Music has been a part of our lives almost since we were born and is considered by many to be food for the soul. There are different types of music and each person can vary in their tastes. The research results show that music is a powerful social expression capable of reinforcing stereotypes and fostering the expression of identity.

But beyond musical tastes, it is clear that the feeling of listening to music to our liking is unique and even indescribable. Music makes us feel incredible sensations and different emotions: joy, ecstasy, happiness, sadness, love…

The different types of music and musical genres

There is a wide variety of musical genres, as music has evolved over time and each culture has developed its own musical styles. But… what types of music are there? What are the most important?

1. Classical music

Classical music is a current that begins around 1750 and ends around 1820 approximately. , in Europe. Nowadays, this type of music is associated with serious people, because it is a cult style, typical of a very formal, refined and elitist environment.

When we imagine this type of music, we quickly think of the image of large orchestras, with many instruments led by the figure of the director. The dress is formal, with an image of respect and seriousness. Classical music is expressed in concerts (soloist accompanying the orchestra) and in symphonies (choir of voices and instruments).


2. Blues

The blues is one of the most important and influential musical genres of recent times. . Its origin dates back to the end of the 19th century, when African slaves were transported to the United States. His lyrics have a melancholic air in which you can appreciate your personal angst or your social problems. It was the combination of African and Western music that led to the genre we call “blues”.

Several blues styles have been developed over the years, some in small towns in the southern United States and others in cities such as Chicago and New Orleans. This style influenced almost every genre of popular music to come: jazz, soul, hip hop, etc.


At the end of the s. In the 19th century, most African-American musicians only played the blues, but some also played classical music and learned European harmony. Some have even mixed European harmony with the rhythms and scales of the blues, and it is thanks to this mixture that “jazz” appeared.

Jazz is characterized by a series of elements: improvisation, the treatment of rhythm (swing), the use of backnotes and syncopations , their voices (e.g., scat), their orchestras (Big Bang), etc One of jazz’s greatest musicians was trumpeter Louis Armstrong, but artists such as Frank Sinatra are also world famous. There are different types of jazz: Latin jazz, bebop, swing … but they all preserve the essence of this style.

4. Rhythm and Blues (R&B)

As jazz became increasingly popular in the 1930s and 1940s, another new genre began to develop. Many African Americans were professional blues musicians, but making music and making money was not easy. So many small groups formed and sought work in bars and “pubs”.

If they wanted to work, the musicians had to succeed in attracting the public and many young people of the time, those who frequented these places, thought that the blues were old fashioned . Bands were forced to create a new style, which would be called “rhythm and blues” or “R&B ” At first, R&B bands were loud and lively and drew their strength from drums, double bass and electric guitar. The singers were male or female with great voices and the audience loved it. Today R & B is still valid, but with a great influence of another style that we will see later, the soul.

5. Rock and Roll

In the early fifties, another musician called “rock and roll” was in vogue . This style was created by musicians who could play both R&B and Western Swing, a popular style of country dance music. It used the same instruments as R&B of the time (electric guitar, double bass and drums) and had a touch of blues and R&B, but the melodies sounded more like those of country music.

7. Gospel

Gospel music is a musical genre that originated in African-American churches in the mid-20th century. , thanks to the fusion of the spiritual songs of the black slaves who embraced the Christian faith and the traditional hymns of white music. Gospel is a type of music intended for use in congregation, with simple music but with marked rhythms.

It has great harmonic richness with a simple melody. It is a music characterized by massive choirs, with a touch of palms, and a particular cante in which the choir renders the phrases sung by the soloist.

8. Soul

Soul music is a genre of popular African-American music that has greatly influenced many later genres . For example: funk music. dance, hip hop and contemporary R&B

It was developed in the USA in the late 1950s from gospel music and other styles. While gospel was a more upbeat type of music, with a choir it moved by playing palms, soul was slower, deeper music. “Soul” means soul in English.


In the 1960s, rock and roll was losing its best artists. Elvis Presley was in the army, Little Richard had quit rock and roll, and Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens had died in a plane crash. But many young people continued to listen to their records and some began to explore the origins of music.

Young musicians were also interested in R&B, studying its harmony and characteristics, and eventually learning how to play it. Soon they were combining these older styles with rock and roll to create a new genre called “rock”. If rock and roll was danceable, rock ceases to be rock, and focuses on the transmission of pure energy and the lack of control.

Over time, the electric guitar gained more weight and other sub-genres of rock emerged, such as hard rock, psychedelic rock, punk rock or folk rock.


10. Metal

The metal part of hard rock during the decade of the 70s and experience an explosion of musical groups in the 80s in all Western countries. Its main characteristic is the emphasis on electric guitar and drums to generate powerful and energetic sounds.

Although many people use the terms “heavy metal” and “metal” as synonyms, others distinguish between metal as an expanded category and heavy metal as the original trajectory of early bands, of which there are several. subgenres in recent decades.

In addition, the use of vowels is very varied, ranging from treble to the use of techniques to make the voice deeper and dumber than usual. In Scandinavian countries, in particular, he points to the popularity of metal subgenres known as black metal and death metal , in which the letters are virtually unrecognizable because of the use of the manner of shouting used.

11. Country

Country music is one of the earliest genres of modern American popular music . It developed in the southeastern states of the United States as a blend of British Isles folk music, church music, and African American blues. Its characteristic instrumentation includes acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin or banjo.

12. Funk

In the 1960s, soul artists like James Brown developed a more rhythmic style called funk . This genre was the starting point for many new styles of dance music such as disco. El funk is characterized by very powerful bass lines and an energizing rhythm. Funk music has a distinctive “groove” and riffs that invite dancing.

