List of Music Genres
Holding a degree in Business Administration and Programming, Pablo established Legis Music in 2016. With a focus on the royalty-free music industry, he has contributed extensively to the field, authoring over 150 articles on various aspects of music licensing. His efforts have been instrumental in developing one of the most straightforward and liberal music licensing frameworks available today.
If you hear the word “music”, what song sounds in your head?
It is probably some musical genre like pop, electronic, reggaeton….
What is certain is that you will not think of Cruck or chillwave music; or maybe a song of this style sounds in your head, but you do not know that it belongs to a musical genre with such an uncommon name.
It is very common that we identify certain songs with a known musical genre without knowing that it probably belongs to a sub-genre called different or even belongs to another genre.
This happens for the simple fact that there are so many different musical styles, with their own subgenres and which also vary depending on the region in which they originated, that it is impossible to know them all.
Thus, in this article we have decided to bring together, sorted by date of origin as well as by region, the vast majority of currently identified musical genres.
However, it should be noted that this list is not exhaustive, as musical genres and subgenres continue to evolve and new ones emerge over time.
In addition, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact dates of origin of many genres, so approximate time periods have been indicated instead.
Musical genres ordered by time period
- Classical (circa 1750-1820) – Composed by musicians such as Mozart and Beethoven, this genre is characterized by intricate melodies and structured compositions. - Blues (late 19th century) – Rooted in African musical traditions, blues music conveys emotion through simple chord progressions and expressive vocals. - Jazz (early 20th century) – Originating in New Orleans, jazz combines blues, ragtime and band music to create lively, improvisational melodies. - Country (1920s) – Inspired by folk, blues and gospel music, country is often characterized by storytelling lyrics and instruments such as banjo and fiddle. - Swing (1930s) – A subgenre of jazz, swing is characterized by a powerful rhythm section and big band arrangements that encourage dancing. - Rock ‘n’ Roll (1950s) – Fusing rhythm and blues with country, rock ‘n’ roll is known for its energetic rhythms, electric guitar and rebellious attitude. - Rhythm and Blues (1940s-1950s) – Often abbreviated as R&B, this genre blends influences from jazz, blues and gospel to create soulful, danceable tunes. - Funk (1960s) – Characterized by syncopated rhythms, groovy bass lines and a focus on rhythm. Funk grew out of soul and jazz. - Reggae (1960s) – Hailing from Jamaica, reggae combines elements of Caribbean folk music, calypso and rhythm and blues, with an emphasis on unrestrained rhythms. - Psychedelic rock (1960s) – Marked by experimental sounds and lyrics exploring altered states of consciousness. Psychedelic rock emerged during the counterculture movement. - Hard rock (1960s) – Hard rock, a heavier, more aggressive form of rock music, is characterized by distorted guitars, pounding drums and strident vocals. - Heavy Metal (late 1960s-1970s) – With its origins in hard rock and blues-rock, heavy metal is known for its amplified distortion, long guitar solos and aggressive lyrics. - Progressive rock (late 1960s-1970s) – Progressive rock is characterized by the fusion of rock with other genres such as classical music and jazz, complex song structures and experimental instrumentation. - Disco (1970s) – Defined by its infectious, danceable rhythms, disco emerged from funk, soul and pop. - Punk Rock (1970s) – Born as a reaction to mainstream music, punk rock is characterized by its raw, fast-paced sound and rebellious attitude. - Hip Hop (late 1970s) – Originating in the Bronx, hip hop encompasses rap, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti art, often focusing on social and political issues. - New Wave (late 1970s-1980s) – A mixture of punk rock and pop music. New wave is known for its flamboyant and experimental sound, often incorporating synthesizers. - Synthpop (1980s) – Synthpop, based largely on synthesizers, is known for its flamboyant and experimental sound, and often incorporates synthesizers. - Electronic Dance Music (EDM) (late 1980s-present) – An umbrella term for several genres of electronic music, such as house, techno, trance and dubstep, characterized by repetitive beats and synthesized sounds. - House (late 1980s) – A sub-genre of EDM, house music is characterized by its 4/4 beat, synthesized bass lines and repetitive loops. - Techno (late 1980s) – Another sub-genre of EDM, techno is known for its repetitive beats, synthesized sounds and a focus on rhythm over melody. - Grunge (late 1980s-1990s) – A subgenre of alternative rock, grunge is characterized by its heavy, distorted guitar sound and introspective, often angsty lyrics. - Britpop (1990s) – British alternative rock movement characterized by catchy melodies, guitar-driven sound and a sense of national pride, often seen as a reaction to American grunge. - Trance (1990s) – Subgenre of EDM. Trance is characterized by repetitive melodic phrases, hypnotic beats and surges leading to energetic climaxes. - Indie Rock (1990s-present) – Indie rock, a diverse genre that originated as a reaction to mainstream rock, often features unconventional sounds and structures, as well as a strong DIY ethic. - Pop Punk (1990s-2000s) – A fusion of punk rock and pop music, pop punk is characterized by upbeat melodies, catchy hooks and energetic performances. - Emo (1990s-2000s) – A subgenre of punk and indie rock, emo is known for its introspective and emotive lyrics, confessional songwriting and expressive vocals. - Post-Rock (1990s-present) – Experimental genre characterized by the use of rock instruments to create atmospheric and cinematic soundscapes, often with minimal lyrics and unconventional song structures. - K-pop (1990s-present) – Originating in South Korea, K-pop is characterized by catchy melodies, intricate choreography and visually stunning music videos, often performed by highly polished idol groups. - Reggaeton (1990s-present) – Reggaeton, a fusion of reggae, hip hop and Latin American musical styles. It is characterized by its dembow beat and often explicit lyrics. - Dubstep (early 2000s) – Emerged from British garage and drum and bass. Dubstep is characterized by heavy bass lines, syncopated rhythms and little use of vocals.
