Different styles of music have continually sprung up in various places throughout history. These different styles have traditionally been a geographical phenomenon. As composers shared ideas with other composers around them, certain common characteristics in thier would develop. This lead to a musical style that was invariably unique to that area, a kind of musical speciation. J.S. Bach explored the musical styles of various regions in his French and English suites, Partitas (German suite), and Italian Concerto.
Perhaps of most significance where musical styles are concerned is the various styles that developed out of African American folk music. It is from this that we got Jazz, the Blues, Rock & Roll, and many other popular styles of music. What happened in American during the early 20th century would fundamentally change how we perceive and think about music.
Today, thanks to globalisation, musical styles are less an expression of geography and more of preference for certain characteristics in the music. In the world of Popular music there seems to be a strong socio-economic factor where particular social groups tend to listen to particular kinds of music. In the still very much alive world of ‘Classical’ music, composers may take elements from many different styles in an attempt to forge their own unique voice. There is also a strong trend among composers today to strive to conceive of entirely new styles and ways of writing music.
Learn more about specific musical styles by following the links below.