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Monthly Archives: September 2016

History of Ska Music

The music genre of Ska originated in Jamaica during the late 1950s. It rose in popularity because its sound was heavily influenced by a diverse range of musical genres such as Jamaican mento and Caribbean folk styles such as calypso, American Soul, rhythm and blues (R&B), and swing. Since mento, a Jamaican folk music style, greatly shaped the sound of ska and reggae music, it can be called the base or foundation of Ska. This genre has been said to have evolved in three phases or waves during which time, the popularity of ska rose, and its sound changed dramatically. This Buzzle article discusses the history of ska music and its waves through the years.

♫ Characteristics
Ska music is upbeat and follows a 4/4 time progression, wherein the drumbeat focuses mainly on the 2nd and 4th beats, whereas the guitar dominates the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th beats in the bar.

♬ Ska Music History ♬

Jamaicans began to have increased access to radios post World War II and thus, were introduced to Caribbean calypso, steelpan and soca music from Trinidad and Tobago, and more American styles of music such as R&B and jazz. Popular American music was broadcasted further by prominent Jamaican radio stations such as Radio Jamaica and Rediffusion (RJR) and the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) during the late 1950s. The New Orleans and Miami radio stations made it possible for Jamaicans to listen to legendary musicians such as Champion Jack Dupree, Fats Domino, Amos Milburn, Jelly Roll Morton, Rosco Gordon, Professor Longhair, and Louis Jordan. In fact, ska innovator Prince Buster claims that the 1951 song ‘Later for the Gator’ (by American jazz saxophonist Willis Jackson) was the one that created ska.

♫ First Wave – Ska (1960s)
By 1956, Jamaicans had come up with an interesting concoction which they called ska because of the ‘Slak’ sound that the guitar strums made on being scratched. In 1960, the first ever ska song Oh Carolina was recorded by the Jamaican group Folkes Brothers and produced by Prince Buster. This song was recorded in WIRL Records in Kingston, which was soon to become the hub of ska music. The sound of ska was said to be more upbeat and faster than its predecessors because the sentiments of independence and rebellion were more pronounced. This is because by 1960, Jamaica was gradually asserting its freedom from the UK and succeeded in doing so two years later. Jamaican independence day was celebrated with ska songs such as Forward March sung by Derrick Morgan and the very popular song Freedom Sound by the soon-to-be world-famous band The Skatalites.
One of the things that furthered the spread of ska music in a big way was how The Skatalites managed to convert almost every popular song into ska by recording plain instrumental versions of songs by The Beatles and soul and movie theme songs. Their own original compositions such as Guns of Navarone made them hugely popular in their home country as well as abroad. Other prominent bands were doing ska covers and making their own songs during this period as well. For instance, Bob Marley and the Wailers, or simply known as The Wailer’s rendition of the song And I Love Her by The Beatles and Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan went onto become world hits that are still replayed in large numbers. These covers and the inspiring voice of Bob Marley ensured that Jamaica found a respectable place in the world music map.

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Toots and the Maytals, Higgs & Wilson, The Melodians, The Clarendonians, The Blues Busters, Clue J & His Blues Blasters, The Paragons, The Silvertones, and Symarip were some of the other successful Jamaican ska bands that were actively performing during the first wave of ska in the 1960s.

The various cover versions of these songs and several other ska songs ensure that the genre spread across the world like wildfire.

♫ Second Wave – 2 Tone (1970s)
The second wave of ska took place in England during the late 1970s. Known as 2 (Two) Tone, this ska genre included musical influences from other musical genres such as rocksteady, reggae, punk rock, and new wave. This new variant of ska was created in Coventry, England, where the influence of Jamaican music and anti-racism sentiments were high. This was also the time when ‘Rock Against Racism’, a popular music movement, began in 1976 in the United Kingdom. This movement was founded by the notable British photographers Red Saunders and Roger Huddle in response to the racist remarks being made by famous British rock musicians such as Eric Clapton and David Bowie.

The band ‘Madness’ (1976) was perhaps the first 2-Tone ska revival band to have gained public recognition for its music and seven member lineup. It went on to become one of the most successful ska bands in Britain with 15 UK top ten singles and famous songs such as The Prince and One Step Beyond (1979), House of Fun (1982), and Wings of a Dove (1983).

