Learn about the Different Popular Types of Music

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Music is the best way of communication, and all people from any place on earth understand it. Music expresses feelings when words fail to express them. Moreover, music can improve mental health by handling mood swings and fueling imagination. Besides, it is considered a way of entertainment because anyone can play a musical instrument, such as violin, piano, and drums. 

Playing a musical instrument helps in relieving stress. Furthermore, all types of music have an important role in the educational process as some teachers use it as a tool for memorization. It also stimulates self-esteem as the person feels a sense of confidence and achievement when performing concerts. Some people believe that music can help them to achieve their dream.  

Here are some Types of Music:

  1. Pop Music 

The first kind of music is Pop Music, which is the kind of music that produces the most hits. Moreover, a hit means that this kind of music sells many copies. Pop music is a kind of popular music that first originated in its modern form during the mid-fifties in the United States and the United Kingdom This kind of music was named rock music until the 60s, that is after associated pop music with commerce. 

There are many features of pop music, such as a good rhythm, and catchy melody. All of these features help the song to become easier to remember and sing. It usually has a chorus that’s repeated the lyrics after the singer. The duration of most pop songs is between three to six minutes long. The lyrics are often about the joys and problems of love. 

Here are some Pop Singers:

  • Madonna
  • Katy Perry
  • Taylor Swift
  • Miley Cyru
  • Justin Bieber

There are many bands in pop music, such as the boy band “One Direction” and the girl band “Girls’ generation”. There are about fifty pop festivals held around the world but most of them are held in the United States, such as DC: Electric Daisy Carnival, SXSW: South by Southwest, and UMF: Ultra Music Festival.

  1. Hip-Hop Music 

The second genre of music that we are going to discuss is Hip-Hop music. Nowadays people call Hip-Hop music Rap Music. Hip-Hop is a type of popular music that first originated in the United States among inner-city African Americans and Latino Americans. Hip-Hop music is also developed in New York City during the Mid Seventies. 

Hip-Hop music usually includes rapping, which means a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. Not only contains that but also contains beats and rhythmic beatboxing. Hip-Hop singers usually create their songs, which are called rappers. They do this by writing the lyrics, composing the song, and playing musical instruments. Furthermore, there are several Hip-Hop bands, such as Black Moon, the lox, and Beastie Boys. 

Here are some famous Hip-Hop artists:

  • Drake
  • Jay Z
  • Kanye West
  • Snoop Dogg
  • The most famous rapper is Eminem. He has about three hundred and forty-four songs

Many Hip-Hop festivals are held annually all over the world. Most of them are held in the United States. The first festival is the Brooklyn Hip-Hop festival which is held in New York City, and nearly three thousand people attend it. The second festival is the Sound Set Music Festival, which is held in Minnesota, the United States with about three thousand attendees. 

The third festival is the Urban Beach Week in Miami, Florida, the United States with four hundred thousand attendees, which makes it one of the biggest festivals that have ever been held. The fourth festival is the SF International Hip-Hop Dance Feast, which is held in San Francisco, California, the United States with four thousand fans. There are more than forty Hip-Hop festivals all around the world, which show how much people love Hip-Hop music, how they act towards them, and their effect on people.

  1. Classical Music

The third kind of music that we are going to discuss is classical music which refers to the standard music of Western countries. Moreover, this kind of music is also named art music. It is music that is produced by musicians who have trained in the art of writing lyrics and composing songs in schools for Music. Classical Music requires an orchestra, piano, and string quartet. This kind of music must have the flexibility of rhythm and melody. It often tackles sophisticated themes and it is relatively lengthy. 

Classical music differs from pop music, which is popular for a short time and it does not aim at commercial benefit or success. And there are also some differences between classical music and folk music which is produced by ordinary people of society and learned by future generations by listening, dancing, and copying.

Classical music is divided into many branches, such as medieval music, renaissance music, baroque music, and romantic music. Medieval music started in five hundred AD and lasted till one thousand and four hundred AD. Many developments in music took place during this long period. During the ninth century, musicians started to experiment with chords and harmony. They added two or more different musical lines to the original chant.

Moreover, during the 1400s, education became widespread throughout Europe, and the new era of the flourishing of ideas in science, medicine, and the arts. This era is called the renaissance, in which also the musical side flourished as composers became much more experimental. They became more inventive as they tried out different musical forms and improvements in musical instruments.

