Genres of Music – General

How many types of music are there in the world? Let’s examine and learn these music genres.

Of course, music is the food of the soul. Everyone loves music, except for exceptions. Generally, we listen to music, even a little every day, some of us walk around with headphones integrated all day and cannot breathe without music.

1. Instrumental Music

Instrumental music, that is, background music, usually a poem, story, etc. Non-verbal music is a type of music with a specific rhythm, accompanied by a musical accompaniment, without any words being voiced by anybody. It is one of the types of music genres.

2-Jazz Music Genres

Jazz music genres are mostly composed of slow songs and has the characteristics of the region it has. It is a music genre that was first released and developed in the Southern USA in the 1900s.

It is a genre that started in the southern states of America in the early 1900s, originated in ancient Africa, identified with wind instruments such as saxophones, and still maintains its popularity today. There is also an improvisation and shooting direction like rap. There are also many sub-genres such as swing, soul, acid jazz. Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World:

Jazz music was born from the synthesis of African and American western music techniques, and the first records released by the Dixieland Jazz Band group in 1917 caused people to meet the jazz music category. It is suggested that the word jazz means energetic, spiritual and vibrant.


Jazz is a musical genre that first started to develop in the southern states of the USA in the early 1900s. Jazz music uses blue notes, syncope, swing, multiple rhythm, throwing, and improvisation techniques; It is the blending of African-American and Western music techniques.

The introduction of this music to the world was in 1917 when the first records of the Dixieland Jazz Band were released. Jazz is one of the most popular and increasingly popular music genres not only in the past but also today.

Jazz music emerged from the United States, the land where it was discovered in the early twentieth century, and spread to the world, and until today, many sub-genres (New Orleans, Swing, Kansas, Gypsy jazz, bebop, cool, avant-garde, free jazz, Latin jazz, soul, fusion, jazz rock, smooth, jazz funk, ethno jazz, acid jazz) have been devoted to and interacted with numerous musical genres and traditions.


Jazz originates from Old Africa – spiritual ceremonies, blues and ragtime – and western world traditions – European army bands. After its formation at the beginning of the 19th century, jazz styles began to spread and influence music movements. It is thought that the origin of the word jazz comes from the slang of that period. The suggested meanings are energetic, spiritual, and vibrant.

In the early years of jazz, the most notable trend was blues. Blues is the folk music of slave Africans who came to America. Jazz also originated from traditional music in Africa. Therefore, jazz is a South African invented music for many jazz musicians.

Jazz music began to flourish in New Orleans in the 1880s and took its final form in the early 1920s with recordings made in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Jazz Music

The musical instruments of army bands have become the most important instruments of jazz music: wind instruments, brass and percussion guitars. Black musicians, who were generally sarcastic, started to form their own small bands, and these bands, which were traveling and played at funerals, enabled the music to reach many people in a short time.

Jazz music among musical genres The schools and civil societies opened for blacks after the war enabled more educated musicians to be raised. Lorenzo Tio and Scott Crabbe were among the first jazz musicians to undergo classical European music education. Trained talents have ensured the longevity of their productions and contributed to their improvised music.


Ragtime: The beginning of this is the old songs that black people sang in various ceremonies. The track is followed by a rhythmically separate sound sequence made up of many sounds. The most famous of the music lovers who grew up in this period of jazz, which lasted until 1917, is Jelly Roll Morton. There is not a single record from the pieces that were played during this period.

Blues: Blues, which consists of folk songs sung by American blacks while working, is the most important element that makes up jazz. In terms of content of expression, it expresses the inner distress and sadness of black people.

Hot Jazz: It came about with melodies that developed after jazz’s transition to the curtain and the stage. In this development, everyone makes a solo in their own style.

Cuse: The sequel to Hot Jazz and is more mature. With this development, the character of jazz has become definite and jazz has become a mature and complete music in all its aspects.

Jazz Music

In all this development, the adaptation of classical music pieces to jazz music is at the forefront. In this age, great jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Roy Eldridge and Glenn Miller have grown up.