Another 2-Tone ska revival band that gained immense success was ‘The Specials’, which formed in 1977. Their lyrics stood out from the rest because they were more political and anti-racist in nature; all the while being upbeat and danceable. They became iconic for their 1960s’ rude boy fashion, stage presence, and lyrics about unemployment and unhappiness with the system. Some examples of ska music that rose ‘The Specials’ to fame include Gangsters (1979), A Message To You, Rudy cover of the song by Dandy Livingstone (1979), Too Much Too Young and Rat Race (1980), and Ghost Town (1981).

Some other 2-Tone bands that came during the same time were The Beat (1978), UB40 (1978), The Selecter (1979), and The Body snatchers (1979). Stiff Records, 2 Tone Records, and Go Feet Records were the top three English record labels that signed 2-Tone and ska revivals bands.

♫ Third Wave – Ska-punk (1980s – Present)

✦ Europe
The late 1980s once again witnessed the emergence of ska bands such as The Burial, The Hotknives, and Potato 5 whose music had distinct ska, 2-Tone, rocksteady, and punk rock musical influences. This period also saw the resurgence of trads/trojan/traditional skinheads who associated with the British skinhead working class subculture of the 1960s. British youth in the late 1980s were once again seen with close-cropped and shaved heads, and were influenced by the rude boys of Jamaica and British mods (modernists). These skinheads would listen to music composed and performed by black people and wished to be associated as non-political and non-racists.

Ska experienced a major surge in popularity in Europe where countries like Germany had the most number of notable ska-punk bands such as Skaos (1982), Blechreiz (1983) and The Busters (1987), all of which are actively present and continue to perform throughout the world. Mr. Review (a.k.a. Rude & Visser) is a revered ska revival band from Amsterdam that has been active since 1983. Mark Foggo’s Skasters (1987) also contributed in the development of ska and upcoming band in Europe such as the French band, Skarface.

✦ Australia
The Australians developed their own ska scene during the mid-1980s, with the band ‘The Jumpers’ starting this music movement in 1979. Other notable bands to introduce ska to Australia were the bands The Letters (1979), The Allniters (1980), Strange Tenants (1981), No Nonsense (1984) and The Porkers (1987), Area 7 (1994), Sounds Like Chicken (1999), and Loin Groin, The Resignators, and The Mouldy Lovers (2010).

✦ United States
Ska bands had come up all over the United States in the 1980s and spread to South America by mid-1980s. One of the first American ska bands that gained repute during the late 1970s were Fishbone (1979), The Uptones (1981)―who set the ska scene in California, and The Toasters (1981) who established themselves in New York City. The Toasters celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a world tour in 2011 and are the longest-running ska band in the U.S. Simultaneously, the Los Angeles ska band The Untouchables was formed, whose lead vocalist Kevin Long described the band’s music as “mods who played ska music.” The Bosstones (1983) and Operation Ivy (1987) brought forth more radical fusion of ska and punk rock, which led to the establishment of the subgenre of ska-punk. New-age ska-punk bands such as Let’s Go Bowling (1986), No Doubt (1986), Sublime (1986 ), Skankin’ Pickle (1989), Dance Hall Crashers (1989), Hepcat (1989), and Reel Big Fish (1991) gained notoriety for their unique musicality both at home and internationally. During this period, the record label Moon Ska Records (1983) founded by Robert “Bucket” Hingley from the band ‘The Toasters’ went on to become one of the largest labels dedicated to ska in the U.S. However, the record label became defunct in 2000 and was replaced with Megalith Records by the same owner.

The movement moved to Canada during the late 1980s and early 1990s as well, which resulted in ska bands such as King Apparatus (1987), The Planet Smashers (1991), and The Kingpins (1994). In South America, the ska band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (1983) blended ska music with traditional music to form one of the most internationally recognized bands from Argentina. They also went on to win a Grammy in 1994 for Best Latin Rock/Alternative album.

✦ Japan – J-ska
Japanese or J-ska is a concoction of J-pop, punk, and ska-pop, which began as an offshoot of the third wave of ska during the 1980s. It also derives much of its inspiration from the Jamaican ska and reggae scene of the 1960s, which the musicians emulate in their native language. J-ska is very noticeable for its fervid vocals, peppy guitar rhythms, and the use of instruments such as the trombone, trumpet, saxophone, and drum and bass. Among the several ska bands that continue to perform and form every year, some notable ones include Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (TSPO) (1985), The Boom (1986), Elizabeth Sakura Narita (1997), Mongol800 (1998), Dallax (1998), MidnightPumpkin (2002), and OreSkaBand (2003), etc., to name a few.

