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Music Categories Explained

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by TaurusBeats (Taurus James)

Music Categories: Explanation and Examples
Sub-genres: Folk; Folk-Pop; Folk-Rock; Acoustic Rock; Celtic
Artists: The Chieftains; Peter, Paul & Mary; Bob Dylan; Jackson Browne; James Taylor; Joni Mitchell; Simon & Garfunkel; Belle and Sebastian
Idea: Predominantly acoustic music by singer-songwriters with roots in folk, folk-pop and folk-rock traditions.

Sub-genres: Country; Southern Rock; Honky Tonk; Cowboy; Western Swing; Bluegrass; Rockabilly
Artists: Johnny Cash; Randy Travis; Willie Nelson; Lynyrd Skynyrd; Statler Brothers; Bill Monro; Stray Cats
Idea: From traditional Country to Southern Swing, this category is made up of Western, Southern and backwoods sounds.

Rock 'n Roll
Sub-genres: Oldies Rock and Roll; Surf; Boogie Woogie
Artists: Bill Halley; Chuck Berry; The Rolling Stones; The Beach Boys; The Beatles (1962-65); Tom Petty
Idea: Enthusiastic, straightforward, unpretentious Rock and Roll.

Sub-genres: Pop; Pop-Rock; Glam Rock; Teen Idol; Bubblegum; Boy Bands
Artists: Wham!; Michael Jackson; Michelle Branch; Bon Jovi; Queen; Ben Folds; Britney Spears; Air
Idea: Mainstream Pop sound of commercial radio; hits with a hook, lighter than Hard Rock.

Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Sub-genres: Hard Rock; Heavy Metal; Psychedelic; Hair Bands
Artists: Led Zeppeli; Guns 'n Rose; Jimi Hendrix; Megadeth; Cream; Metallica; Aerosmith; Joe Santriani; AC/DC
Idea: Harder rock, usually with distortion; blues inflected rock; usually loud, aggressive guitar rock.

Sub-genres: Punk, Metal Punk; Grunge; Thrash; Goth-Rock; Emo
Artsists: Sex Pistols; Nirvana; Green Day; Slayer; The Clash; The Ramones; Billy Idol
Idea: Back-to-basics no-frills garage rock with an edge; simpler beat and usually more repetitive than Hard Rock; often low-fidelity production.

Progressive/Art Rock
Sub-genres: Prog-Rock; Art Rock; Progressive Metal
Artists: Yes; Rush; Dream Theatre; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Peter Gabriel; Tool; King Crimson
Idea: Elaborate, virtuoso rock that experiments with unusual meters; complex, heady, dense, epic.

Alternative/Indie Rock
Sub-genres: Alternative Rock/Pop; Indie Rock; College Rock; New Wave
Artists: Beck; Red Hot Chili Peppers; Keven Gilbert; Fiona Apple; Ani Difranco; Poe; Phish; Elvis Costello; Radiohead; Stereolab
Idea: Music that breaks Rock/Folk/Experimental boundaries and becomes a unique expression of the musician; a place for hard-to-fit unique rock sounds; sometimes associated with artists that started without a label.

Soft Rock/Adult
Sub-genres: Ballad; Adult Contemporary; Pop-Rock;
Artists: Sting; Dido; Paul Simon; Melissa Machester; James Taylor; Carol King; Elton John; Fleetwood Mac; Michael Bolton
Idea: Reflective, intimate, usually smooth and well crafted singer-songwriter tunes often with mature lyrics.

Sub-genres: Mowtown; Soul-Blues; Doo Wop; Memphis; Contemporary R&B; Nu Soul; New Jack Swing
Artists: Marvin Gaye; Ray Charles; Aretha Franklin; The Coasters; Prince; En Vogue; Lauryn Hill; Mary J. Blige
Idea: Evolving out of the African American Jump Blues of the 1940's; blues chord changes with steady rhythms and an urban sensibitily; Gospel is the precursor to Soul and comes from the religious/African American experience.

Sub-genres: Blues; Blues Rock; Electric Blues; Jump Blues; Jazz Blues
Artists: Lead Belly; Muddy Waters; B. B. King; Eric Clapton; Blues Traveler; Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused"; Stevie Ray Vaughn; Billie Holiday; Etta James
Idea: When you know the blues, you know the blues. If you don't, just wait...

Sub-genres: Jazz; Swing; Big Band; Bebop; Modal; Fusion; Vocalese-Scat; Dixieland; Ragtime
Artists: Duke Ellington; Thelonius Monk; Miles Davis; Pat Metheny; Chic Corea; Weather Report; Squirrel Nut Zippers
Idea: Complex chords, lead/vocal stylings, frequent syncopations, off-beat and polyrhythms separate jazz from its roots in blues; often played involving improvisation.

Showtunes/Vocal Standards
Sub-genres: Musicals; Standard Vocal Jazz; Standards 1920-60; Lounge-Cabaret; Vaudeville
Artists: Ella Fitzerald to Norah Jones; Rodgers and Hammerstein; Stephen Sonheim to Andrew Lloyd Webber; Burt Bacharach
Idea: A place for mainly vocal music often sung in cabarets or on the musical stage.

New Age Acoustic
Sub-genres: New Age Jazz; Smooth Jazz; Ambient Acoustic; New Age Celtic; Contemporary Instrumental
Artists: Acoustic Alchemy; Alex de Grassi; Tangerine Dream; Kenny G; Windham Hill Artists; Kitaro; Yanni; Enya
Idea: New Age music is different from Electronica New Age in that it is more akin to jazz and performed, at least in part, on acoustic instruments; meditative, spiritual, often peaceful and jazz inflected.

