The Many Shades of Music

Music has many shades. They are all different, some are louder than the rest, others have a little more edge. But we  can all agree, they’re all unique and special in their own way. That’s one of the reasons that the world of music can be a bit daunting to anyone (myself included). What’s classified as Rock? What’s post-hardcore? What makes indie, well, indie? None of these questions ever have a straight answer purely because music changes. The times change, people change, and what’s now considered one genre may  evolve into something new. With all that going on feeling lost is normal, but worry not. I’m here to help out and hopefully clear up the confusion behind the many shades of music!

Let’s start with the basics: Pop. Pop is a genre that we all know, hence the name Pop. It’s the music you hear on the radio, the music that’s always in your head. The songs you sing in the shower. Now as the name suggests, Pop is largely mainstream and liked by the majority. But, like most things that are widely loved, Pop songs are also widely hated. Pop music is generally played on electronic instruments and consists of short songs with strong beats and simple tunes. I guess you could say that the simplicity of these songs are what make them popular!

The next genre that’s pretty common is Hip-hop. Hip-hop is one of those genres that stay with us until the end. It’s been very common ever since it was introduced in the 70’s. As you all probably know, Hip-hop is very different from the traditional music that you normally hear. This musical style incorporates rhythmic or rhyming speech over an easy to pick-up beat. Hip-hop, like so many genres, has changed over the years. The old school battle rap of the 80s and 90s is completely different from the modern Hip-hop that you hear on the radio or on Spotify, which is only to be expected. Most influential genres have changed as their audiences change. 

Let’s shift gears to another influential genre, Rock. Rock is by far one of my favorite genres and, much like pop, it has a huge and diverse fan-base. Rock, which has its roots in Rock and Roll of the early 40’s and 50’s, is a very broad genre of music. Punk Rock, Alt Rock, Pop Rock, Electronic Rock, Metal, Indie Rock, and many more are all subgenres of this influential style. Rock is usually centered on an amplified electric guitar, supported by an electric bass and heavy drum beats. It’s built on un-syncopated rhythms (rhythms you can clap your hands to) with a 4/4 time signature that has both major and minor tones. Of course, Rock has changed and diversified into many different subgenres and even merged with other genres, like Pop Punk, Progressive Rock, Rap Rock, and many more.

Now, you may be wondering, “Well gee there’s only three genres here! What happened to the rest?” and yes, you’re correct, there are more. But I must say, these are by far the most popular. The top three most popular music genres in the world are Pop, Hip-hop, and Rock (in that order). They can be regarded as the basic three music genres, with the most subgenres branching out from them. Now of course, all genres of music are important, subgenre or not, but after all, it’s all incredible music! In the end, the only thing that matters here is that we enjoy music and keep on listening to our favorite songs.


Hey there! My name is Sparsh Aiyar and I'm the editor in chief of The City Voice. I also make videos on our YouTube channel, so please make sure to check that out! I'm a huge music nerd and I play a lot of guitar so if you also like guitar, feel free to reach out. If you have any questions about the City Voice, please feel free to contact me via gmail, I would be more than happy to help!