✦ Christian Ska
While ska became a global phenomenon, it continued to make an appearance in gospel and Christian music, much like how it began in Kingston, Jamaica. Christian ska bands began to emerge in a big way during the early 2000s and include Buck Enterprises (1994), The O. C. Supertones (1995), The Insyderz (1996), and Five Iron Frenzy (1995), The O.C. Supertones (1995), The Dingees (1996), and Squad Five-O (1997).
Perhaps, there shall be a fourth wave of ska where we may hear a combination of EDM, dubstep, and ska, which may sound interesting enough to sustain for a few more decades to come. Until then, all you ska fans can listen and replay the tracks of legends such as Derrick Morgan, Ernest Ranglin, Prince Buster, and the new-age musicians and bands that have sustained the unique and rich history and sound of ska.

Ways Make a Catchy Jingle

An effective jingle is one of the best advertising strategies. Catchy lines that have a peppy tune are easily remembered. People hum these tunes, share them with each other, and in some time, these tunes go viral and become popular with the masses, leading to word-of-mouth publicity of the product(s) they are made for. Thus, a catchy jingle helps build a good customer base.

Due to elements such as rhyme, melody, a set pattern of words, or repeating phrases, a jingle is easily remembered. Didn’t we give tunes to plain sentences in order to be able to recall them easily during exams? That’s the method some of us used to mug up answers, didn’t we? The same principle applies to jingles. It is about giving a good tune to lyrical words, such that they become easy to remember. Obviously, having catchy and impactive words does help a lot.

As a jingle maker, you should be aware of this and have a basic sense of rhythm. You should be able to write well to come up with good words that can go together, be given a tune to, and best describe the product/service that the jingle is about. Making catchy jingles is indeed a smart way of advertising your product. And if your jingle has got that punch, you’ll be surprised to know that people love to hum it.

Tips to Make a Catchy Jingle

Understand Your Product
Know what you have to sell, its history, brand evolution, peculiarities of the brand, its uniqueness, and how it stands out. Stressing on words that will appeal to the masses is important. It boils down to your skills at song-writing and music. The same applies to making jingles for a service-based company. Understand what the company has to offer, what their business is, and what they specialize in. Build around something unique or special about the product or service.

Use the Right Words
As your first step, enlist adjectives that best describe the product. Identify the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the product. You must tell the buyer why he should buy that product. If you give a personal touch to the words, chances are high that the masses will connect with your idea. Use words that will make an impact on the consumers and tell them about the product or service and what makes it different from the others in competition. End the jingle on a positive note.

Keep it Simple
The lyrics as well as the tune should be simple, so that it is easy to remember and hum. Choose words that are easy to understand. Going totally offbeat or using flowery words or jargon will not help, as they will make the jingle difficult to recite/sing. Strike a balance between being too creative and too simplistic.

Make it Easy to Sing
Use repetition of words. Use rhyme. This makes it easier for people to hum the jingle. The words should be such that it’s easy to recollect and recite the jingle. Also, the tune should be easy to recall. Great if it’s so impactive that people find it difficult to get it out of their heads.

Use Figures of Speech
Experiment with hyperbole (to exaggerate your idea to a small extent) and puns (to add a fun element). Use repetition to create an impact. Use similes for comparison. Try to make it different.

Consider the Competitors
Find the product’s competitors, study their advertising strategies, look at the jingles or slogans they use. Ensure that your jingle does not sound similar to theirs. Your jingle should not remind them of a product or service you do not intend to advertise. See that your jingle doesn’t confuse the buyer, or it might result in an increase in the sales of your competitors’ products. You don’t want that.

Incorporate the Brand’s Name
Make clever use of the product’s name, where possible. If the name is too long or if it does not fit well in the set rhythm or tune, use words that will remind people of the brand.

Tips to Choose Music

  • Choose the appropriate music and tempo, so that the jingle can be sung.
    It should not be too long, for which the point has to be made crisply and quickly. A 30-second jingle should be enough.
  • If the company requires you to use the tune of an already existing song, be absolutely sure of the legal repercussions.
  • Identify your target audience, and choose a genre that appeals to them. Analyze what’s trending and what’s popular.

Hypothetical Examples

For a House-cleaning Agent ‘Mop-Aid’
With ‘Mop-Aid’ as your gun,
Dirt is on the run.
And cleaning is all fun!

