Musical styles are defined by the cultural, artistic and social context in which they were created. They have developed over the centuries reflecting different tastes, beliefs and influences across cultures. From folk music to symphonic masterpieces, every genre has its own distinctive style of music.
Dance music is one of the fastest growing music genres and has many sub-genres. EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is a hugely popular form of this genre with artists like Tiesto, Calvin Harris and David Guetta leading the way. Emo (Emotional Motif) is a sub-genre of this genre and features expressive melodic musicianship and confessional lyrics often with a dark or melancholy tone.
R&B (Rhythm and Blues) has its roots in African American culture and blends elements of Gospel, Jazz and Soul music. Some of the best examples of this musical style are the classic hits of Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. Reggae (Reggaeton) is a sub-genre of R&B and has its origins in Jamaican culture. Its distinct sound is characterized by a slow syncopated beat, heavy bass lines and strong rhythms. It also incorporates themes of world peace, anti-racism and the Rastafari movement.
Classical music (also known as art music) is distinguished by its sophisticated instrument structures and written tradition. It is a complex genre that uses large orchestras and layers of melodic and harmonic complexity. Examples of classical music include Beethoven, Mozart and Bach.
Country music is a genre of popular music that has its roots in the southern United States. Traditionally, country music has been associated with rural and working class communities and has evolved into a broad range of sub-genres including Western swing, honky tonk and contemporary country.
Rock music has been around for a long time and is often considered to be a sub-genre of pop, but the difference between the two is that rock music tends to have a more aggressive feel with more instruments like drums and electric guitars as well as heavier chord progressions. Classic examples of this style of music are The Beatles, Queen and Led Zeppelin.
Psychedelic music (also known as acid rock) has its roots in the 1960s and is usually associated with drugs such as LSD. It is usually instrumental and combines elements of blues, pop, R&B, and jazz.
Ambient music is a genre that is characterized by atmosphere and tone rather than strict rhythmic structure. It can be electronic or acoustic and is used for yoga, massage, meditation and relaxation. Listen to Sigur Ros’ “Olson Olson” above for a great example of this genre.
Classical, folk and world music are just some of the diverse musical styles that have been influenced by various cultures throughout history. Other musical genres such as rap and hip hop have their own specific styles that are based on societal values and political or religious beliefs. Each culture has its own distinct musical traditions, with Indian classical music being renowned for its intricate melodies and complex rhythmic patterns and Chinese traditional music for its delicate melodies and use of pentatonic scales.