Measure in jazz is four times. The main characteristic of jazz is that the second and fourth beats of the four-beat measure, called weak time, are emphasized and the tempo is light and comfortable to give the audience the desire to dance. Jazz has also fed the nature of music in terms of harmony and a different form of harmony has been developed from classical harmony.

A jazz ensemble is divided into two parts as melody (melody) and rhythm (string) in terms of instruments. Woodwind instruments such as trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone in the melody department; There are piano, double bass, guitar and drums in the composition section.

Instruments such as violin, flute, accordion, and mandolin are either rarely used or not used at all. In jazz music ensembles, instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, piano, double bass and guitar are used. Human voice is at the forefront. In addition to being voiced in its composed form, it is usually played improvised.


It is difficult to define jazz music among music genres, but among its possible definitions, one of the generally accepted and important elements is improvisation. The roots of improvisation are again in Africa. A common cuss, especially in blues, is improvisation alone.

The form of improvisation has changed over time. While it was just a bickering at first, it later settled in the lyrics and finally the melody. In Dixieland jazz, the musicians play one by one, playing melodies in turn. In the later classical jazz form, musicians adhere to a certain melody and improvise. Therefore, a new interpretation of jazz is constantly being made.

During the swing period, big bands made arrangements with notes, on the other hand, solo musicians continued to improvise in this framework. In Bebop, on the other hand, improvisation found more space, and first of all, the melody played could be born.

When one of the musicians begins to improvise, other musicians can accompany him or move into the background with a few chords.

3-Blues Music Genres

Blues music, which is identified with America, is actually a type of music dating back 400 years, to Africa. Combining with the sad meaning of “blue” in English, music actually became a part of the freedom struggle of the black people who were brought to America as slaves since the 17th century and helped to explain their pain. Although slavery is officially abolished, it still maintains its place among the blues music genres. We can count BB King, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton and Janis Japlin as blues.

What the African-born slaves in America at the end of the 19th century sang while working in the fields is the music of rebellion and sadness. Blues was the way African people living as slaves in America at that time expressed themselves.

When African slaves were brought in to work in their North American colonies, they brought their musical traditions with them. Their music included religious and business songs with vocal harmony. There was a rhythm harmony between the work done in business songs and the music. Blues was often sung solo, accompanied by guitar and piano.

Development of Blues Music

Blues originated in the Mississippi delta, just like Jazz music. Unlike jazz, Blues did not spread beyond the Southern region until a certain period. Until the end of the 19th century America was a large, rural country. At the beginning of the 20th century, large numbers of people started moving to industrial cities. After the Civil War and the liberation of the slaves, people who sang and played Blues music spread to different parts of the country.

Many ex-slaves moved from the cotton fields of the southern states to northern cities such as Chicago and Detroit, where they became popular with the Blues. In the 1950s, Blues were very popular in black clubs and bars. At that time, some Blues genres were influenced by Jazz. In the 1960s, the Blues spread beyond America to Britain and Western Europe. Some guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Stan Webb admired this genre and spearheaded the Blues-Rock trend. Blues has been the main driving force behind the emergence of rock music.

Blues Music Lyrics

There is a raw theme of emotion, love and loneliness in the lyrics. They also tell about injustice, despair, and most importantly, the longing for a better life. This situation has been transferred from musician to musician with oral tradition. Slang words are also common in the lyrics.

Why was Blues Music called “Blues”?

There are many different theories regarding the formation of the name of Blues Music. However, the strongest of these is that it originated from the term feelings of blue. In America, unhappiness means many different meanings such as gloom, sadness and despair. Another term, “feeling blue” means lamenting injustice and longing for lost lives. For this reason, the theme of the songs sung by African slaves was rebellion and sadness, causing their music to be called “Blues”. 

What is Delta Blues?

Delta Blues is one of the first styles of Blues music. It got its name from the Mississippi Delta. The Mississippi Delta is famous for its fertile land and poverty. Delta Blues caused the Blues to expand from regional to the whole country. Guitar and harmonica are the most used instruments in Delta Blues. Vocal styles in Delta Blues vary from emotional to passionate-hot. Muddy Waters, Howlin ‘Wolf and Little Walter are among the most famous names. 

