Defining Inspirational Music Genres: Types and Crossovers

Defining Inspirational Music Genres: Types and Crossovers

If you love music, compose, or dance, you know how important it can be to understand the many different music genres. Even if you don't like certain genres, having a basic understanding of them can help you create your own sound.

What Are Music Genres?

Music can be categorized depending on the musical elements involved. Some genres, for example, are defined by the instruments they use, while others are based on timing and patterns used. With that being said, let's take a closer look at and define some of the more inspirational music genre types and crossovers.

The Blues

The Blues were introduced in the 19th century and were played by a single performer using a guitar or banjo. However, by the 1960s, the Blues had evolved and introduced the use of electric guitars, basses, and drums.

One of the more common elements you will find in Blues music is the 12 bar blues chord structure. There are four bars on the root note, followed by two on the 4th note of the scale.

A good example of Blues music is B.B. King and the song, "How Blue Can You Get."

A more modern genre you may be familiar with is dance. Dance is rooted in disco and combines pop and electronic dance. It was popularized in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It has since become the focus of many sub-genres of music that have gained popularity so much that they have become their own genres in their own right.

There are many great dance songs we could mention that came straight out of the 80s, but for time's sake, we will say a good example of dance music to listen to from the late 80s is The Bangles, "Walk Like an Egyptian" from their album, Different Light released in 1986.


If you are looking for more of a beat, Funk uses a syncopated beat and a heavy bass line. Funk originates from African American influences and has elements of Soul, Jazz, and R&B. It rose to popularity in the 1960s and has since influenced a variety of other music genres including dance and modern rock.

A good example of Funk is James Brown, "It's a Man's World."


Jazz has been rooted in New Orleans since the early 1900s and offers a lot in the way of musical flexibility, some of which you can't really see from other music genres. They mix rhythms and tempos while also placing an emphasis on solos. There is usually a drummer and a bass instrument in a jazz group along with other woodwind or stringed instruments.

One of the more influential jazz musicians was Miles Davis. He started playing his trumpet when he was just thirteen years old and landed his first professional job when he joined the Eddie Randall band.

A good example of jazz would be his song, "So What."


When talking about music genres, opera is considered part of the classical music tradition. It includes vocal performances and artists use their music to tell a story. Opera and classical music often overlap and crossover because the lines between the two are so often blurred.

A good example of an opera song is Queen of the Night's Aria  The Magic Flute.
As you can see, this is just a very small sampling of the different types of music genres you can find today.

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