the Western culture, many a times. It acts as an orientalism or a stereotype representation of the Orient or the Asian (East) theme.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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Let us now dig deep and enjoy the types of music in which the Western music is sub divided:-

  • Rock
  • Jazz
  • Country
  • Classical
  • Blues
  • Hip Hop
  • R&B
  • Latino
  • Electronic
  • Reggae

We are going to describe each of these in detail.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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The term ‘ROCK’, conceals in itself a humongous variety and styles of music. Its origination is credited to the fusion of Country and the Blues, alongwith certain Jazz effects. Talking about history, this popular music came into existence in the 1950s. This era is also called as the Rock and Roll era. The Rock music basically focuses on heavy vocals, drums and guitars. However, the modern rock era can also be seen using saxophone, flute, sitar, synthesizer and mandolin. These create an impact which is very deep and stays longer.

The two major sub genres of Rock music are:

  • Hard Rock
  • Heavy Metal

Hard Rock is rock music with a very heavy beat and is highly amplified. It is mainly characterized by a harsh sound produced from distorted electric guitars. It was established in 1970s. This kind is commercial friendly and is more psychedelic.

Heavy metal music is also known as ‘information music’ and was established after the world war second. It has further genres such as black metal, death metal, thrash metal etc. A heavy metal band is nothing, without an electronic guitarist. Most of the songs belonging to this genre are fast, loud and aggressive. It is characterized by a lot of screaming and extremely heavy beats of drums and guitars.

Apart from these, there are various other types of Rock music and we are presenting some of them here:-

  • Punk Rock
  • Glam Rock
  • Arena Rock
  • Art Rock
  • Garage Rock
  • Rock n Roll
  • Southern Rock

Performers and Bands- Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Jeff Beck, and Kurt Cobain are some names belonging to the list of some great Rock performers. Also appreciable, are the bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin that made their mark and revolutionized the world of Rock music.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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Jazz music is the type of music that was originated in the 19th century, post Civil war. It was originated from the amalgamation of the music traditions of the Africans and the Europeans. It is the second genre of music to be developed from the traditional music of Africa. It is also said to be the very first indigenous form of American music. The main instruments used in jazz music are trumpet, piano, violin, saxophone and cornet. It is characterized by a very pleasant, lively and strong beat where players are always in a mode of improvisation, while playing.

There are several styles of Jazz music that are mostly influenced by the Blues and are classified on the basis of location and time. Some of them are described below:-

Ragtime- It was considered to be the most famous form of Jazz and required a very heavy piano beats. It was also different from the other forms of Jazz music as it was an originally composed form rather than the improvised types.

Smooth Jazz- Heavily influenced by funk and R&B, the smooth jazz is one of the new entrants in the jazz music world.

Chicago Jazz- This form is also known as the swinging style. It has a very fast, body swerving rhythm and is improvised as the music goes on.

New Orleans Jazz- It always was considered about collective improvisations. The name owes its origination to the city itself.

Cool Jazz- This form is a more formal and classical type of the Jazz music and came as a substitute to the declining form- the bebop jazz.

Bebop- This form came into existence at the start of World War second, after the swing era. It can be analogized to the percussive nonsensical syllables, rather than the literary ones.

Scats JazzThis type is much similar to bebop and is a vocal jazz form.

The Famous artists- Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Freddie Hubbard were some famous names who have contributed in Jazz music.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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It is a popular type of music that originated in 1920s. It emerged from the Southern USA folk songs and also had some essence of blues and gospel music. The merging of the various forms of art by the immigrants of the Appalachian Mountains was responsible for the improvisation of the country music. Hence, as a result, the country music picked specific elements from various countries, like Germany, Italy and Ireland. The instruments used here are mostly the string instruments. The harmonica is an exception. The music forms that are played with acoustic guitars, banjoes, fiddles and harmonicas, are the examples of country music.

Further described, are the various forms of the country music. Have a look:-

Bluegrass-This form of country music is mainly influenced by the roots or traditional music of the Americans. It was originally created by the British and Irish immigrants that happened to land in Appalachia. The name actually comes from a band of Bill Monroe, called the Bluegrass boys, who came from the state of Bluegrass- Kentucky.

Rockabilly- It is an amalgamation of the hillbilly and rock n roll music. It was initiated in the 50s and still holds the popularity.

