Musical Genres and Their Reactions

Musical Genres and Their Reactions

Music has almost infinite braches of genres, this is an obvious thing but at the same time, it’s a very fascinating fact, and something that surely makes music be very alive. It’s a wonder to discover how these genres came to be, and how there is a constant movement of sounds and places which endlessly give birth to new ways to control sound.

Some genres are opposites, some are very similar, others are clearly combinations of several big genres and there are genres that feel so fresh and natural that they give the ilusion that they came from nothing.

There is a certain order to it, even if it’s all very blurry when it comes to musical genres. For a listener i’ts very easy to say “I listen a little bit of everything” and a beginner musician to say “I’m not sure which genre I’m playing”. Of course this is also a very postmodern symptom, everything with everything, but even now the borders have to be somewhat clear in order to imitate, contradict or avoid.

Musical Map

If you click the link below you’ll find a very detailed map of musical genres with some of its history and how they are all connected in some way.

Genres/Movements Reactions 70s to 90s

At first glance it’s a very complex “map” and if only it may even get you more confused, but that is exactly the point. There is something very organic of how musical genres come to be, for example punk and new romantic in the 80s. You could say these two genres have almost nothing in common, but that’s the magic of it, inspiriation doesn’t always come as a parallel force or an imitating one, in many areas there are different reactions and one of them is an opposite reaction.

To get an idea on how these chain reactions occur in music, let’s take a look at examples in groups of three different movements or genres.

Glam Rock, Grunge, Britpop


Glam rock in the 80s were all about hard rock catchy riffs, long blonde hair and stage attractiveness. Bands like Poison and majncao are good examples of this, but there was a band that put a stop to glam while still not going completely against it which was Guns N’ Roses, they just went full rock on their music and cut off a bit of the “theater” from the glam side of things. Going into the nineties this attitude found its purest form in Grunge.

Bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Nirvana, became the most influential with their dark tone and rock attitude at its wildest form, resembling punk. This was the complete opposite to Glam, however without Glam there is no Grunge, just like Britpop which came as a direct response to Grunge and America.

Britpop was as british as it can get, through lyrics and its music, and to go even further, it was the light that Grunge completely ignored with their music.

Prog Rock and Stadium Rock, Punk, Synth Pop and New Romantic

Duran Duran

Between the 60s and 70s, bands like Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Rush and Pink Floyd were taking over the stages with complex musical structures and virtuoso like performances. This was starting to feel to big to be rock, so then came punk. Punk was lead by bands like The Clash, The Sex Pistols and Iggy Pop and the Stooges. In way the idea was to go back to the roots of rock, and make it about easy power chords, underground concerts and an explosion of feelings, most of all, along the lines of discomfort and protest.

Punk had a huge impact on the world, showing everyone that you didn’t have to be extremely good at playing instruments, singing or even looking good, you just had to be a decent musician and the drive to make music in order to be punk. Then, the 80s responded with something new, something that was a wonder at the time, synths.

It became clear that electronic music was emerging and this new wave of artists came strong with a less agressive sound, but still maintining a rock/pop structure. However this genre was more ambicious and experimental, constrasting the raw mentality of punks, and took over the music industry during that decade with bands like Duran Duran and New Order.

While it’s almost impossible to get a hold of every little detail from every musical genre, it’s a good idea for musicians to know a little bit about the cultural impact that some of these musical genres had, and that every genre is connected in some way or another.

Arturo Riera
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