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The 28 most popular and popular music types

The 28 most popular and popular music types

October 1, 2022

Music is part of our lives almost since we are born, and for many it is considered the food of the soul . There are different types of music, and each person can vary in their tastes. The results of the research show that music is a powerful form of social expression that can reinforce stereotypes and favors the expression of one's identity.

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

  • Related article: "What happens in your brain when you listen to your favorite music?"

The different types of music and musical genres

There is a great variety of musical genres, since music has evolved over time and each culture has developed its own musical styles. But ... what kinds of music are there? Which are the most important?


You can find below a list of the most relevant and popular music types in our society.

1. Classical music

Classical music is a current that begins approximately in 1750 and ends in around 1820 , 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 someone imagines this type of music, the image of great orchestras, with many instruments, directed by the figure of a director, quickly comes to mind. The dress is formal, with an image of respect and seriousness. Classical music is expressed in concerts (soloist accompanying the orchestra) and symphonies (a chorus of voices and instruments).


  • Some of its main authors are Wagner, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, etcetera.

2. Blues

The blues is one of the most important and influential musical genres of recent times . It originated in the late nineteenth century when African slaves were transported to the United States. His lyrics have a melancholic air in which you can appreciate personal anguish or social problems. It is the combination of African and Western music that led to the genre that we know as "blues".

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


  • B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Duke Ellington or Stevie Ray Vaughn are some of its main exponents.

3. Jazz

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

Jazz is characterized by a series of elements: improvisation, the treatment of rhythm (swing), the use of notes to setbacks and syncopations , their voices (for example, scat), their orchestras (Big Bang), etc. One of the greatest jazz musicians was the trumpeter Louis Armstrong, but artists such as Frank Sinatra are also known worldwide. There are different types of jazz: Latin jazz, bebop, swing ... but they all preserve the essence of this style.

  • Louis Armstrong, Les Paul, Ray Charles or Tito Puente are world-renowned jazz musicians.

4. Rhythm and Blues (R & B)

While jazz was becoming increasingly popular in the 1930s and 1940s, another new genre was beginning to develop. Many African Americans were professional blues musicians, but carving out a professional future in music and making money was not easy. So many formed small bands and looked for work in bars and "pubs".

If they wanted to work, the musicians had to manage to attract the audience, and many young people of the time, those who frequented these places, thought that the blues was old fashioned. The bands were forced to create a new style, which would be called "rhythm and blues" or "R & B " In the beginning, the R & B bands were noisy and animated and based their strength on the drums, the double bass, and the electric guitar. The singers were men or women with great voices, and the audience loved it. Today, the R & B is still valid, but with great influence of another style that we will see later, the soul.

  • The most outstanding artists of the present are Usher, Beyoncé, Chris Brown or R. Kelly.

5. Rock and Roll

In the early fifties, another musician called "rock and roll" was in fashion . This style was created by musicians who could perform both R & B and Western Swing, a popular style of dance country music. He used the same instruments as the R & B of that time (electric guitar, double bass and drums), and had a touch of blues and R & B, but the melodies were more similar to those of country music.

  • Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry are the representatives of the most classic Rock and Roll.
  • Elvis Presley is considered the king of this genre. You can see an example of this style in this video:

7. Gospel

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

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

  • Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Andraé Crouch are some widely recognized gospel musicians.

8. Soul

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

It was developed in the USA at the end of the 1950s, of gospel music and other styles. While the gospel was a more cheerful type of music, with a choir it moved playing the palms, the soul was slower music deeper. "Soul" means soul in English.

  • James Brown, Sam Cooke, Mavin Gaye and Amy Whinehouse were worthy representatives of this musical genre.

9. Rock

In the 60s, rock and roll was losing its best artists. Elvis Presley was in the army, Little Richard had left the 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.

The young musicians were also interested in R & B, they studied its harmony and its characteristics, and soon learned 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 transmitting pure energy and lack of control.

Over time, the electric guitar is given more weight and other subgenres of rock emerge, such as hard rock, psychedelic rock, punk rock or folk rock.

  • The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Jim Morrison, Nirvana, Pink Floyd or AC / DC took rock to the next level.

10. Metal

The metal part of the hard rock during the decade of the 70s and experience an explosion of musical groups during the 80s in all the western countries. Its main characteristic is the importance that is given to the electric guitar and the drums, to generate strong and energetic sounds.

Although many people use "heavy metal" and "metal" as synonyms, others distinguish between metal as a broad category and heavy metal as the original trajectory of the first bands, of which in the last decades there have been alternative subgenres.

On the other hand, the use of vowels is very varied, ranging from treble to the use of techniques to make the voice sound more serious and beast than normal. In the Scandinavian countries, especially, it highlights the popularity of metal subgenres known as black metal and death metal , in which the letters are practically unrecognizable because of the use of the way of shouting that is used.

  • Iron Maiden, Manowar, Opeth, Metallica, Pantera, Anthrax or System of a Down are well-known representatives of the metal.

11. Country

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

  • Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, Patsy Cline or Garth Brooks are country artists.

12. Funk

In the 1960s some 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. The funk music has a "groove" and distinctive riffs that invite you to get up to dance.

  • James Brown, George Clinton, Jamiroquai, Prince and Maceo Parker represent this musical style.