At the end of the era, composers began to introduce “accidentals” into their music, which means extra sharps broke out of the original fixed mode. That is what is known as “Baroque music”. All these kinds of music share in the development of classical music. 

Here are some famous classical music artists:

  • Johannes Brahms
  • Richard Wagner
  • Frederic Chopin

Here are the greatest orchestras of classical music:

  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

People can usually listen to classical music at opera houses around the world. There are also many classical concerts and festivals around the world, such as Parsifal Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Saul Glyndebourne Opera House, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg ENO, Coliseum, London, and Late-night Bach: Proms Royal Albert Hall, London. Although classical music is the foundation for today’s popular music, it has become much more of a part of music nowadays. 

  1. Folk Music

The fourth kind of music is folk music. This kind of music is traditional rural music passed down through families and other small groups in the community. The word “folk” mainly came from the old English word “Folc”, which means ordinary people. This kind of music can also be called contemporary folk music or folk revival music. Folk music is learned by hearing more than reading the lyrics or the musical notes. 

Folk music differs from one country to another according to the culture, social class, and history of this country. Most folk music originated from unknown singers and was passed down orally from one generation to other. Moreover, folk musicians combine voice, guitar, percussion, and another type of stringed instruments. During the middle of the twentieth century, many musicians started to write their songs in a folk style, which created contemporary folk music. Furthermore, folk music made its first appearance in North America due to the variety of cultures of the European settlers. Africans brought their folk traditions with them to the Americans.

Additionally, there are some features of folk music, such as having a definite pattern, which means people who do not know this pattern will not understand folk music. Folk music must have rhyming lines, which means the first lines of the song’s lyrics are the most important, and the following lines must rhyme with them. The lyrics of the first verse of a folk song ask a question, and then the rest of the song will answer this question.

There are many themes that folk music is concerned with, such as sports songs, agriculture songs, children’s songs, regional songs, and local songs. There are many folk festivals held annually all over the world. There are about twenty-five festivals held in the United States.

Here is a list of the most famous artists of folk music:  

  • Woody Guthrie
  • Pete Seeger
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Bob Dylan

Here is a list of the names of the biggest and the best folk music festivals in the United States of America: 

  • The Newport Folk Festival
  • Wheatland Music Festival
  • High Sierra Music Festival
  • Kutztown Folk Festival

There are several sub-kinds of folk music like Traditional Folk, Folk, Scottish Folk, Folk Pop, Political Folk, and Folk British. In recent times, folk music exceeds the general mindset, social classes, colour, culture, and geography.

  1. Jazz Music

This is the fifth kind of music. It is that kind of music that highly depends on improvisation. Besides, in most jazz performances, players play solos that create at the moment, which requires a powerful skill. Jazz musicians like to play their songs in their unique styles. 

People might listen to a dozen different jazz recordings of the same song, but each will sound different. There is a variety in jazz music, but most of it is very rhythmic. Furthermore, jazz expresses various emotions, including pain, happiness, and sheer joy. People can also hear the sounds of freedom because the music has been a powerful voice for people who suffer from unfair treatment because of the colour of their skin or because they lived in an unjust country.

This kind of music is about making something familiar into something fresh and new and about making something shared into something personal. These are some reasons that make jazz music such art and why some people consider it America’s classical music. Moreover, jazz music appeared in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana: in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Then it became popular in each part of the United States.

At first, jazz music appeared for dancing. In later years, people only listen to it. The first recordings of jazz music had recorded in 1917, and after that, the music spread widely and developed rapidly. At the same time, jazz spread from the United States to several parts of the world. Besides, it is considered one of the most important exports of the United States. Additionally, jazz music went through several stages till it reached its final form. These stages are traditional jazz, swing, bebop, and cool jazz. 

Many honourable jazz music artists play a significant role in improving jazz music and transferring it to people throughout the world. Here are some Jazz Music Artists:   

  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Duke Ellington
  • Miles Davis
  • Louis Armstrong (Father of Jazz Music)

In 1968, Louis Armstrong scored a huge international hit with his song “what a wonderful world.” Nowadays, jazz musicians and their festivals are in dozens of nations. 

