‘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
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.