April 1, 2024

About the Author: Arwen

Arwen is a keen piano enthusiast and loves the instrument. She is also a student of marketing and loves creative work!

Our everyday lives are filled with music. Whether it is at home during one of your jam sessions, through the radio in the car on your way to the store or even just in public spaces such as restaurants and so much more!

There are over 1300 music styles and genres in the world. As time moves on and technology advances, it is clear that the listener’s taste in music and preferences change too.

Technology has a massive impact on what we listen to. Luckily we do not have to call the tune about which genre to listen to. This article will briefly explore a few of the most popular music styles and genres as of today, namely classical, blues, pop and jazz.

Man in suit playing piano

Classical Music

If you have even the slightest knowledge on music history, surely you would know or have heard of JS Bach. Some consider him the first major classical composer.

Although he did not live to see the classical period in the flesh, his death commenced a new era of music.

What is Classical Music?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is serious music following long-established principles rather than a folk, jazz, or popular tradition. This style originates from Europe and is music written in the European tradition.

The classical period was the shortest period and lasted only seventy years (1750-1820). A few well-known composers of this time are W.A. Mozart, J. Haydn, F. Schubert and many more.

What Qualifies a Composition as Classical?

Classical Music is a very precise and clean style. The crisp and clearness thereof is evident when one listens to this genre of music.

Classical music emphasises order, elegance and balance. On top of that, it can become quite a strenuous and difficult skill to attain because it uses a lot of technical elements which require great skill.

Thus it has earned its spot as one of the most challenging music styles to play.

Smiling man playing piano

Blues Music

When one is feeling sorrow or misery, you could say they have the blues. And that is quite frankly how this style was created.

This music genre was born from oppressed, economically disadvantaged African-American communities in the rural southern states of America.

The goal was to express the freedom of liberating experiences such as juke houses, cotton bales and so on. Yet a lot composed music to voice their hard circumstances during these tough times.

As time went on, this melancholic music style became quite popular.

What is Blues Music Really?

The Oxford dictionary defines it as feelings of melancholy, sadness, or depression. One can recognise it immediately when listening to the sombre tone.

This expressive music style is popular for its syncopation and off beats. Jazz also has these characteristics, so what sets these two apart?

Well for starters, jazz is much more upbeat and happier than blues music. There are also a few other small differences but these are the main ones.

Blues music was slow in the early stages, but gained speed as time went on and as the style became more developed. It’s usually played in 4/4 time and almost always has a walking bass.

Dissonant harmonies, melismas and basic blues chord progression (which is I-IV-V) are some more noticeable characteristics.

Happy woman playing piano with headphones on

Pop Music

There are over 1300 music genres and styles, as mentioned earlier in this article, and out of all of them, pop has deemed top spot in 2023.

Which is not a surprise, since the very definition of it is a contemporary form of music that appeals to a very wide audience, thus attracting the masses.

Even the very name gives the hint: Pop = popular

A Closer Look at Pop as a Genre

Pop is generally an easy and basic rhythm and simple in nature overall. It is recognised by its repetitive choruses and catchy beats. Since pop music is targeted for a wide audience, a lot of songs and compositions involve elements and pieces of daily life and love.

Pop music usually has words accompanied with them which are mostly easy to remember and tend to leave you with an earworm.

People consider Stephen Foster to be the father of pop and Arnold Schoenberg to be the father of modern pop.

Where the piano is involved, it will mostly play basic chords without melody, since the melody is being carried by the voice. The piano is mainly seen as a ‘bass’ and helps adding to the sturdy beat and rhythm of the song or composition.

Man wearing a hat playing piano

Jazz Music

What do you think of when you hear the word jazz? To me it reminds me of those ‘good old movies’. Jazz is ultimately my favourite genre – a music where there is a boundary to express yourself.

I absolutely love the dissonant notes here and there that dissolve into a much prettier tune.

Delving Deeper into the World of Jazz

Jazz originates from New Orleans and shares some of the similarities with blues music. Yet, as it has been explained earlier in this article, the main difference is that jazz is uplifting.

Jazz, like the blues, also has off-beats and dissonant notes and harmonies.

Jazz is famous for its syncopation and especially improvisation. If there was a rule book for how to play music, jazz would definitely break all the rules.

Sometimes Even the same song will not be played the same! Another reason why I personally love jazz. It is spontaneous and is not limited to a certain way of play.

A few of the most popular jazz pianists are B. Evans, B. Powell, A. Tatum and so on. The father of jazz is no one other than Buddy Bolden who was born in New Orleans during the start of the jazz era.

Music is everywhere.

Music allows us to feel emotions and experience them on a different level.

Music calms the soul and different genres fall on different ears.

Over a 1300 music styles. So many wonderful genres and even more are being created.

Which one speaks to you?

The possibilities really are endless.

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