Here is a List of the Names of the Top Five Jazz Music Festivals: 

  • The Copenhagen Jazz Festival
  • The Cape Town International Jazz Festival
  • The Tobago Jazz Experience
  • The Clearwater Jazz Holiday
  • The Montreal International Jazz Festival
  1. Disco Music

This is the sixth kind of music. It is a type of up-tempo dance music that reached its popularity peak during the seventies. Disco music usually had played at nightclubs or discotheques. At the disco peak, fans gathered in discotheques like “Studio 54” to watch live acts and dance to disco mixes. Moreover, there are specific features of disco music, such as repetitive vocals, four-on-the-floor beats, and several types of instruments. 

There are many musical instruments that disco music depends on, such as the harp, violin, viola, cello, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, flugelhorn, tuba, oboe, flute, and English horn. Disco began as a mixture of music from Italian Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, and Black Americans in Philadelphia and New York City during the late sixties and early seventies. 

Many dance styles improved during the period of disco’s popularity in the United States, including “the Bump” and “the Hustle”. Disco music was introduced to the nightlife scene as a way to escape from social and economic issues of the era, such as war and crimes. Moreover, Disco music unites people from all social classes.   

Discotheques like Studio 54 and Paradise Garage in New York City allowed people to come together safely and dance. Some factors lead to the popularity of disco music, such as trippy lights, reflective disco balls, funky sounds, and a positive atmosphere. However, its popularity did not happen until the release of the musical film Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta. Furthermore, this film was a hit during the seventies, and so was its soundtrack. Although disco might not live for a long time, many artists created lifelong legacies through their disco hits. 

Here are the most Famous Disco Musicians:

  • Donna Summer
  • Diana Ross
  • Chic
  • Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor has the most remarkable song (I Will Survive). About fifty disco music festivals take place over the world, such as Dimensions festival, Loose feast festival, and Beautiful People festival.

  1. Electronic Music

The seventh kind of music that we will discuss is electronic music. Electronic music is a kind of music that employs electronic musical and digital instruments. It also includes electronic processing like recording and editing on tape and whose reproduction involves the use of loudspeakers. However, it is a piece of music that is produced or modified by electrical, electromechanical, or electronic means.  

Electronic music was a significant aspect of the development of whole music during the 20th Century. Besides, musical producers and composers did many experiments using emerging instruments, which led to the development of musical instruments. Electronic music instruments use to recompose existing music instead of producing new songs. Thus, electronic music is not a style or a type of music but also a technique for generating music. 

In 1935, the first audio tape recorder had published with improved recording accuracy, and the testing of the record for the stereo began in 1942, in Germany only. At the end of World War II, recorders and tapes had transferred to the United States, which encouraged the beginning of a commercially-produced tape recorder. The audio tapes were cheap and easily could be edited, slowed down, played back, and forwarded.

The effect of computers led to the wide spread of electronic music. Furthermore, electronic music has transformed the production and quality of music that play today. Unlike traditional music, electronic music allows flexibility and creativity in music production and play, including voice modification and background beats. This kind of music needs several instruments, such as a drum machine that can play back drum sounds in patterns, effects, and a synthesizer. Synthesizer is an instrument that can play a huge range of sounds. 

Here are some of the Best Electronic Artists:

  • Alan Walker
  • Calvin Harris
  • Marshmallow

Additionally, there are around one hundred Electronic music festivals in the world, such as Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Cream Fields in the United Kingdom, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Air Beat One in Germany, and World Club Doom in Germany, and Awakenings festival in the Netherlands. Hence, electronic music has grown, and it is still growing up.

  1. Funk Music 

The eighth kind of music is funk music. This type of music first appeared in African American communities in the mid-sixties when musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul, jazz rhythm, and blues. Regarding the music aspect, funk is a style of aggressive urban dance music driven by hard bass lines and drumbeats.

James Brown’s band introduced the funk beat to music and modern street in the late sixties. Then, it became one of the most popular music in the seventies and eighties. Funk music requires strong bass lines, or music lines played by low-pitched instruments and a sense of rhythmic movement that makes you want to get up and dance. 

Here is a list of the greatest funk music bands that helped a lot in developing and transferring funk music all over the world: 

  • Ohio Players
  • Gap Band
  • Kool & the Gang
  • Sly & the Family Stone.

