5 Genres All Musicians Should Be Familiar With

Every musician should be familiar with not only the genre of music he or she particularly likes, but also other different genres of music. Many people have varying tastes in music, with interests lying in two or three different types of music styles.

So, as a musician, it is smart to combine different aspects of various genres to compose original music to market to a wide audience. The following five are widely known styles of music all artists should familiarize themselves with to both find inspiration and write original music.

1. Pop

One of the most popular genres of music is pop. The pop music market is also the largest market in the industry, giving it the most potential to reach a wide variety of fans.

Today’s youth and teens particularly like this style of music, and artists such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber have succeeded tremendously by marketing pop music. Pop music is a style of music that is very easy to be drawn to, as it has a catchy beat and rhythm that everyone will find fun and happy.

Check out “Cheap Thrills” by Sia!

2. Alternative

The alternative music industry is now growing rapidly, and many alternative and indie artists perform at music festivals such as Coachella, Outside Lands, and Lollapalooza, further getting their names out there. Alternative rock, previously defined by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, is now gaining more popularity among the masses.

The lyrics of this style of music center around heavy, angsty emotions and connect with many young people pondering the meaning of life. What used to be an “underground” music industry is now a growing one, and many introverted and thoughtful teens find this style of music truthful and relatable.

Listen to “Down By the Water” by The Drums.

3. Electronic

Electronic music is growing more and more popular, and electronic dance music (EDM) has even meshed with pop music in some aspects. One of the most appealing qualities of electronic music is the catchy beat and different sound effects that combine to form a fun, danceable song. Electronic music can also be used in different settings, such as clubs, travel vlogs (Casey Neistat on YouTube), commercials (GoPro), etc.

Recently, many electronic music mixers have been taking pop songs and creating remixes that have become even more popular than the original songs, as seen with Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill in Ibiza.” Essentially, electronic music utilizes beats and rhythms and instrumental composition to create fun, catchy songs.

Check out “I Took a Pill in Ibiza (Seeb Remix)” by Mike Posner.

4. Jazz

Even though your style of music may not be related to jazz or to any classical music in general, remember that music has its roots in these types of instrumental music. More specifically, many jazz beats are hidden beneath layers of rap and percussion.

Jazz possesses a swing and particular beat that is the basis for many catchy pop and electronic songs. Many popular songs begin with a jazzy melody, before layers of production and fancy ornaments are added to polish the composition.

To be a more well-rounded and better prepared musician, it is important to know that beneath all the electronics and instruments is the basic melody rooted in instrumental music. Being familiar with jazz music may also help you write original songs and compose your own melodies.

Listen to “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra.

5. Classical

With the above jazz tips in mind, remember that instrumental music is the fundamental core of all music composition. Even if you’re a pop music artist, you shouldn’t distance yourself from classical music because this type of instrumental music is an essential instrument in writing your own original melodies.

There’s a reason the some of the earliest forms of music were classical songs. When writing songs, the two parts of instrumental and lyrics come together at the last stage. So, familiarize yourself with classical music to better polish your melody-writing skills.

Check out “Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends” by ThePianoGuys!

As a budding musician, it is important to be well-rounded and familiarize yourself with different types of music genres to further polish the specific style of music you want to focus on. All compositions combine different aspects of various genres, so keep in mind you may use qualities of these different styles of music in your own compositions.

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Angelina Hue enjoys listening to a wide variety of music, from instrumental movie scores to alternative indie to Korean pop music. She also likes to make short films and write fiction.

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