Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock or simply alternative) is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock (including some examples of punk itself, as well as new wave, and post-punk).
Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the African-American genres of blues and rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass and drums and one or more singers. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Punk rock (or simply "punk") is a rock music genre that developed in the early to mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. Punk bands typically produced short or fast-paced songs, with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through informal channels.
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-1960s when African American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions used in other related genres and brings a strong rhythmic groove of a bass line played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer to the foreground. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves. Funk uses the same richly-colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths.
Blues is a genre and musical form originated by African Americans in the Deep South of the United States around the end of the 19th century. The genre developed from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, spirituals, and European folk music. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes (or "worried notes"), usually thirds or fifths flattened in pitch, are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B or RnB, is a genre of popular African-American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, saxophone, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy. The lyrics in this genre of music focus heavily on the themes of triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, freedom, economics, aspirations, and sex. Soul music (often referred to simply as soul) is a popular music genre that originated in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in African American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African American and European American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Although the foundation of jazz is deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop or rap music, is a music genre developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans in the 1970s which consists of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Other elements include sampling beats or bass lines from records (or synthesized beats and sounds), and rhythmic beatboxing. While often used to refer solely to rapping, "hip hop" more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture. The term hip hop music is sometimes used synonymously with the term rap music, though rapping is not a required component of hip hop music; the genre may also incorporate other elements of hip hop culture, including DJing, turntablism, scratching, beatboxing, and instrumental tracks.
Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term also denotes the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. A 1968 single by Toots and the Maytals, "Do the Reggay" was the first popular song to use the word "reggae," effectively naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, especially the New Orleans R&B practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint, and evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady. Reggae usually relates news, social gossip, and political comment. Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as ‘Rudie Blues’, then ‘Ska’, later ‘Blue Beat’, and ‘Rock Steady’. It is instantly recognizable from the counterpoint between the bass and drum downbeat, and the offbeat rhythm section. The immediate origins of reggae were in ska and rock steady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. An electronic musician is a musician who composes or performs such music. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, such as violins and drums, and that produced using electronic technology. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, sound synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.
Dance music is music composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing. It can be either a whole musical piece or part of a larger musical arrangement. In terms of performance, the major categories are live dance music and recorded dance music. While there exist attestations of the combination of dance and music in ancient times (for example Ancient Greek vases sometimes show dancers accompanied by musicians), the earliest Western dance music that we can still reproduce with a degree of certainty are the surviving medieval dances. In the Baroque period, the major dance styles were noble court dances (see Baroque dance). In the classical music era, the minuet was frequently used as a third movement, although in this context it would not accompany any dancing. The waltz also arose later in the classical era. Both remained part of the romantic music period, which also saw the rise of various other nationalistic dance forms like the barcarolle, mazurka, ecossaise, ballade and polonaise.
Latin music (música latina in Spanish and Portuguese) is a genre that is used by the music industry as a catch-all term for any music that comes from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking areas of the world (including Spain and sometimes Portugal), as well as music sung in either language. In the United States, the music industry defines "Latin music" as any recording sung mostly in Spanish regardless of its genre or the artist's nationality. Both the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Billboard magazine use this definition of "Latin music" to track sales of Spanish-language records in the US.
Country music (frequently referred to as just country) is a musical genre that originated in the Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music (especially Appalachian folk music) and blues. Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitars (such as pedal steels and dobros), and fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history.
Folk music includes both traditional music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th century folk revival. The term originated in the 19th century, but is often applied to music older than that. Some types of folk music are also called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western music, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more accurate term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820 (the Classical period), this article is about the broad span of time from roughly the 11th century to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods.
Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock music, but using rhythms and "guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures" not traditionally found in rock. Post-rock bands are often instrumental. Although firmly rooted in the indie or underground scene of the 1980s and early 1990s, post-rock's style often bears little resemblance musically to that of contemporary indie rock.
Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic/acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.
Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.
C-pop is an abbreviation for Chinese popular music (simplified Chinese: 汉语流行音乐; traditional Chinese: 漢語流行音樂; pinyin: hànyǔ liúxíng yīnyuè; Jyutping: hon3jyu5 lau4hang4 jam1ngok6), a loosely defined musical genre by artists originating from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Others come from countries where the Chinese language is used by a large number of the population, such as Singapore and Malaysia. C-pop is sometimes used as an umbrella term covering not only Chinese pop but also R&B, ballads, Chinese rock, Chinese hip hop and Chinese ambient music, although Chinese rock branched off as a separate genre during the early 1990s.
