Types of music

‘What kind of music do you like?’ – How often have you been asked this question and been unable to answer it? In today’s lesson we look at vocabulary that we can use to help us answer this question. This is a list of 10 different styles of music. We also call them genres. When native English speakers ask the question ‘What kind of music do you like?’, they are expecting to hear you say one, two or even three of these genres:

Max: What kind of music do you like?
Suzy: I like listening to dance music, country and blues. How about you?
Max: I like listening to dance music too. I also like listening to classical music and reggae.

Different types of music

1) Blues

This style of music is usually slow and often sad. It started in the southern US. Singers often sing about their difficult lives or their bad luck.

Famous blues singers include B.B. King, Bessie Davis, and Otis Rush.

2) Classical music

With this style of music, there is no singing. It is only instrumental.

Famous composers of classical music include Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach.

3) Reggae

This style of music comes from Jamaica. It has strong second and fourth beats. Reggae songs often contain non-standard grammar.

Famous reggae singers include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer.

4) Children’s Music

This style of music is easy to understand. They are songs that have been especially written for children. Yes, there are adults that like these songs too. 🙂

5) Country

This is a popular style of music that is based on traditional music from the western and southern US.

Famous country singers include Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.

6) Dance music

You can often hear this style of music in night clubs. It has a very strong beat and people like to dance to it.

7) Easy Listening

This style of music is not difficult, complicated, or serious. This is a wide style and may include other styles of music.

Famous singers of this style of music include André Rieu, Andre Kostelanetz, and Henry Mancini.

8) Electronic music

This style of music is often made on the computer or with other electronic instruments.

9) Rock music

This style of dance music began in the USA in the 1950s. It has a strong loud beat and simple tunes that are often repeated.

Famous rock bands include U2, The Beatles, and The Eagles.

10) Heavy Metal/Metal

This is a style of rock music that is often played loudly using electrical instruments.

Famous heavy metal bands include Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

11) Hip-hop

In this style of music, songs are often about politics or the society. The hip-hop artists speak the words rather than sing them. It is also called rap music or hip hop music.

Famous hip-hop artists include Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Notorious B.I.G.

12) Gospel

This is a style of religious music. It was started by African Americans in the south of the US. It is usually performed by groups of singers with strong voices.

Famous gospel groups include the Fairfield Four, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Golden Gate Quartet.

13) Jazz

This style of music was developed in the early 20th century. The music is often improvised. This means that the performers change the music as they perform.

Famous jazz performers include Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Andy Williams.

14) New Age

This style of music helps people to relax. It is often used to create a calm and peaceful environment. Some people listen to this style of music when they meditate.

Famous New Age performers include Enya, Era, and Paul Horn.

15) Pop

This style consists of popular modern music. These pop songs usually have strong beats and words that are easy to listen to and remember.

Famous pop artists include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Michael Jackson.

16) Opera

An opera is a kind of play where the characters sing rather than speak. These operas have orchestras (i.e. large groups of musicians which play mostly classical music).

Famous opera singers include Luciano Pavarotti, Paul Potts, and Montserrat Caballé.

17) R&B

This popular style of music was started by African Americans in the 1940s. It was developed from blues and  jazz.

Famous contemporary (i.e. modern) R&B singers include Rihanna, Beyonce, and Mariah Carey.

18) Soundtrack

This is not so much a style of music as a collection of music and/or songs that are used in a specific movie (e.g. the soundtrack to Iron Man, the soundtrack to The Dark Knight, etc.)  and games (e.g. the soundtrack to Assassin’s Creed, the soundtrack to Halo, etc.). It is often abbreviated to OST which stands for Original Soundtrack.

19) World Music

World Music is the traditional or folk music of a specific culture or country.

20) Kwaito music

This is a modern style of music that started in South Africa in the 1990s. It is based on house music but features African sounds and a slower beat.

Famous kwaito artists include Lebo Mathosa, Arthur Mafokate, and Brenda Fassie.

How can we say dates in English?

Today’s free English lesson is about saying dates in English.

Ordinal Numbers

The first thing you should know is that we usually use ordinal numbers (e.g. first, second, third, etc.) instead of cardinal numbers (e.g. one, two, three, etc.) when we talk about the days.

Numeral Cardinal Number Ordinal Number
1 one first
2 two second
3 three third
4 four fourth
5 five fifth
6 six sixth
7 seven seventh
8 eight eighth
9 nine ninth
10 ten tenth
11 eleven eleventh
12 twelve twelfth
13 thirteen thirteenth
14 fourteen fourteenth
15 fifteen fifteenth
16 sixteen sixteenth
17 seventeen seventeenth
18 eighteen eighteenth
19 nineteen nineteenth
20 twenty twentieth
21 twenty-one twenty-first
22 twenty-two twenty-second
23 twenty-three twenty-third
24 twenty-four twenty-fourth
25 twenty-five twenty-fifth
26 twenty-six twenty-sixth
27 twenty-seven twenty-seventh
28 twenty-eight twenty-eighth
29 twenty-nine twenty-ninth
30 thirty thirtieth
31 thirty-one thirty-first

Months

The second thing to look at is the correct pronunciation of the months:

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

Years

The third thing to look at is the correct pronunciation of the years:*

We usually group the numbers together in pairs:

1982: one-thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-two X
1982: nineteen eighty-two

1328: one-thousand, three-hundred and twenty-eight X
1328: thirteen twenty-eight

1632: one-thousand, six-hundred and thirty-two X
1632: sixteen thirty-two

1999: one-thousand, nine-hundred and ninety-nine
1999: nineteen ninety-nine

Things change after 1999:

2000: two-thousand

2001: two-thousand and one

2010: two-thousand and ten

Saying Dates

Let’s get down to saying some dates:

the + the day (ordinal number) + of + the month

Written: My brother was born on 15 June 1977.
Spoken: My brother was born on the fifteenth of June nineteen seventy-seven.

Written: Barack Obama became the president of the USA on 20 January 2009.
Spoken: Barack Obama became the president of the USA on thetwentieth of January two-thousand and nine.

Written: Egypt became a republic on 18 June 1953.
Spoken: Egypt became a republic on the eighteenth of June nineteen fifty-three.

Written: I was born on 23 September.
Spoken: I was born on the twenty-third of September.

Written: 2012 is a leap year.
Spoken: Two-thousand and twelve is a leap year.

Please note: This is the correct way of saying dates in British English. It is not the same in American English.

Days and Months