Here are Famous Funk Music Musicians: 

  • Stevie Wonder
  • Billy Preston
  • Isaac Hayes

Additionally, there are many funk festivals, including Funk & Soul Festival and the North Sea Festival.

  1. Rhythm and Blues Music

The ninth kind of music that we will talk about is rhythm and blues music. This kind of music was created in the forties when it replaced “race music” as the essential marketing term for all African American music. The expression “rhythm and blues” is also called “R&B.” 

The African Americans migrated to urban cities in the Northeast and Midwest during the early twentieth century, which brought various regional styles of African American music together to influence one another. In the 1940s, R&B music became more popular in urban cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

This migration created new markets for these styles of music. There are subtypes of “rhythm and blues” that helped in its development, such as boogie-woogie, jazz, and blues. The meaning of “Rhythm and Blues “continued to change over time, and today it is still used as an umbrella term for several African-American musical forms.

Nowadays, people understand this concept as a descriptor for a style of music that developed after World War II that combined elements of pop, blues, and jazz with a strong back beat. Additionally, R&B music usually depends on keyboards, synthesizers, strong bass lines, and drum beats. In this regard, R&B music has more in common with hip-hop than rock music. Besides, the bands usually include piano, one or two guitars, drums, one or more saxophones, bass, and background vocalists.

Moreover, the themes of R&B music usually discuss the African-American experience of pain, their quest for freedom and joy, and also triumphs and failures of relationships. Furthermore, R&B songs always make hits, which makes R&B music one of the most commercially successful types in the modern music industry.

Here are several famous stars in Rhythm and Blues Music:

  • Ray Charles
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Aretha Franklin   

Popular Music Artists 

Several reasons make the artist gain popularity, such as the number of his albums, songs, and singles. We can measure the popularity of artists by their album sales. Here are the most famous and successful artists:

Artist Name Music Type
Michael JacksonPop music
Elton JohnRock music – Pop music artist and songwriter
The BeatlesPop music and Rock music
Elvis PresleyRock music and Pop music
MadonnaPop music
Pink FloydRock music
Led ZeppelinRhythm and Blues music, and rock music
Celine DionPop music and Jazz music
Whitney HoustonPop music
Mariah CareyPop music

Here are a list of songs that are so motivating, energizing, and school-appropriate playlists. Learning mole recommends these songs to their kids to listen to it:

Name of SongName of Artist
Dance MonkeyTones and I
What Do I Know?Ed Sheeran
Free Fallin’Tom Petty
Better When I’m Dancin’Meghan Trainor
Three Little BirdsBob Marley
Counting StarsOne Republic
Shut Up and DanceWalk the Moon
Golden YearsDavid Bowie
The Sound of SunshineMichael Franti and Spearhead
Is It True?Tame Impala
When Can I See You AgainOwl City
Take On MeA-Ha
ColorsBlack Pumas
Heat WavesGlass Animals
Cha Cha SlideDJ Casper
Be OKIngrid Michaelson
End of the World as We Know ItR.E.M
On Top of the WorldImagine Dragons
Don’t Stop BelievingJourney
My UniverseColdplay & BTS
JumpVan Halen
I Wanna Dance With SomebodyWhitney Houston
A-PunkVampire Weekend
Praise YouFatboy Slim
More of ThisVetiver
Save Your TearsAriana Grande and the Weeknd
Can’t Stop the FeelingJustin Timberlake
Permission to DanceBTS
Good FeelingFlo Rida
Miss You MuchJanet Jackson
Brown Eyed GirlVan Morrison
HappyPharrell Williams
RiptideVance Joy
Try EverythingShakira
Some NightsFun
One WeekBare Naked Ladies
Life is a HighwayTom Cochrane
Girls Just Wanna Have FunCyndi Lauper
Everybody Wants to Rule the WorldTears for Fears
The River of DreamsBilly Joel
Cha Cha SlideDJ Casper
Good FeelingFlo Rida
Cheap Thrills Sia
Brown Eyed Girl Van Morrison
Miss You Much Janet Jackson

We hope you found this article interesting as much as we loved writing it for you. You can read more about music and learn a lot about our outstanding World Around Us page on our website. You will also find dozens of interesting articles on music, like Types of Music, The Best 10 Musical Instruments and Mozart.

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