Listed below are some prominent subgenres within the main genres named above:
- Alternative Rock 2. Art Rock 3. Garage Rock 4. Glam Rock 5. Grunge 6. Hard Rock 7. Indie Rock 8. Math Rock 9. Post-Rock 10. Progressive Rock 11. Psychedelic Rock 12. Punk Rock 13. Southern Rock 14. Stoner Rock 15. Shoegaze 16. Post-Punk 17. No Wave
- Black Metal 2. Death Metal 3. Doom Metal 4. Folk Metal 5. Glam Metal 6. Gothic Metal 7. Industrial Metal 8. Power Metal 9. Progressive Metal 10. Sludge Metal 11. Symphonic Metal 12. Thrash Metal
Electronic dance music (EDM)
- Ambient 2. Breakbeat 3. Drum and Bass 4. Dubstep 5. Electro 6. Glitch 7. Hardcore 8. House 9. IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) 10. Jungle 11. Techno 12. Trance 13. Trap 14. Trip Hop 15. Vaporwave 16. Chillwave 17. Darkwave 18. EBM (Electronic Body Music)
- Alternative Hip Hop 2. Boom Bap 3. Conscious Hip Hop 4. Crunk 5. Dirty South 6. East Coast Hip Hop 7. Gangsta Rap
- G-Funk 9. Grime 10. Hardcore Hip Hop 11. Horrorcore 12. Jazz Rap 13. Hip Hop Old School 14. Trap 15. West Coast Hip Hop
- Alt-Country 2. Americana 3. Bluegrass 4. Classic Country 5. Country Pop 6. Country Rock 7. Honky Tonk 8. Outlaw Country 9. Traditional Country
- Acid Jazz 2. Avant-garde Jazz 3. Bebop 4. Fresh Jazz 5. Dixieland 6. Free jazz 7. Fusion 8. Gypsy Jazz 9. Latin Jazz 10. Modal Jazz 11. Smooth Jazz 12. Swing 13. Vocal jazz
- Blues acústico 2. Blues de Chicago 3. Blues Country 4. Blues Delta 5. Blues eléctrico 6. Blues Gospel 7. Jump Blues
- Blues del Piamonte 9. Blues de Texas
Regional musical styles
The same is true of regional styles as with general styles and subgenres: it is impossible to identify each one exactly, as new ones are always being suggested.
However, some popular and influential regional styles in different parts of the world are listed below:
- Appalachian Folk
- Delta Blues
- Native American music
- New Orleans Jazz
- Argentine tango - Bossa Nova (Brazil) - Candombe (Uruguay) - Chacarera (Argentina) - Choro (Brazil) - Cumbia (Colombia) - Forró (Brazil) - Merengue (Dominican Republic) - Samba (Brazil) - Salsa (Cuba, Puerto Rico) - Vallenato (Colombia)
- Balkan Brass Band (Southeast Europe) - Celtic music (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany) - Fado (Portugal) - Flamenco (Spain) - Greek folklore (Greece) - Klezmer (Eastern Europe) - Nordic folk (Scandinavia) - Polka (Central Europe) - Romani music (Eastern Europe) - Tarantella (Italy) - Tuvan Throat Singing (Republic of Tuva, Russia) - Mugham (Azerbaijan)
- Afrobeat (West Africa) - Benga (Kenya) - Gnawa (Morocco) - Highlife (West Africa) - Juju (Nigeria) - Kwaito (South Africa) - Mbalax (Senegal) - Rai (Algeria) - Soukous (Congo) - Taarab (East Africa) - Makossa (Cameroon)
- Bhangra (India) - Chinese Opera (China) - Gamelan (Indonesia) - Gagaku (Japan) - K-Pop (South Korea) - Qawwali (South Asia) - Tala (India) - Thai classical music (Thailand) - Traditional Japanese music (Japan) - Persian traditional music (Iran) - Dangdut (Indonesia) - Sufi Music (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia) - Japanese Enka (Japan) - J-Pop (Japan) - Cantopop (Hong Kong) - Mandopop (mainland China, Taiwan)
- Aboriginal music (Australia) - Hawaiian music (Hawaii) - Maori music (New Zealand) - Music of the Pacific Islands (Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia)
As you can see, there are numerous musical styles that have been changing over the years and differing by region, depending on the social situation of the moment and the interests of its people.
Thus, we can find a rich and great variety of musical styles, to be able to choose and enjoy the ones we like the most.
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