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7 Main American Music Genres You Must Know

american music genres

Every individual today has his or her own definition of ‘good’ music. This is because of the growing number of genres and sub-genres in mainstream and underground music scene. Many of the music genres are a result of evolution over the years.

There can be a number of reasons for it, the main being societal and cultural influences. This is why you’ll see that every region in the world has its own specific musical flavor. Here we’ll try to examine the main musical genres of the United States.

1. Blues

Adopted by the African-American community from traditional music of Africa, blues started off as the Mississippi Delta Blues. It soon became the biggest and the most influential American music genre. In those days, blues was a medium for expressing agony through slow moving rhythms. Blues songs had some emotional lines in its lyrics, but sometimes they had tragicomic situations.

2. Jazz

The scope and boundaries of jazz music has led to several debates within the music community. No one has been able to provide an accurate description of jazz that would apply to the entire genre. This is a genre that went through an evolution in the early 20th century.

In jazz, the early artists were all African-Americans. From this genre, many other genres were born in its time. However, jazz music mainly uses the notes of blues. It uses instruments such as the massive double bass and saxophone.

3. Rock

The main focus is on the electric guitar in rock music. Many solos can be created using the bass guitar and drums. For some time, even synthesizers were popular in the creation of songs in this genre. Rock music began hitting the streets in the mid-20th century. Later, it evolved as a subset of rock ‘n’ roll, classic and folk music, and rhythm and blues. All of these genres had been around since the 1940s.

4. Country

Country music has been embraced by many artists, including the legendary Elvis Presley. It is among the oldest forms of commercial music. This music genre originated in southern parts of the United States during the 1920s. Over the years, it gradually spread to many different corners of the world.

5. Folk

Folk music is quite similar to country and blues music. The main instrument used in this genre is often an acoustic guitar. Folk songs also use other instruments, such as banjos and accordion. This genre of music is typically a means of telling stories and making political commentary. It has also been used as a tool for protest. Thus, folk music has this revolutionary character to it.

6. Hip Hop and Rap

The major focus in hip hop or rap music is on DJ-scratching and hard beats. This is complemented by a type of rhythmic spoken word placed on top. It also involves a generous use of synthetic sounds. Also used in this form of music are samples, which involve clips taken from other recordings and re-purposed. Their purpose is to create new artistic expressions. Hip hop and rap is a quite new to the growing list of American music genres.

7. Pop

This is not considered as a genre by many. Pop is a shortened term for popular and refers to music that has a popular appeal. So, pop music can refer to any song from any genre. This is what makes pop music the most confusing among all the genres.

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