For a Bug Spray ‘Kill-Bug’
Bugs Bugging you?
Stop them!
Bug your bugs,
With ‘Kill-Bug’

Catchiest Jingles of All Time and Things to Learn from Them

Kit Kat
gimme a break
gimme a break
break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar

This one is really ingenious for using the USP of Kit Kat – a chocolate bar that you can break off easily, and making it synonymous with taking a break from your routine.

Want a Fanta? Don’t you want a, want a Fanta?

This one has a clever use of phonetics of the product name. Fanta makes a fantastic entry in your minds. Simple yet effective, they’ve made a good use of repetition and rhyming words.

Kentucky Fried Chicken
Get a bucket of chicken, have a barrel of fun.

The jingle reminds people of the bucket in which the food is served and makes having KFC chicken synonymous with having loads of fun. The rhyme makes the jingle easy to remember.

Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum
Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

It’s very simple. It endorses the product name and also equates it with pleasure and fun.

I’m Lovin’ it

They’ve used the slogan line in the jingle. It’s short and crisp, and makes a strong point. You know you love it. And they know it too.

I’d like to Buy the World a Coke

This one is a cleverly made jingle, which won praise from many. Its emotional quotient of inducing you to make the world come together with a bottle of coke, is certainly appealing.
A catchy jingle needs to be backed by a good media coverage, so that it reaches the masses. The good thing about jingles is that television, radio, or the Internet can be used to make them popular. Jingles stay with the product forever, sometimes, even after its production has stopped. If a jingle is really good, it jingles forever in our minds. Some jingles become more popular than even the most popular songs, and linger in our hearts for years.

Types of Music

No matter what the media ‘industry’ says or does, music shall always remain a form of art. Even when made solely for the purpose of getting rich, it still needs a source of expression. Every genre has a build-up and then a follow-up. Every style has its high point. Today we have such a large list of musical genres and styles, that it would be impossible for anyone to listen to every piece of music created even in a hundred lifetimes, let alone one! And that is why we make categories: to find a style that suits us and explore it as much as we can.

The music of the old days. The kind of music that most of us have forgotten, yet listen to everyday. Because most of what we hear now is derived from what the great classical composers created decades and centuries ago. The main categories in classical music are Orchestral music, Chamber music, and Opera.
We may think of classical music as what orchestras play in a giant auditorium, wearing black clothes, with a conductor frantically waving his staff about. That’s a very base description of something that the composers dedicated their lives to.

Orchestral Music
The usual grand collection of many musicians (more than eighty), grouped according to their instrument, guided by their sheet music, years of training and practice, and the conductor. It started in the early 17th century and evolved into different sub-categories.
A symphony consists of four movements (sometimes three). They usually differ from each other through the kind of emotion they are designed to invoke.
A suite (pronounced ‘sweet’, French for ‘a sequence’) is an arrangement of short movements, either self-composed or taken from someone else’s composition.
An overture is a piece of composition that acts as the curtain-raiser to the opera.
A concerto is essentially made of three movements, that are created solely for the purpose of letting the soloist instrument shine out. This is unlike a symphony, where all instruments perform in unison.
Ballet is orchestral music that is based on dance movements. This type was created and nurtured during the Romantic era.
Incidental music is directly related to stage music; it provides the motion to an act. The sections are short and often repetitive.

Chamber music is musical work composed specifically for a smaller instrumental arrangement (smaller than an orchestra).

The most popular type of classical music to come out of the Baroque era was the opera. It’s an orchestra set to an entire play. The composition can be created to accompany an act or display the emotions of a character on a colorfully constructed background.

You also have two other types in this category: vocal music and solo instrumental music. Vocal music may or may not be accompanied by instruments, while solo instrumental music is not accompanied by anything.

Apart from the above ‘types’, you also have the major ‘styles’ of classical music: Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic and Contemporary (or neoclassical). Each movement or era can be distinguished through chronology and the location of their origin.

The origins of rock ‘n’ roll are as foggy as the genre is popular; the term was coined in 1955 by Alan Freed, a disc jockey from Ohio. The oldest form of rock ‘n’ roll (1950s) was a mixture of R&B, country and rockabilly (it was just called hillbilly music back then), only it was faster, louder and ‘dangerous’. The man at the forefront of this genre was (and still is) Elvis Presley, followed by personalities like Chuck Berry and Little Richard.
The rock scene in the 50s was more about shock value, which included fashion statements, sexually-oriented lyrics and dance moves catering to a young audience in particular. There were generations of largely American and European artists, each influenced by their predecessors, trying to make something better, in rock music. Whether that was through clothes, the rhythm or harnessing and even catalyzing political agenda, rock music was, is and will be, all about shocking the current generation.