Taiwanese pop (台語流行音樂), Tai-pop, T-pop, and Taiwanese song (台灣歌), is a C-pop genre sung in Taiwanese and produced mainly in Taiwan. Hokkien pop is the most popular amongst Hoklo people in Taiwan, China, and the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia.
J-pop (often stylized as J-POP; Japanese: ジェイポップ jeipoppu; an abbreviation for Japanese pop), natively also known simply as pops, is a musical genre that entered the musical mainstream of Japan in the 1990s. Modern J-pop has its roots in traditional Japanese music, but significantly in 1960s pop and rock music, such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, which led to Japanese rock bands such as Happy End fusing rock with Japanese music in the early 1970s. J-pop was further defined by new wave groups in the late 1970s, particularly electronic synth-pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra and pop rock band Southern All Stars.
K-pop (abbreviation of Korean pop; Hangul: 케이팝) is a music genre originating in South Korea that is characterized by a wide variety of audiovisual elements. Although it includes all genres of "popular music" within South Korea, the term is often used in a narrower sense to describe a modern form of South Korean pop music drawing inspiration on a range of styles and genres incorporated from the West such as Western pop music, rock, experimental, jazz, gospel, Latin, hip hop, R&B, reggae, electronic dance, folk, country and classical on top of its uniquely traditional Korean music roots. The more modern form of the genre emerged with one of the earliest K-pop groups, Seo Taiji and Boys, forming in 1992. Their experimentation with different styles and genres of music and integration of foreign musical elements helped reshape and modernize South Korea's contemporary music scene.
Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world.
Opera (Italian: [ˈɔːpera]; English plural: operas; Italian plural: opere [ˈɔːpere]) is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (libretto) and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. In traditional opera, singers do two types of singing: recitative, a speech-inflected style and arias, a more melodic style, in which notes are sung in a sustained fashion. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
New-age music is a genre of music intended to create artistic inspiration, relaxation, and optimism. It is used by listeners for yoga, massage, meditation, reading as a method of stress management to bring about a state of ecstasy rather than trance, or to create a peaceful atmosphere in their home or other environments, and is associated with environmentalism and New Age spirituality.
Children's music is music composed and performed for children. In European-influenced contexts this means music, usually songs, written specifically for a juvenile audience. The composers are usually adults. Children's music has historically held both entertainment and educational functions. Children's music is often designed to provide an entertaining means of teaching children about their culture, other cultures, good behavior, facts and skills. Many are folk songs, but there is a whole genre of educational music that has become increasingly popular.
Animation music is original music written specifically to accompany an animation. First American animation song is "Minnie's Yoo Hoo" (1930). In Japan, anime music has reached the top 10 of the weekly Oricon Singles Chart.
A soundtrack, also written sound track, can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film, musical or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the synchronized recorded sound.
World music (also called global music or international music) is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the globe, which includes many genres including some forms of Western music represented by folk music, as well as selected forms of ethnic music, indigenous music, neotraditional music, and music where more than one cultural tradition, such as ethnic music and Western popular music, intermingle.
The term traditional music is often used as a broad classification of music genres that contrasts with classical music and popular music genres (see Musical genres) as referring to genres founded neither upon any theoretical canon nor upon any mass commercial medium. The term has tended to replace folk music, which has come to refer to European rural genres and contemporary American styles based upon these. The term ethnic music, which gave rise to the discipline of ethnomusicology, has also tended to give way to the term "traditional". Nevertheless it can be difficult to draw clear lines even between these few terms. Indigenous music refers to the music of ethnic groups whose region has been occupied by later migrants: it has no strictly musical definition.
An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a Big Band setting. The music is primarily or exclusively produced by musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer (especially in cases where the composer himself will perform the piece, as in the case of a blues solo guitarist or a folk music fiddle player); as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in size from a duo or trio to a large Big Band, concert band or orchestra.
Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions (Anon. & n.d.(c)). Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music (Sun 2013). Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incoprorate unorthodox and unique elements (Anon. & n.d.(c)).