4. Classical Music

Classical Western Music , generally associated with high culture , is a musical genre of Western European origin that exists completely separate from folk music. If you ask what is the most important feature of classical music; very loud.

Renaissance (1450–1600)

It is the period when the first compositions were seen and the transition from monophonic music to polyphonic music thanks to the contributions of Romanian Diogenes. During the Renaissance, when music developed around the church, famous composers were as follows:

  • Guillaume Dufay
  • Johannes Ockeghem
  • Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrinav Carlo Gesualdo
classical violin
Baroque Period (1600–1750)

The difference of the Baroque period from the Renaissance period is that a more elaborate expression is preferred; The harpsichord stands out as the most famous instrument of the period. It is also seen that instrumental music developed in this period. Most of the music terms and concepts used nowadays emerged during this period and have been used since then.

The Baroque period especially includes the works of the following composers:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Antonio vivaldi
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully
  • Arcangelo Corelli
  • Claudio Monteverdi
  • Jean-Philippe Rameau
  • Henry purcell
  • George frideric handel
  • Georg Philipp Telemann
Classical Period (1750–1820)

The difference of the classical period is that the works of this period are simpler than the Baroque period. While one of the factors that caused the closure of the Baroque era was the invention of the piano, one of the distinguishing features of the Classical period was the spread of the symphony. Among the famous composers of the period are the following names:

  • Joseph haydn
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck
  • Muzio Clementi

Romantic Period (1820–1900)

The Romantic period consists of three periods, in which the music reaches out to the public from the domination of the church and the palace, and when the patterns and order are destroyed, the more liberal romance emerges.

1. The Early Romantic Period

While Ludwig van Beethoven is seen as the pioneer of the period in which romantic expression first manifested itself, the following names are among the other famous composers of the period:

  • Franz schubert
  • Carl Maria von Weber
  • Gioacchino Rossini

2. Middle Romantic Period

Hector Berlioz draws attention during the period when romanticism was dominating all over Europe. Other famous composers include:

  • Franz Liszt
  • Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
  • Niccolo Paganini
  • Robert schumann
  • Frederic chopin
  • Johannes brahms
  • Giuseppe Verdi
  • Richard wagner

3.Late Romantic Period

During the period when the control of music developed on the axis of “Germany-Italy-France”, Russian, Czech and Scandinavian composers were also included in Classical Western Music with the nationalism movement.

  • Mikhail Glinka, Aleksandr Borodin, Modest Musorgski, Nikolay Rimski-Korsakov, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian)
  • Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak (Czech)
  • Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius (Scandinavian)

5- Folk Music (Folk, Country, Ethnic)

Folk music is a type of music produced by the inhabitants of a region, living by being transferred from person to person, having continuity, adorned with the original cultures of societies for centuries, living with general acceptance by the public and whose names are mostly unclear.

In America, folk music and country music are different types of music, but when we consider the world in general, they are also folk music. The term ethnic music is also used for Africa, the Pacific Islands, South America, the Middle East or the Far East, but they are also folk music. Folk songs can be defined as songs that use the local sounds and lyrics of the geography they originated in.

6- Electronic Music

Electronic music is the name given to the genre of music made with the help of electronic devices.

While the Telharmonium, Hammond B3 and electric guitar are examples of electro-mechanical instruments , examples of electronic instruments are Theremin, synthesizers and computers.

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Schmidt Synthesizer

The first electronic devices for making music were developed at the end of the 19th century (…), and soon afterwards Italian futurists discovered sounds (more like noise) that were not considered musical. During the 1920s and 1930s electronic instruments were introduced and the first compositions for electronic instruments were made.

In the 1940s, magnetic audio cassette musicians’ voices changed them to tape and later by changing the speed or direction of the tape. In the 1940s, electro-acoustic tape music developed in Egypt and France. Founded in Paris in 1948, “Musique Concrète” was based on bringing together recorded tracks of natural and industrial sounds. Music produced exclusively by electronic generators was first produced in Germany in 1953. Electronic music was also created in Japan and America in the 1950s. An important new development was the computer’s music composition.