The one great push for music into the whole rock band scene was arguably done by The Yardbirds. The band includes the three guitarists that helped shape rock music – Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Each member contributed heavily to the band as well as creating entire separate realms of rock, namely the band Led Zeppelin (founded by Jimmy Page).

All in all, rock can be largely sub-categorized into the following types or styles. Bear in mind that they are more of less styles of rock rather than completely different genres, and that an artist or a band can be found in more than one style (like Led Zeppelin can be found under hard rock, psychedelic rock and folk rock. Queen falls under progressive rock and glam rock).

Alternative rock is anything that peaked for brief periods of time and was out of the ordinary, even by rock standards. This includes grunge, indie, new wave, punk and goth to name a few. Alternative rock can be defined more through movements rather than individual bands.

Art rock, which is the early form of psychedelic rock and progressive rock. It is led by the bands Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Pink Floyd and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Jimi was also known as the pioneer of acid rock).

Arena rock, which is just a different way to see the greater rock bands of old: under heavy lighting, dynamic stage acts and crowd inclusion. The style focuses more on the stage (like Woodstock) than any band in particular.

Metal is perhaps the branch of rock with the most number of offshoots. It is believed to be initiated by Black Sabbath. It also includes Iron Maiden, who are a part of the heavy metal movement called New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Glam rock can encompass a wider range of other styles of rock, and add feminine detailing and promiscuity. This includes David Bowie, Queen, Elton John and T. Rex. There’s also glam metal with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith.

These main styles have a wide array of sub-categories, giving you hundreds of styles in rock music, like death metal, British invasion, southern rock, roots rock, college rock, Christian rock, etc.


The reason why blues became so popular can only be understood when you look at its time of creation. The origin of blues is too unclear to pinpoint to one artist or one year; for the sake of historic importance, it’s believed that the blues music was created in the late 19th century, by the black slaves that were forced to work in the cotton fields. Blues has firm roots in African traditional music.
The purpose of making the blues is always the same: the expression of intense emotions. It is the one reason why this genre had such a profound effect on America, and eventually the world. Blues is usually categorized by the location of a style, because everywhere the blues went, it caught a different feel.

Mississippi delta blues came from the Mississippi delta region. It’s the oldest known form of blues as a genre, from which other forms later evolved. Artists included in this style are Muddy Waters and Memphis Minnie (When the Levee Breaks is a perfect example of the delta blues).

Chicago blues came next, when the delta musicians started traveling to the big city to look for a better life. Which is why Muddy Waters can be considered as both a delta blues man and a Chicago blues artist. The biggest difference between the two styles is the use of electric guitars and a slightly faster pace in the latter.

Texas blues came out after America saw how big Chicago blues was getting. The style was made famous by artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Freddie King.

Blues rock was one of the last big blues styles to hit it big. It’s largely inspired by the Chicago blues and started in the 1960s by bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival and ZZ Top.

Jazz is the second genre born from African traditional music. It is considered to be America’s first indigenous form of music. It is believed to have started after the Civil War, when the black people were free to travel and seek employment.
Similar to the blues, the jazz styles are also classified according to time and location.

Ragtime was the most popular form of jazz. It started in the late 1800s and included heavy use of the piano. It was a little different from the other jazz styles because it was formally composed, rather than improvised. Check out ‘Shoe Tickler Rag’ and ‘The Maple Leaf Rag’.

New Orleans jazz started in that city and focused on collective improvisation.

Chicago jazz is where the swing really started swinging. It’s characterized by a fast hip-swerving rhythm fronted by a solo sax improvisation.

Bebop is all about nonsensical syllables that are more percussive than literary (like the Bill Cosby memes). Bebop came after the swing era and around the start of WW II.

Cool jazz is a direct response to the then-declining bebop jazz. It was more classical and formal.

Smooth jazz is one of the last styles implemented. It is heavily influenced by R&B and funk.

Scat jazz is a form of vocal jazz similar to bebop. Check out Ella Fitzgerald.

Electronic music is much older than you think. The first in the history of electronic music was Thaddeus Cahill and his telharmonium in 1897. Since then, composers started using the concept of electronically generated music to produce scores that were impossible to replicate by man through existing mechanical instruments.
Because of its definition, it becomes difficult to ascertain whether a piece of music is electronic or not. Electronic music means it is synthetically produced. So the previous century would call anything that wasn’t acoustic as electronic. Today, it means music that sounds synthetic, regardless of it being made using computers or not. It is mostly dance-oriented.