13. Disco

In the early 70s, nightclubs called discos employed DJs to play songs. for the dance floors because it was cheaper than hiring a band. They started putting the more emotional funk and soul songs on, but in the mid-70s they started marketing easier dance topics, aimed at this audience.

With a repetitive quaternary rhythm (usually between 110 and 136 bpm), an orchestral sound and its electronic piano and guitar (with distinctly “funky” touches), disco music would originate.

14. House

In the early 80s, a new style of dance music developed in the “gay clubs” of New York and Chicago. As in disco music, the songs had catchy melodies with lyrics that were about having fun or having sex. house is characterized by the quaternary rhythms of disco music, but drum machines are frequently used and synthesizers in place of classical drums and other instruments, although the electronic piano remains the central axis of most house music.

15. Tech

Another genre of dance music called techno was developed in Detroit in the early 80s when disco DJs started making electronic music. They used drum machines and electronic synthesizers with keyboards to add chords and melodies.

They also started taking short samples of other songs (samples) to add to their songs. In techno, the groove is darker than in the house and even has a delirious touch. A subgenre of techno, developed in the 90s, is trance.


Pop music is not really a musical genre . “Pop music” means popular, and as the name suggests, it is music for the masses. in this sense, apart from pop music, we would find classical music and other similar artistic forms.

So, pop includes different types of musical genres and has more to do with the audience the songs are intended for. For example, Michael Jackson, the one known as the King of Pop He composed and performed songs of different genres: soul, funk, disco, rock, R&B, etc. Suyo is the best-selling album in history, called “Thriller”.


Ska originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s , and contains elements of mento, calypso, jazz, and rhythm and blues music. In the early 1960s it was the dominant music genre in Jamaica and had a big impact in the UK.

Ska’s music is very danceable, upbeat, fast and exciting. Ska has influenced other styles born in Jamaica such as rocksteady or the well-known reggae, with which it is very similar, although the latter is characterized by the fact that it is not an accelerated musical genre, unlike ska. 

18. Reggae

Reggae originated in Jamaica, influenced mainly by ska and rocksteady , but also by other styles such as blues or jazz. In general, the lyrics of reggae songs relate to social criticism, although some songs deal with different themes. Jamaican artist Bob Marley is its maximum exponent.

19. Hip-hop

Hip hop developed in the late 70s and was created in the slums of New York by African American teenagers. Along with this style, other artistic movements such as breakdancing and graffiti were also born. Many of these young people were unemployed, but some found jobs as DJs.

In neighborhood parties (public, multilingual parties bringing together many members of the same neighborhood), they mixed musical themes while other young people banged on repetitive beats. Today, hip-hop has evolved considerably and has, along with R&B, great prominence in the global pop scene.

20. Drum and Bass

The literal translation of drum and base is “drum and bass” , as it is characterized by the fast rhythms of the drums (usually between 160 and 180 bpm) and the marked bass lines. At present, this energetic musical style is considered an “underground” musical style, but its influence has been very noticeable in pop culture in many countries such as the United Kingdom.

21. Garage

Garage, also called UK Garage, is a style of electronic music originating in the United Kingdom. . It is a very dancing genre and very influenced by drums and bass, in which it is possible to find voices sung or struck with a style different from hip hop rap. Rappers of this genre are called Garage MC’s.

22. Flamenco

Flamenco is a traditional Spanish music, born in southern Spain and closely linked to gypsy culture. . However, the roots of flamenco are found in the cultural interbreeding that took place in Andalusia at the time of its creation: natives, Muslims, gypsies, Castilians and Jews; they propitiated their distinctive sound in which the voice and the guitar have a protagonism.

Flamenco is characterized by talented guitarists (the “virtuosos”) and singing jondo , a style of singing that reinforces the deepest feelings.

23. Salsa

Salsa is a musical style intimately linked to the dance that bears the same name. . The word salsa as such has its origins in the Bronx of New York, although the influences are purely Latin, Cuba being perhaps the country with the most influence in its creation.

Afro-Cuban rhythms such as mambo, guaracha, son, montuno, Afro-Cuban jazz, among others, spread throughout Latin America and also reached the United States, where the Cuban population is remarkable. Salsa is one of the most popular musical styles among Hispanic cultures.

24. Reggaeton

Reggaeton (also known as reggaeton) is a musical genre born in Puerto Rico in the late 90s . He is influenced by hip hop and Latin American and Caribbean music. The voice includes rapping and singing and is a very danceable musical style.

Types of music, depending on the instrument used

In addition to the aforementioned musical genres, music can be classified based on instrumentation.

25. Vocal music or “a capella”

Vocal music is characterized by the fact that it uses only the voice and is what is called a cappella. . It can be individual or in chorus. It is also possible to perform instrumentation with voice, this is called “beatboxing”, which usually includes percussion, although some individuals may imitate other instruments such as guitar or drum. saxophon.

26. Instrumental music

Instrumental music is music in which only the instruments are used and not the voice. . There are two variations: the symphony, which plays an orchestra; or electronics when created by electronic instruments It can be used in movies or karaoke.

On the other hand, there is no clear boundary between instrumental music and what is not. For example, sometimes you can digitize a person’s voice to sound like the note played by an instrument.

Other types of music

27. Pragmatic Music

Pragmatic music is what is used to tell a story or an event . It is a kind of descriptive and extra-musical music. For example, the music described a landscape: the important thing is not the music itself, but the effect of the music as part of the narration.

28. Soundtrack

Soundtrack is, musically speaking, the vocal and instrumental music used in movies , and aims to heighten the emotions of viewers. An example of this type of music is “Eye of a Tiger” from the “Rocky” film collection.

However, there are different nuances in the different ways a soundtrack can be used. For example, sometimes it can simply express the emotions aroused by a place, while in others it expresses the tone of the narrative moment it passes through, almost independently of where the action is taking place.

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