Types of Music Genres: A Complete Guide

 Types of Music Genres: A Complete Guide

The world of music is exciting and complex. There is a vast range of bands and artists to choose from, and the internet makes them more accessible than ever before.

Are you finding yourself bored with your usual artists? It might make sense to check out a new genre. This article lists some great types of music genres for you to try out.


The key characteristic of blues music is that it’s all based around a specific instrument – the guitar. The whole point of playing blues is that you don’t need to be musically knowledgeable to play it.

The “rules” of the genre are so simple that you can learn to play the blues while being completely illiterate. This made it a popular style among the African American working class from the 1860s onwards.

The blues is characterized by its structured yet improvisational nature. Typically blues features a heavy amount of guitar solos and licks with liberal use of string bending and vibrato.


Rock music is essentially a progression of Blues music. Rock music uses many of the same riffs and licks as blues music, but the guitars are much more amplified and overdriven.

Rock is also characterized by a solid backbeat and driving bassline to push the track along. Early rock musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones had a very obvious blues influence.

With later rock acts, the blues influence is less obvious. With that said, most rock guitarists still use the principles behind the blues in their playing.

Another key characteristic of rock music is its volume. The quintessential rock guitar sound is a tube amplifier being pushed into overdrive. For a lot of rock fans, that overdriven sound is the key to enjoying music.


While rock music introduced overdriven and distorted guitar sounds to the world, it was metal that pushed this sound to the extreme. Metal was basically bourne out of a desire to make rock music louder and heavier.

In metal music, everything that makes rock intense is pushed to the extreme. For example, many metal guitarists use amps that allow them to push the gain way higher than other genres.

There are many different sub-genres of metal. For example, there is thrash metal which is characterized by speed. In this sub-genre, guitarists approach the instrument with an almost percussive style, playing pounding riffs at speeds exceeding 200bpm.

Metal musicians tend to use certain musical intervals, such as the tritone, to give the tracks a dark and evil sound. If you like to listen to music loud, metal could be for you.


While genres like metal are about technical finesse at playing your instrument, punk is all about playing music with attitude. Punk bands generally follow a similar format to rock and metal bands, but the songs are generally quite simple from a technical perspective.

The key to punk is very simple music but played loud and fast, with a lot of energy. One of the earliest punk bands, The Ramones, played so fast that they could play 25 songs in 30 minutes.

The exciting thing about punk music is that it’s open to anyone. You don’t need a musical education or incredible talent. All you need is energy, enthusiasm, and some guitars and drums.


Techno music is music characterized entirely by technology. Unlike the previous genres that are all about performing on musical instruments, with techno, the technology itself is the instrument.

To make “pure” techno, you don’t use any real instrument sounds at all. All of the sounds come from synthesizers and drum machines. Techno music is also characterized by repetition. It’s not uncommon for a techno song to consist of the same bar looped over and over again.

The elements of the loop are then manipulated over time so that the track changes and evolves. For example, you might slowly tweak the filter of a bassline so that the track’s energy slowly builds.

Generally, techno music is played by a DJ at a club or rave. Usually, the focus of the music isn’t on the performance but rather the DJ plays tracks to facilitate a party atmosphere.


Hip-Hop is another music genre characterized by technology. Hip-hop is based on the art of sampling. This is when you use a computer or sampler to record a small snippet of audio. Artists then manipulate that snippet to create a whole new track.

Hip-hop was born when people got their hands on the earliest samplers and started sampling breakbeats from old funk records. In a lot of funk tracks, the rest of the band would drop out while the drummer continued to play the beat.

Hip-hop artists took those beats and added other musical elements over the top of them.

Drum and Bass / Jungle

Drum and Bass and Jungle is a very similar genre to Hip-hop in that it’s based around sampled breakbeats. The difference here is the speed. Drum and bass and jungle records are around double the speed of a typical hip-hop record.

This genre is also known for its deep rolling basslines. Unlike hip-hop, drum and bass/jungle remains relatively niche. It’s only very well known in the UK, where it was created. If you want to hear what this kind of music sounds like, you might head over to https://setapp.com/.

There Are Many More Types of Music Genres Out There to Discover

This list represents only a tiny fraction of the types of music out there waiting to be discovered. On top of that, every genre listed here also has a number of distinctive sub-genres.

The internet means that it’s never been easier to discover new types of music genres, so get out there and find out what the world of music has to offer.

If you want to learn more about other music-related topics, check out the rest of our blog posts.


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