The full list being too big, I’ve mentioned the bigger categories of electronic music.

You have the house and lounge music that falls under ambient music. Electronic rock uses instruments like the etherphone and the mellotron

Then you have the big styles meant for dancing, like disco, eurodance, electronica and techno.

There are also experimental styles like industrial music and glitch.

Dubstep is a relatively new addition (late 90s) to the genre, which branches out into brostep and wonky.

The list also contains vague styles like chiptunes (video game music) of which nintendocore is an offshoot.

Listen to artists like Chemical Brothers, Infected Mushroom, Bassnectar and Daft Punk to get an idea of electronic music.

Folk music can be broadly classified into two groups, traditional folk and folk revival. Not styles, like other genres. There is only one type – folk. The actual folk songs are something that are indigenous to a culture, popularized at events and passed down mostly orally.
It is often the case that a folk song does not have a singular credible artist (or cannot be found). The songs are sourced as anonymous and are therefore, not owned by anyone. They are always lyrically important, with an easy rhythm to guide the song. Also, it is mostly the working class that engages in expressive songs. It is they who make the folk songs, which is why the songs are about daily life and the workers’ struggle, or about nature and wildlife, or even lullabies for children.

The other group can be collectively called folk music or folk revival music. It is commercially successful, credible to artists who exist and are relatively new (since the 19th). The sound is derived from the folk songs of old (usually sticking to one style) and the lyrics are created wholly by the artist or drawn from the folk song itself. Artists that have made folk music include Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Lead Belly, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.

Country music originated around the 1920s, part in Southern U.S. and part in the Appalachian mountains. It comes from a combination of southern folk songs, gospel and blues music. It all started with ‘Sallie Gooden’ by Eck Robertson. His style was similar to what we can call country music. The genre was made famous by Jimmie Rodgers, who is also known as the Father of Country Music.
Here are the bigger styles of country music:

Bluegrass is heavily influenced by American traditional music or roots music. It was created by Irish and British immigrants that landed in Appalachia. The name actually comes from Bill Monroe’s band Bluegrass Boys, who are from Kentucky, the Bluegrass State.

Honky-tonk is a type of pub music that is derived from ragtime. The style is more about country and blues songs that refer to the honky-tonk pub life (southern pubs, the kind that would keep a mechanical bull), like Hank Williams’ ‘Honky-Tonkin” and ‘Honky-Tonk Women’ by The Rolling Stones.

Rockabilly is basically of “rock n’ roll” and hillbilly music. It can be considered a part of both the genres. It started out in the 50s and is popular to this day.

Outlaw country focuses on the ‘outlaw’ image and music of the Wild West, like Willie Nelson’s Shotgun Willie.

Alternative country is like alternative rock; it covers everything country that isn’t mainstream. It’s difficult to call an artist’s entire work as alternative, usually it’s only a part of their work.

R&B, which stands for Rhythm and Blues, was a name coined due to need rather than style. During the 40s, any music created by the African-American populace was termed ‘black music’ or ‘race music’. The term was quite offensive and therefore, stunted the growth and popularity of the artists. In order to make it sound more upbeat, Billboard reporter Jerry Wexler coined R&B, and the phrase has stuck since then.
A very generalized answer to what R&B means is the vocal styles of blues music, spread over different rhythms. These rhythms come from almost anywhere in mainstream parts of gospel, jazz, country and rock ‘n’ roll. It is this rhythm that sets R&B apart from blues. This implies R&B can encompass all the said categories, while maintaining its own style.

Funk can be considered to be a part of R&B. It includes James Brown (the creator of funk) and Earth, Wind and Fire. The music is primarily meant to be danced to.

Contemporary R&B is music that fits into the R&B category after the 80s.

Soul is a style generated from a heavy influence of gospel music on blues and R&B. The style was largely created by Ray Charles.

Neo Soul is almost like soul, except it includes influences from hip hop, rap and pop. It’s basically an R&B style that started in the late 90s.

R&B is also classified through the setlists that radio stations play, spawning branches like urban adult contemporary and urban contemporary.