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Léon Theremin introduces his own Theremin in 1927.

Electronic music has become very popular since the 1990s with the emergence of technologies that will improve it over the years. Contemporary electronic music comes in many varieties, from experimental art music to popular forms such as electronic dance music. Today, electronic music is much more connected with popular culture than its predecessor formats, which are most well-known in 4/4 form and are exclusive to niche markets.

7. Hip-hop (including Rap and R&B)

Hip-hop is a lifestyle. It originated in America in the late 70s and, just like the blues, becomes a way of expressing themselves for black people in difficulties. In addition to rap and R & B, we can count breakdance and graffiti in this lifestyle. Rap is a form of music with critical lyrics. R&B is a mix of jazz, rap, gospel and blues.

8-Pop Music Genres

Pop music actually refers to popular songs, not songs that have distinct characteristics like other music genres on the list. Although this term, which has been used since the 1940s, reminds us of more easily consumable light pieces, a hanged rock or rap piece can also be pop. The most famous examples in foreigners are Michael Jackson and Madonna. Tarkan and Sezen Aksu can be counted in our country.

Pop music is a music genre that develops with the urbanization culture, whose primary goal is to provide commercial prosperity and to create a sense of pleasure, far from complex sentences. This style of music that appeals to all ages has been used all over the world and is listened to by almost everyone today.


Popular music is a commercial music genre designed to be consumed by large masses in technologically advanced societies dominated by urban culture. Unlike traditional folk music, popular music is usually written by professionals and does not develop during the oral transmission process.

Historically, popular music has evolved beyond folk music patterns, gaining mass popularity, using every source, from medieval bard songs to art music for small select audiences. After the Industrial Revolution, true folk music began to disappear, and in the early 20th century, popular music of the Victorian era came under the dominance of waltzes, operettas, music halls, and vaudeville.


In the United States, musical shows and compositions by composers such as Stephen Foster came to the fore. In the 1890s, the “Tin Pan Alley” association of New York songwriters and music publishers emerged as the first popular music industry. Developing “ragtime”, the jerky music of the 1890s, African Americans also began to combine African rhythms with European harmonic structures. This formed a synthesis that would eventually create jazz music.

Music followers expanded enormously with the innovations brought by technology. By 1930, records had taken their place in homes. The development of microphones and sound recording techniques immediately found a commercial resonance. The reaching of radio broadcasting in rural areas enabled new music styles to spread rapidly.

American pop music, II. It reached an international influence in the years after World War II. In the 1950s, with the migration of African Americans to cities in the north, the transition from blues music to “rhythm and blues” and “Rock and roll”, which came to the fore with singers such as Elvis Presley, was born. Meanwhile, musical instruments continued to develop, and brand new “sounds” emerged.

In the 1960s, British rock bands led by the Beatles became influential and popular internationally. Rock and Soul spread rapidly among the youth. It eventually turned into a way for young people around the world to express themselves.

The story of 21st century pop music, on the other hand, continues to be the story of a more “general” music originating from rock and its derivatives, differentiating from music genres such as computer-aided disco, heavy metal, funk, punk, hip-hop.

9-Rock Music Genres

Rock music is a music genre that was born as “rock and roll” in the USA in the 1950s and developed into different styles especially in the UK and USA in the 1960s and after. It has its roots in the rock and roll of the 1940s and 1950s. Rock and roll is heavily inspired by blues, rhythm and blues and country music.

“What is rock music?” Rock music, which emerged in early 1950 by being influenced by the Blues music genre, is a type of music created by the reproaches and cruelties of black people.

Rock music originated from the Blues and generally used electric guitar as it has a scratchy sound that reflects distortion and rebellion. Rock music was represented in the 1950s by famous artists such as Sam Phillips, Jackie Brenston, Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. 


Rock music, which emerged in the 1950s, is a form of western world art music and folk music conceptions carried to pop music in line with their own concepts. American black music, described as Rhythm and Blues and Country, is cited as the source of rock music.