Honky-tonk- It is the type of country music that has been derived from the ragtime and is the most popular as pub-music. It mainly includes the blues and the country songs, referring to the pub-life of Honky tonk.

Alternative country-This type is more like the alternative rock. It is the form that covers almost all the country aspects and keeps away from the mainstream.

Outlaw country- It is a unique type of the country music that mainly focuses on Wild West music and an ‘outlaw’ image.

Outstanding performers- Garth Brooks, Jimmie Rodgers, Vernon Dalhart and Willie Nelson are some famous names in this genre. The peace that we often learn to read music, played by them is commendable and cannot be expressed in words.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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The classical music is said to be the main form of music and was originated before the 20th century. It is also named as the music of the old days. It is not just one form but a complex mix of various styles and hence, requires an intensive specialized knowledge and training. Derived from the forms and structures set by the standard European people, this form needs no improvisation. It is an extremely melodious form of music and mostly played on violins and pianos. Classical music can also be referred as the folk or local music of a particular region or a country.

Although, this type is sometimes considered as ‘boring’ by the modern era people, one should not forget that it is the oldest ad a highly revered form of music.

Also, there are several forms of classical music which are stated below:-

  • Opera
  • Choral
  • Symphony
  • Madrigals
  • Chamber music
  • Gregorian chant

This Western form of classical music has also been divided on the basis of period and those are:-

  • Baroque
  • Medieval
  • Romantic
  • Modern
  • Renaissance
  • Classical

The famous names- To understand tonality in music of this genre, Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn are the most appropriate names.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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The blue music is a type of sad and slow music. It was developed in the Southern US from the black slave’s songs. This music was created in the 19th century, by the slaves (black) who were forcibly made to work in the fields of cotton. The Blue music has strong roots in the traditional music of Africa. These songs are very simple and are open to improvisations and innovations.

There are several sub genres of the blue music and are mostly named after the places. Some of them are described below:-

The delta blues-The delta blues originated from the delta region of Mississippi. It is the most ancient form of the blue music genre and is believed to be the master of all the other forms that evolved afterwards. Memphis Minnie and Muddy Waters are the two most important artists from this field.

Texas blues- The Texas Blues, came after the Chicago Blues and was further made big by Freddie King and Lightning’ Hopkins.

Chicago Blues-The Chicago Blues came into existence, after the great success of the delta blues. Both of these forms are almost similar. The only difference is that the Chicago blues are faster and uses more powerful electric guitars.

Blues RockThis style started in 1960s and was influenced by the Chicago Blues. This was the last style by the Blues to hit it very big and great.

The first ever Blues song was published in 1912 and was names ‘Dallas Blues’. This was a true, fully fledged blue song and was made by Hart Wand. The Blue music was initially played with the help of acoustic instruments that later changed into the electronic ones.

Notable artists- Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and Bessie Smith are some well known Blue artists.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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The Hip-Hop music originated in the 1970s and was developed by the musicians of Africa and America, using tiny chunks of sound or recorded music. The music of Jamaica also acts a large source of influence for it. Bass is the main instrument used for this type and largely includes audio mixing and rapping. One cannot deny the fact that hip hop music has become extremely popular and favorite among the young modern generation.

The two main parts in which hip hop is divided, are-

  • DJing
  • Rapping

Also, there are numerous styles, which are enlisted below:

  • The gangsta rap
  • The freestyle rap
  • The nerd core
  • Psychedelic
  • Christian style hip hop
  • The Avant Garde style
  • Horror core
  • The political style
  • Ghetto tech
  • The East Coast style
  • The West Coast style

Famous artists and groups- Eminem, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg are some of the most eminent hip hop performers. The famous groups are the Black Eyed Peas and Public enemy.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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R&B also known as Rhythm & Blues music is a sub genre of the jazz music and the blues. It has now developed as an altogether separate genre. The rhythm in R&B is more dominant as compared to the Blues. The funk and soul are the popular forms, derived from this R&B.