The music of hip hop is just a part of the whole culture, a very big part. The music is marked by a significant importance to the bass and the beats, with rapping as the predominant vocal art form. Which is why rap is a part of hip hop culture and therefore, its styles are also a part of hip hop music.
The term was coined by Keith Cowboy of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The man who is believed to be the originator of hip hop music is DJ Kool Herc. Afrika Bambaataa, one of the artists who created break-beating is considered the grandfather of hip hop. Then you have Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin who founded Def Jam Records. Them, along with others like Run D.M.C. and Public Enemy are called the pioneers of hip hop.

The music is divided into two parts, DJing and rapping, although both of them are regularly used together. DJ Kool Herc and many others started the art of turntablism, which includes disc-scratching, sampling and crowd control using live audio techniques.

Hip hop has an incredible number of styles, each bringing something different to the table.

the evergreen freestyle rap

the popular gangsta rap

the experimental branch, Avant garde hip hop

the rave scene’s ghetto house and ghettotech

the incendiary political hip hop

the geeky nerdcore



Christian hip hop

And the whole scene is divided into the East Coat and West Coast hip hop!

Ska and Reggae
To be precise, reggae can be called an offshoot of ska, because ska came before reggae. Ska is roughly a mixture of calypso and jazz. It is more percussive than melodic and very upbeat. You can divide the styles of ska into three generations or ‘waves’.
The first wave is the original ska movement started in Jamaica in the 1950s. It was the experimental stage, so you have a muddle of styles coming together. Jamaica was already exposed to jazz and blues at this time, so the influence is easily heard (Desmond Dekker, Toots and the Maytals).

The second wave (aka two-tone) was the opposite of what happened in the first wave. Britain’s grip on Jamaica was weakening, and Jamaica responded in an explosion of culture. Their music (like Bob Marley and the Wailers, who are from the first wave) was being heard in both Europe and America. By the 70s, you saw bands like Madness from London, that created and promoted ska.

The third wave came in the 80s and was way more punk than 2-tone. It was faster in tempo and was liked mostly by skinheads.

Rocksteady is the name of the genre between ska and reggae. It was intended for dance, was much slower than ska and used offbeat rhythms. Alton Ellis is known as the Godfather of Rocksteady. You’ll also find bands like the Skatalites and a number of popular ska artists in this style.

And then came reggae. The thing is, ‘reggae’ is used as the umbrella term for Jamaican music, not ska. So even though ska and rocksteady came before reggae, we call them a part of reggae, for the sake of convenience. So reggae basically takes all the most interesting elements from its past forms and melds them together to make the music of the Rastafari movement. Your prominent types of reggae music are:

Early reggae, which started in 1968. It had more elements of funk in it, making it groovy and often instrumental.

Roots reggae started after the 70s. It is the most popular form of reggae (read Bob Marley).

Rockers reggae is what you get when a rock musician gets into reggae. It’s more aggressive, pumped up and heavier on the sound of the drums than its beat.

Lovers rock is the romantic version of reggae. While Bob Marley sung about loving the world, Maxi Priest sung love songs.

Dub music came out of the 60s reggae scene. It took all the recorded reggae stuff and electronically modified to give a more “trippy” experience.

The last big one was dancehall, which is more vocal (rapping often replaces singing) and follows a live band that produces the ‘riddim’ (rhythm).

Raggamuffin is a sub-style of dancehall (more electronic), reggaeton is an urban mix of reggae (Sean Paul, Daddy Yankee. Reggaeton can also be a part of Latino music) and reggae-fusion is a mix of reggae and the genres popular in America, like R&B, jazz and hip hop.

You also have a few vague styles in reggae, like ragga metal (raggamuffin and metal), Nyabinghi (Rasta ceremonial music using special nyabinghi drums), dub poetry and toasting (talking over a riddim rather than singing).

Latin music goes a lot farther back and deeper than what it is today. While you have the Latino artists making pop dance-and-romance numbers, the older forms of Latin music are incredibly different and yet humble.
All in all, Latin music is something that comes from any part of Latin America, be it Cuba or Brazil or Argentina. Or it used to; now Latin music also includes artists from the U.S.A. and Europe that have a Latin background or style.

The older Latin music was all about instrumentation with a more percussive feel. The vocals would follow in and out with the instruments, but they were usually never more important than the instruments. Here are the types of Latin music, divided mostly by the demographic that enjoys them.

Mariachi is Mexican folk music played by bands. It is the urban version of the more traditional Son style.

Norteño is another rural Mexican genre that became popular amongst the Mexican and American urban population. It is a type of ensemble music that uses accordions.

Tejano (aka Tex-Mex) is a crossover style created on the borders of the U.S and Mexico. It combines mariachi and country (sometimes also blues) and relies heavily on acoustic guitars.

