Music Genres and Why It Matters

“Genre – what is this word? What does it mean for my playing?”

Genre is a word that comes from the 19th century French word for “kind”. It’s basically a term for classifications of form style or structure.  So, music genres are styles and forms of music. For example: Let’s say you love movies about people falling in love. You would say that your favorite genre of movies is Romance. And then if you really don’t like scary movies, you would say that your least favorite genre of movies is Horror. It’s the same with books, art, and music. If you like books that are based on real events, but have pretend people in them, you would say you love the genre of Historical Fiction. If you love reading biographies and interesting things about real life people, you could say you love the genre of Nonfiction.

In music some genres include, pop, Jazz, film music, and Classical music. Then to break it down even further, in Classical music there are genres like Romantic period, Contemporary, chamber music, orchestra, band, etc.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of classical styles of music for you to think about today:

  • Music Genres and Why It MattersAvant-Garde
  • Baroque
  • Chamber Music
  • Chant
  • Choral
  • Classical Crossover
  • Early Music
  • High Classical
  • Impressionist
  • Medieval
  • Minimalism
  • Modern Composition
  • Opera
  • Orchestral
  • Renaissance
  • Romantic
  • Wedding Music

I could go on and on.

So why should it matter to you and me? Well, they have been categorized this way because they are similar in very specific ways. Like with choral music, that means all the pieces in the genre have to do with people singing together. Chamber music means that it has to do with pieces written for smaller groups of mixed instruments. Because they all share similarities, knowing what genre a piece is gives us a clue on how we should play it. If it’s chamber music we know we need to make sure that every instrument is heard, and that we should play like we’re having a conversation all by ourselves. If it’s Romantic, we know that we need to make sure there are long lines and lots of drama. If it’s French music, we know that we need to have lots of color and nuance. It’s a little bit like sports. Basketball, soccer, and tennis are all sports, but they each have their own rules. It is the same with the genres in music. Really having genres makes it easier for us to interpret the music in a way that will make it truly beautiful.

Nowadays there are many different genres that we definitely cannot ignore in music. We always say that “Music Makes the World Go Around”!

Check out these other familiar styles/genres of music:

  • African
  • Asian
  • Blues
  • Caribbean
  • Comedy
  • Country
  • Easy Listening
  • Electronic
  • Folk
  • Hip-Hop
  • Jazz
  • Latin
  • Brazilian
  • Pop
  • R & B
  • Rock

(and all of the sub-genres that go within each of these)

It’s super fun to explore new music and styles. And, like I said before – it’s really important to know and understand the genre of music you are attempting to play. There are different “rules” and “characteristics” that go along with each that make it cool and unique.
Which genre is your favorite for flute playing?

Have any questions? Comment below and I will help you out.

Rebecca FullerRebecca Fuller



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