13. Disco

In the early 70's, nightclubs called nightclubs were employing DJs to play songs for the dance floors because it was cheaper than hiring a band.They started putting funk and soul songs more moved, but in the mid-70s they began to commercialize easier dance subjects, intended for this audience.

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

  • Michael Jackson, Madonna, Earth Wind & Fire and Cher represent this musical genre.

14. House

In the early 80's 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 talked about having fun or making love. house is characterized by the quaternary rhythms of disco music, but drum machines are frequently used and synthesizers instead of classical drums and other instruments, although the electronic piano continues to be the central axis in most house music.

  • Erick Morillo, Tina More, Tim Deluxe and Mac Demetrius are world-renowned house artists.

15. Techno

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

They also began taking short samples of other songs (sampling) 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 the trance.

  • Gigi D'Agostino, Chris Korda, Basshunter and Ellen Allien are techno musicians.

16. Pop

Pop music is not really any musical genre . "Pop music" means popular, and as its name suggests, it is music for the masses; in this sense, outside of pop music we would find classical music and other similar artistic forms.

Thus, pop includes different types of musical genres and has more to do with the audience to whom the songs are intended. For example, Michael Jackson, the one known as King of PopHe composed and interpreted songs from different genres: soul, funk, disco, rock, R & B, etc. Suyo is the best selling album in history, called "Thriller".

  • Michael Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Shakira, Elton John and Justin Timberlake are popular artists.
  • Here you can see one of the great classics of Michael Jackson: Billie Jean.

17. Ska

The Ska had its origin in Jamaica at the end of the 1950s , and contains elements of music mento, calypso music, jazz and rythm and blues. At the beginning of the 60s it was the dominant musical genre in Jamaica and had great repercussion in the United Kingdom.

The music of Ska is highly danceable, optimistic, fast and exciting. The ska influenced other styles that were born in Jamaica as rocksteady or the well-known reggae, with which it resembles a lot, although the latter is characterized by not being an accelerated musical genre, unlike ska.

  • Prince Buster, Ska-P, Desmond Dekker and Tommy McCook are well-respected ska artists.

18. Reggae

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

  • Bob Marley, Los Cafres, Lee Perry, Jimmy Cliff and Gregory Isaacs are great reggae musicians.
  • You can listen to this great artist in the following video:

19. Hip Hop

Hip hop developed in the late 70s, and was created in the slums of New York City 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 the block parties (public and multitudinous parties that congregated many members of the same neighborhood), they mixed musical themes while other young people rapped on the repetitive rhythms. Today hip hop has evolved significantly and, along with R & B, have great importance in the world pop scene.

  • 2Pac, Notorious BIG, Violators of the Verse, Eminem, 50Cent, Vanilla Ice, Wu-Tang Clan and Snoop Dogg are some rap representatives.

20. Drum and Bass

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

  • Pendulum, Noisia, Sub Focus, DJ Fresh and High Contrast are exceptional drum and bass artists.

21. Garage

The Garage, also known as UK Garage, and is a style of electronic music originated in the United Kingdom . It is a very danceable genre and very influenced by drum and bass, in which it is possible to find sung or rapped voices with a style different from hip hop rap. The rappers of this genre are called Garage MC's.

  • Zed Bias, So Solid Crew, MJ Cole and The Streets are great exponents of the UK Garage.
  • Here is a garage example:

22. Flamenco

Flamenco is traditional Spanish music, which is born in the south of Spain and is closely related to the gypsy culture . However, the roots of flamenco are found in the cultural miscegenation that occurred 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 protagonism.

Flamenco is characterized by talented guitarists (the "virtuosos") and the flamenco singing, a style of singing that enhances the deepest feelings.

  • Paco de Lucía, Tomatito, Enrique Morente, Estrella Morente and Diego el Cigala are great flamenco artists.

23. Salsa

Salsa is a musical style that is intimately linked to the dance that receives the same name . The word salsa as such has its origin in the New York Bronx, although the influences are purely Latin, being Cuba, possibly, the country with more weight 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.

  • Héctor Lavoe, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Ray Barreto perfectly represent this type of music.

24. Reggaeton

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

  • Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Arcángel, De La Ghetto or Zorman are great representatives of Reggaeton.
  • You can hear a bit of this style in the audiovisual content shown below.

Types of music, depending on the instrument you use

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

25. Vocal music or "a capella"

Vocal music is characterized because it uses only the voice, and is what is known as a cappella . It can be individual or in chorus. It is also possible to perform the instrumentation with the voice, it is what is known as "beatbox", which usually includes percussion, although some individuals are able to imitate other instruments such as guitar or saxophon.

26. Instrumental music

Instrumental music is one in which only instruments are used, and not the voice . There are two variants: 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 limit between instrumental music and that which 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

In addition to the above, there are other types of music.

27. Pragmatic music

Pragmatic music is what is used when telling a story or event . It is a kind of descriptive and extra-musical music. For example, the music used to describe a landscape: the important thing is not the music itself, but the effect that music has as an element of the narrative.

28. Soundtrack

The soundtrack is, from the musical point of view, that the vocal and instrumental music that is used in the movies , and aims to enhance the spectator emotions. An example of this type of music is "Eye of a Tiger" from the collection of films "Rocky".

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

  • Related article: "The 20 types of films and their characteristics"

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