Samba is dance music related to the same dance style. It originated in Brazil, uses short key signatures and fast rhythms to set the pace for the dance.

Duranguense is another Mexican style that is popular in both the U.S. and Mexico. It is a derivative of Norteño.

Vallenato (which means “From the Valley”) is the folk music from the Caribbean. It uses the accordion along with traditional Colombian instruments.

Flamenco is the most popular type of Latin music. It is also the most simple one as it uses only three things – the guitar, vocals and hand-clapping. It is directly related to the flamenco dance form and the art, as a whole, is considered Spanish national heritage.

World music is a catch-all term to describe any music that doesn’t come into the major genres already mentioned above. More accurately, if it’s not something that doesn’t fall into featured lists in America and Britain, then it’s pretty much world music. That means world music gives you the most diverse types of music there are. And although reggae can be included in world music, it is still big enough to get a separate space for itself.
World music is usually based on ethnic music from different parts of the globe. It isn’t folk, and is therefore credible to artists and bands. For example, The Corrs, Shakira and Enya fall into world music. This means that world music can be just as popular as other mainstream genres, while still including culturally individual artists and works that cater to specific audiences. Thus, categories like j-pop (Japanese pop) and k-pop (Korean pop) are also world music.

This category will contain all the culturally rich music that isn’t mainstream, like traditional Turkish music, Inuit throat singing, Celtic music, the Indonesian gamelan, gypsy music, exotica, Enka and Caribbean music.

New Age
New age music is a recent genre – end of the 60s – and found popularity only after the 80s. It basically includes everything in music that is relaxing, spiritual and exploratory of the inner self. It can include any instrument, any language and any genre as long as it fits the new age bill.
Lyrics are usually chants or derived from an inclination towards spiritual. New age seems to have common influences from the Indian Sanskrit texts and Celtic folk music, sometimes even combining the two (check out Chinmaya Dunster). You can choose from a variety of artists and bands like Enya, Celtic Woman, Celtic Thunder, Mike Oldfield, Yanni, Kitaro, etc.. The primary aim of new age music is self-development through natural and healing music. The types of new age music are formed purely according to their purpose. You get to choose from:


Regardless, new age music is the one genre where there is absolutely no need to divide it into types. The music is supposed to be explored by experiencing it yourself. It won’t guide you to any meaning. It only helps you get to your own.

And it keeps going on and on. We usually follow a common pattern of simplicity when it comes to the broader genres, but for anything more specific, we all have our own ideas and tastes. I believe you need genres for the sake of being technical. Besides that, there is no division apart from personal choices. Which is why there is in essence, only one genre. And that is music.

How Does Music Affect Teens

The Affect Music Has On Different Teens.
Music is something that every person has his or her own specific opinion about. Different people have different taste, and various types of music have many ways of leaving an impact on someone. It can be relaxing, angering, soothing, energizing, and many more.
There are so many types of music out there today. Rap, pop, rock, country, indie, alternative, hardcore are some of the abundant types in the world. Music sends out either good or bad messages that have big impacts on how people act. People usually become friends with others who have a same taste in music as the rest of the people they hangout with, or it can be vice versa. People may not want to associate with people who have different tastes in music because they’ll argue about what they think is better but its just their own opinions.
Rap and Rock music are two very important types of music in the world. They both send out different messages and help kids. The lyrics sung or rapped by the artists can be things going on in their own personal lives, and people with the same types of problems can listen to them so they know theirs hope and theirs people like this out there in the world. Music can also serve as a catalyst for new ideas. When people listen to the new things out there, they learn different things going on in the world and they become more open-minded because they’re exposed to different people like the artists.
A lot of people come to the conclusion that rap music has a very big impact on the world. Listening to the lyrics, they usually revolve around sex and drugs and those are topics many parents don’t want their kids being involved in. Many of the music videos made by rap artists in the world show these topics in them. Studies show that people who are more into rap music do drugs one time in their lives.
People can use music to express themselves, in ways it can’t be expressed through behavior, or art. You can usually tell how someone’s feeling by the type of music he or she is listening to at the time. It’s a tool used by many. Groups of people around the world can come together and gather at concerts, shows, and venues to show what their interests and likings are and you see how many people have similar likings as you.
I can personally relate to the effects that music has on its listeners and users because it’s a big part of my life. Every day I listen to the words and sounds of different singers/bands with contrasting ideas and opinions. The music I listen makes me who I am.