A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring The Roots And Evolution Of Sound

Posted by Mike Schumacher

Music is a universal language that everyone understands. Everyone has their own favorite genres and subgenres, and people are very passionate about their music.

Music brings back memories, evokes certain emotions, and sets the mood for anything from a relaxing night in to a crazy night out. With the evolution of music, new genres and subgenres are emerging at a fast pace.

As music continues to develop and grow, it is interesting to look into the roots of music genres and how they have evolved. How have different sounds emerged? What influences these sounds? These are some questions that can be answered by exploring the different music genres.

This article will explore some of the most popular music genres and take a look at where they came from and how they have evolved over time.


A very popular genre of music in the modern world is rap. Many songs on the top charts are rap songs, and many music artists started their careers with rap songs.

Many people believe that rap originated in the inner city communities, most notably among African-American and Hispanic communities. This may be due to the emphasis put on rhyme in poetry, which is one of the main components of rap music.

Others believe that hip-hop originated in the music culture of South Korea, and was later brought to America where it took off as its own genre. This theory is disputed by many American rappers, however.

Regardless of where it came from, rap is a very dynamic music genre that constantly evolves. New sounds are introduced and old ones phased out to make way for the new hip sound.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

R&B stands for rhythm and blues. Originally, R&B referred to songs that were produced in the United States predominantly by black artists for black audiences.

Over time, the genre has expanded to include music produced by non-black artists and audiences of all races. Many consider Kanye West to have brought this shift into prominence, with his song “Jesus Walks” being considered a landmark song for the shift from exclusive R&B audiences to universal listeners.

Many of the earliest songs categorized as R&B were actually blues songs that had a more rhythmic quality to them. This is why many early R&B songs feature very strong bass and drum lines. As music technology advanced, so did the sound of R&B music.

Some recent artists that produce music in the R&B genre are The Weeknd, Beyoncé, and Ariana Grande.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

Blues is a genre of music that originated in African-American communities in the southern United States around the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many attribute the origin of blues to the work of a few famous musicians, most notably WC Handy.

Many songs categorized as blues are titled after its characteristic harmonic structure, like “New Orleans Blues” or “St. Louis Blues”, referencing where many artists that performed this music were from.

Some other defining features of blues music include the use of blue notes, specifically when a note or chord is slightly lowered or raised in pitch, and syncopation, where the rhythm of a song is altered.

Some well-known artists that have performed blues music include Bessie Smith, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters. Many modern day artists also perform music that incorporates elements of blues into it. Some examples are Adele, Lana Del Rey, and Lorde.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

Rock is a genre of music that has its roots in the middle of the twentieth century. It came about when Elvis Presley introduced rock and roll music to the world.

Elvis was a huge influence on later rock artists, and his music was even named after him- “rock.” Many early rock artists were inspired by his style, including his dress and musical instrument use.

Later rock artists also drew inspiration from other genres like heavy metal, hip-hop, and classical music. Artists like Kanye West use heavy guitar in their songs as well as other genres to create a more complex sound.

Some of the most popular rock artists today are Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber. Some of the earliest and most influential include The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and AC/DC.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

Before we dive into the different genres, let’s talk about classical music. Classical music is a huge part of the history of music, and even the current music scene.

Many artists cite Bach and other classical composers as inspiration for their songs. Many songs are even composed in a classical style, with predictable harmonic and rhythmic patterns.

Some songs are even named after classical compositions, like Beyoncé’s “Fever,” which is named after the Opera “Fever Darling.”

Even when artists are not inspired by classical music, it is often studied due to its predictability and harmony. Many musicians attend classes or learn independently through studying classical music.

It is important to remember that although it is studied as a separate genre, it influences many other genres through this study.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

Electronic dance music, or EDM, is a genre of music that heavily emphasizes synthesized instrumentals and heavy, steady beats. Dance songs are often categorized under EDM.

Many artists today are considered EDM artists, such as The Chainsmokers, Calvin Harris, and Marshmello. Some other famous EDM artists are David Guetta, Avicii, and Martin Garrix.

EDM music can trace its roots back to funk and R&B music in the early 1990s. Artists like Usher and James Brown were popular at the time, and had heavy synthesized beats and rhythms that would become the root of modern EDM music.

Later on in the 2000s, disco became a bigger part of EDM as some artists began incorporating more electronic sounds into their songs. This is where some would begin labeling music as dance music or club music to differentiate it from other genres.

EDM has continued to evolve over the years with new sounds being introduced and old ones being taken out.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

A subgenre of rock is indie. Indie music is made by independent artists, typically in small cities or countries, who do not have large recording studios or funding.

Many indie artists use online platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube to publish their music. With the help of technology, indie artists can create some high-quality soundtracks!

Indie music varies in genre from song to song, but overall emphasizes the inner thoughts and feelings of the artist. The music is also usually not popularized by big media sources which adds to its independence.

Some examples of well-known indie artists are The Weeknd, Travis Scott, and Lana Del Rey.


A Journey Through Music Genres: Exploring the Roots and Evolution of Sound

Folk music is often referred to as the roots of music. Many genres today draw heavy inspiration from folk songs and traditions. Even some popular pop songs feature folk instruments, like the hit song Sorry by Beyoncé, which features a banjo as a prominent instrument.

Many musicians travel abroad to explore foreign folk music and how to incorporate it into their own music. Others study the roots of music and how different cultures use music in different ways, like in rituals or for entertainment.

Some of the most well-known folk musicians are Bob Dylan, The Lumineers, and Johnny Cash. All of these artists have had great success in introducing folk songs into the mainstream market.

Anyone can be a folk musician! Just explore your roots and what inspires you and let that flow out into your music.

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