Ambient Electronica
Sub-genres: Symphonic Electronica; New Age Electronica; Ambient Breakbeat; Downtempo; Tribal
Artists: Moby; Biospere; Transglobal Underground; Bryan Eno; Wendy Carlos
Idea: Relaxing, meditative, spiritual, beautiful and at times dramatic electronica and soundscape washes.

Sub-genres: Club/Dance; Synth-pop; Techno; Electro; Disco; Euro-Dance
Artists: Sign; Orbital; 69; Kraftwerks; Depeche Mode; Howard Jones; Human League; Autechre; Squarepusher
Idea: Synth, sample and loop driven; more playful and dancy than the other Electronica genres.

House; Acid House; Acid Jazz; Industrial; Darkwave; Rave; Hardcore; Trance; Breakbeat
Artists: Cybotron; Ministry; Nine In Nails; Vinylgroover; Meat Beat Manifesto
Idea: Heavier, more intense and driving than the other Electronica genres; sometimes harsh and aggressive.

Sub-genres: Funk; Electro-Funk; Trip-Hop Funk; R&B Funk; Soul Funk
Artrists: Sly Stone; Jamiroquai; Earth Wind Fire; P Funk; War; James Brown's "Sex Machine"
Idea: A fusion of jazz and R&B, Funk tends to stay in a syncopated groove; gets "Slippery When Wet."

Sub-genres: Rap; .Gangsta Rap; Hip-Hop; Urban; Hardcore Rap
Artists: Run-DMC; Public Enemy; Dr. Dre; Snoop Dogg; Beastie Boys; 50 cent; Outkast; Eminem; Nellie
Idea: Mostly spoken, rhythmic Rap and Hip-Hop genre songs often involve a confrontational and sometimes controversial message, spoken against a driving, repetitive beat.

Sub-genres: Reggae; Ska; Roots Reggae; Dub Poetry
Artists: Bob Marley; The Skatalites; Twinkle Brothers; The Bosstones; The Police; No Doubt
Idea: Jamaican music with roots in New Orleans, combining Jump Blues/R&B with Carribean rhythms, relying on skittering guitar and repetitive syncopated percussion notably replacing the downbeat with the upbeat on one or more instruments.

Sub-genres: Latin Jazz; Salsa; Samba; Mambo; Cha-Cha-; Rhumba; Bossa Nova; Charanga; Bolero; Contemporary Latin Pop; Brazilian Jazz
Artists: Tito Puente; Santana; Latin Sound Machine/Gloria Estaphon; Marc Anthony
Idea: This genre ranges from the classic Latin Jazz instrumental bands to modern Pop Latin balladeers, all of which retain the sexy subtleties of this dancy, hot style.

Sub-genres: World Pop-Rock; All National/Ethnic Indegeniouos Musical styles; Ethinic Folk Music; Pan-Global; Klezmer; Spanish Flemenco; ; Argentinian Tango; Peruvian Andes' Music; Pakistani Qawwali; African...
Artists: Mickey Hart; Bulgarian National Women's Chorus; Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Caliche; Astor Piazzola
Idea: This is a catch-all for indigenous music from around the world.

Sub-genres: Renaissance; Baroque; Classical; Romantic; Twentieth Century; Opera; Pop Classical
Artists: Bach; Mozart; Beethoven; Chopin; John Williams; Yo-Yo Ma; Kronos Quartet; Philip Glass; Segovia; Luciano Pavarotti; Josh Groban
Idea: Everything classical in nature: piano; orchestra; vocal; solo instruments.

Sub-genres: Video Game music; Cinematic Music
Artists: John Selvia; Jake Kaufman
Idea: A place of members to place their compositions that are inspired by or might be destined for Video Games or Film.

Sub-genres: Avante Garde; Noise; Special Effects; Post-Modern
Artists: Negativeland; John Cage; Amon Tobin; Kid Koala
Idea: Music not conforming to normal rhythmic or melodic customs; submissions utilizing mainly FX, special effects, noise, etc.

Artists: Rage Against The Machine; Woody Guthrie; Crosby,Stills, Nash & Young
Idea: Music in any style that is dedicated to politcal or social content.

Sub-genres: Christian; Contemporary Christian; Inspirational; Gospel; Chant; Meditative; Liturgical; Tibetan; Sung Prayers...
Idea: Music of any style dedicated to religious themes or expression.

Artists: Weird Al Yankovic; Monty Python's Flying Circus; They Might Be Giants; Adam Sandler; Tiny Tim
Idea: This category groups together songs in any genre that are meant to be funny, employ satire, or intend to parody an artist, style or specific song.

Partial (collaborative tracks)
Idea: This category is either for shared submissions which are presented to the MacJams membership for collaborative purposes or are musical sketches of songs the songwriter intends to complete later but would like comments on before continuing.

don't fit in any other category.
Tags: music, categories, explained

What People Are Saying

Edward Samuel - India

This site has good instrumental music

Lord Toranaga - na

you make great videos. excellent production quality!

Zulu Kain (ZK) - na

Word up Man of God, Your flow is hot man, I listened to the sample of ya "To All the Soldiers" Track and I felt ya immediately. Aye Imma hit you up for a colab sometime, but until then. Keep reppin Christ, and live life to change lives. Peace, ZK

weiss1377 - na

i liked the video very much. The sample, the beat (SO GOOD...) and the tutorial.?

Randy Lovett - na

Hey James, my name is Randy Lovett I first stumbled across your instrumentals late 2007 while working in Ohio. I just recently recieved an email for moody music and couldnt believe you were there. I couldnt remimber your name to get to your sight. i had been wanting to hear those instumentals all this time. Your tracks are very inspirational. Your are very talented. What are your greatest accomoplisments from your talent? Who have you been able to meet and work with? Hope to hear back soon, Peace...Randy
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