While these music mostly appealed to black people, in the early 1950s, a discjokey named Alan Freed noticed that white young people also listened to these music in his radio program and started using these music in his programs by calling it Rock and roll. This new style of music, which was listened regionally in the first place, later spread all over the world.

Rock music, along with Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, solidified its place at the top and improved itself. With the development of technology and the widespread use of amplifiers, the introduction of the electric guitar to rock music brought a new breath to this music and harder music started to be made. With the spread of group logic in the later periods, world famous bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones left their mark on rock music. Rock music, which constantly renews itself; It is divided into many different sub-branches such as hard rock, progressive rock, alternative rock, pop rock, punk rock, industrial rock, symphonic rock.


Hard Rock: It is based on music known as garage rock in the early 1960’s. Electro guitar, bass guitar and drum are indispensable instruments. It is a very harsh music style compared to other rock genres.

Alternative Rock: Towards the end of the 1980s, they opposed hard rock and wanted to be an alternative to this music style. In rock music, this name is given to all types of music that offer a new understanding of harmony. REM group is one of the most important representatives.

Progressive Rock: The style, which is a mixture of rock music and jazz, folk and classical music, has a structure that can be called more experimental than other styles. One of the most important points of this music style is that the music of each group is named after its own. Famous Beatles band and Moody Blues Group are considered to be the first representatives of this style.

Punk Rock

Punk Rock: Punk is a revolt against order and the systems brought about by order. It is against taboo and stereotyped behavior. It adopts the understanding that life should be lived daily. According to Punk, people should live according to what they want, not order. Not going to work every day, fun and disorder should be the main point of life. Punk makes music to protest his situations. This contradiction; it is reflected in their hair styles and clothes.

Industrial Rock: It is a style of music in which digital is at the forefront and against mechanization. Anger and rebellion form the basis of this style. The Ministry Group is one of the first representatives of this style.

Pop Rock: It is the understanding that adopts the lighter and simpler making of rock music. It is a music style that is close to pop music, with acoustic instruments and vocals predominant.

Symphonic Rock: It is a type of rock music that is formed by using classical music and rock music themes together. Queen is the first and most important representatives of this style.

10-Children’s Music

These songs, which appeal to children with their lyrics and melodies, actually need to be pedagogically controlled. Ali Baba’s Çiftliği is probably a song that finds its place in every language. Apart from that, many examples such as Little Frog, Red Fish, Barış Manço – My Friend Donkey can be given.

Nature, animals and plants are the subjects of children’s music. It is educational and instructive. Children’s music is told that a move is wrong. Likewise, a correct concept can be taught with the help of such music.  

Animal love can be instilled in children through music. The tones and lyrics of the music create a whole effect together. Children focus on both notes and words.  

What is the importance of making children’s music right? 

We can say that it is very important. Unlike children, some abilities and traits are atrophied in adults. For example, conscious, works very effectively in children. Moreover, it works with unconscious mechanisms. So whatever you give a child, you get it.  

Children never forget what they saw or heard. Our eyeballs begin to develop from the moment we are born. Another important feature of the eyeballs is their ability to see around at a wider angle. While we imagine that we are seeing a narrower area, we actually see a larger area.  

What we see and hear is recorded by the brain. Everything we interact with is recorded by the brain, even if we do not remember. We alone cannot remember these recorded effects.  

However, this is not the case with children. Children never forget what they hear and see. Because these abilities, which are in every human being, have not yet become atrophied and work very well.  

This is how important it is to make children’s music. Even the slightest negativity in the music is recorded by the child’s brain and cannot be forgotten. That’s why childhood memories are strong. 

Those who make children’s music should be experienced and know what they are doing.  

Children’s Guitar

Speaking of children’s music, we mentioned in our previous articles how important it is for a child to deal with a musical instrument. Children’s guitar  is one of these musical instruments. In our previous articles, we talked about the piano musical instrument and its effects on child development.  

In fact, we can say that every musical instrument is important in the development of children. They have the ability to improve hand and brain coordination. These features are also present in the guitar in the stringed instrument group.  

Its physiological benefit is the development of hand skills and effective body control.  