There are several sub types of R&B, which are as follows-

  • Funk
  • Motown
  • Disco
  • Club blues
  • Doo-wop
  • Jump blues

The R&B has spread its branches to enter the urban contemporary world and has been chosen by a home recording studio and several radio stations.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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This particular music type originated in Latin America i.e. south America, the Caribbean and the Central America. Some countries from Europe, such as Spain and Portugal also form the part of the same. The fusion of four elements, defines the original Latino music. The four elements are listed below:-

  • The language
  • The music style
  • The geography
  • The artist’s cultural background

Some of the main forms of Latino music are described below:-

Mariachi- It is a type of folk music of Mexico and is the urban form of the Son style of Latino music, which was much traditional.

Tejano- Tejano, which is also known as Tex-Mex, is referred to as a crossover style of music. It was created on the Mexico and U.S. borders. It is a combination of country, blues and mariachi forms of music and mostly uses the acoustic guitars.

Norteno- It is again a Mexican genre of music and is mostly loved by the American and Mexican people. It relies on accordions and is a form of ensemble music.

Duranguense- It also belongs to the Mexican style and is famous in both Mexico and the U.S. This form has been derived from Norteno.

Samba- This music relates to the Samba style of dance. Brazil is the place of origination of this style of music and it uses fast rhythms and small key signatures.

Flamenco- It is the most famous form of Latin music. There are three most important things, used by this form, which are:-

  • Vocals
  • Guitar
  • Hand Clapping

Vallenato- It is a Caribbean folk music. It uses traditional instruments from Columbia alongwith the accordion.

Famous artists-Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias and Roberto Carlos are some of the notable performers of Latino music.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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As the name itself suggests, electronic music is the music based on the use of electronic instruments. These are the instruments such as the Theremin, electric guitar and synthesizers. The electronic music is also known as Disco music or House music. It was popularized in the 1970s and the 1980s and is dance oriented. The electronic music also means synthetic music.

Some popular categories of the electronic music are logged below:-

Ambient music- The lounge music falls under this category and instruments like mellotron and ether phone are used.

Dancing styles- The electronic, erudance, disco and techno are the types apt for dancing.

Experimental styles- The industrial glitch and music are the ones in this group.

Vague styles- Nintendo cores and chip tunes (the music in the video games) constitute this style.

Dub step-This form has been added in the late 90s and branches out to wonky and brostep.

The Best performers- Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers and Bass nectar are the ones who have changed the way the world look towards the electronic music genre.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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The Reggae music was originated in Jamaica in 1960s. This form of Western music is an amalgamation of Rock Steady and Ska. It uses drums and is characterized by snares (high-pitched). Synthesizers and guitars are also used extensively.

Some of the famous types of Reggae are:-

Early Reggae- It was initiated in 1968 and was a groovy, funk and instrumental form.

Roots Reggae- It is the most loved form and started after 70s.

Lovers Rock- As the name suggests, it is the romantic form of Reggae.

Dancehall- It is a vocal form and typically follows a rhythm, produced by a live band.

Rockers Reggae- A mixing of Reggae and Rock music, results in the Rockers Reggae. It is a pumped up and aggressive type of music form.

Dub Music- It is a customized version of the original Reggae music. The electronic modification of all the old recordings provides a more ‘trippy’ feel to the music.

Ragamuffin- It is a sub set of the dancehall.

The Best ones- Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Peter Tosh are some of the notable artists in the field of Reggae music.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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Till now, we discovered and explored all the different interesting forms of the Western music. Now, let us dive into the types of oriental music.

The oriental music has two main types:-

  • Traditional Oriental
  • Oriental Pop

A brief description below:-


The oriental music tradition dates back to hundreds and thousands of years. The classical music of India, Japan and China, belongs to this genre but out of these, the Indian Classical Music is the most extensively used. The musical modes are given a high importance in this form. The Traditional oriental music mainly focuses on the unique style of singing and interpretation of a particular artist. The three well established forms of this genre are:-

  • Dhrupad
  • Khyal
  • Thumri
How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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This oriental pop came after the Western pop music got famous. It received a huge following after the pop song from Korea- the gangnam style. It was viewed by millions of people all over the world and created a history. Tan dun, A.R.Rahman and Ravi Shankar are the most popular oriental artists and have won many awards.

How Will You Differentiate Music & Its Type

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A Musical End Note

Having learned about so many various types and the various elements of music, we can now move on confidently in a musical trail. This knowledge of differentiating between the different types of music shall provide you with an edging in the music world. But, remember that however different the forms are, they will continue being melodious, divine and beautiful.

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