Spiritually, the pleasure of learning a new piece of music and that impulsive momentum of success can be cited as an example.  

In life, we all want to be successful and to be appreciated by other people. We work hard to achieve this. Although this motive is not important to some people, let’s point out that it is important to many people.  

Some people just want to, but do not act or do enough for it.  

Dealing with a musical instrument stimulates children’s motives to achieve and work harder. It gives them purpose. The purpose of learning the musical instrument and the motivation to use it better contribute to the development of musical genres.

11-Types of Religious Music

Again, religious music that can be considered as a separate category, although it cannot be included in the music genres; songs that represent a certain belief, such as hymns, church songs, or even New Age music. They often have lyrics and spiritual melodies containing references to a scripture. It is possible to see more active performances in churches of African origin.

Mosque Music

It is the music that can be improvised in a certain style or during performance without musical accompaniment with its own understanding and style after prayers in mosques.

The forms used in mosque music are:

Adhan : It is recited by the muezzin in an illegal and simple way to call for prayer.

Salat : These are prayers read on Friday, funerals, religious festivals and ceremonies. Itrî’s Salati Ümmiye in the makam segah is an important example used in the Islamic world.

Mevlit : It is a work that mentions the life and birth of the Prophet. It is read by the mevlithans without saz accompaniment. Written in Turkish and the most widely read mawlid is the work of Süleyman Çelebi.

Ascension : It is the form that deals with the ascension of the Prophet. Mosque music is performed only with the human voice, without the use of instruments or percussion instruments.

12-Sufi Music

In the name of the places used by various sects in the religion of Islam, they are called dervish lodges, dervish lodges for older ones and dervish lodges for small ones. The places called Mevlidhane are places where Sufi music develops and grows like a school.

Great Turkish mystic Mevlana Celaleddîni Rumî; By blending poetry, music and sky, he brought a new dimension to expressing the love of man and God. Thanks to Mevlana and his son Sultan Veled, the Mevlevi lodges developed and pioneered the spread of Islamic thought in a Sufi dimension.

Tekke music genres are:

Mevlevi ritual: The great compositions performed by the Mevlevi during the muqabah are called the Mevlevi ritual. In response to the sect ceremonies in the Mevlevi lodge, the semahane where they sema, and those who play and read are called mutriban. While the most important instruments of Mevlevi order are ney and kudum, later instruments such as violin, ud, and rebab were added. The most important neyzen and kudümzen are called neyzenbaşı, kudümzenbaşı.

A ritual consists of chapters, selam, greetings, greetings, selam, last pesrev and son Yürük semai, respectively. Each ritual takes the name of the makam in which the first salutation was composed.

Kaside : It is a type of poetry in Divan literature. The recitation of religious odes as if they are dividing forms the form of ode. It is read illegally and solo.

Mersiye : It is the most developed form of poetry in Divan literature and corresponds to lament in folk poetry. The composed version of poems expressing the sadness and pain of death is called mersiye.

Divine : These are works that are about the love of Allah and the prophet and composed in different makams with various styles. Hymns are read by one or more people in mosques, tekkes and prayer assemblies.

religious music

Although hymns are also a general name given to religious music works, Hz. If it is composed in the form of naat if it praises the Prophet, if it belongs to the Arabic shugul, if it belongs to the Bektashi, then the stop, if it is composed in the style of the Bektashi style, the stop is Hz. If it contains the attributes of Muhammad, it is named with names such as tesvih.

Takbir: It is the form that means Allahu Akbar (Allah is the greatest) on religious and national days before and after war on funeral, Friday, Mawlid and religious holidays and is formed by repeating this word.



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Merhaba, Ben Fatih Arkan,bloğuma hoşgeldiniz. Kendimi kısaca tanıtayım. 1972 İstanbul doğumluyum. Evli ve 3 çocuk babasıyım. Anadolu Üniversitesi İşletme Fakültesi mezunuyum. Adım ve soyadım olan isimli web sitesinde olabildiğince faydalı ve güncel haberleri yayınlamaya çaba gösteriyorum. İlginize teşekkür ederim.

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