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List of popular music genres

This is a list of the commercially-relevant genres in modern popular music. Styles that are not contemporary or commercially marketed in substantial numbers have been excluded, in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. Art music: classical music and opera.
  2. Music written for the score of a play, stage musical, operetta, zarzuela, film or similar: Filmi, incidental music, video game music, music hall songs and showtunes.
  3. Ballroom music: tango, pasodoble, cha cha cha and others.
  4. Religious music: gospel, Gregorian chant, spirituals, hymns and the like.
  5. Military music, marches, national anthems and related compositions.
  6. Regional and national musics with no significant commercial impact abroad, except when a version of an international genre: Western traditional music, folk, oral traditions, sea shanties, work songs, nursery rhymes, Arabesque, Chalga, Enka, Flamenco, indigenous music and Mor lam sing.
  7. Genres which are not distinguishable from existing ones, and those that consist of a mixture of styles, such as dansband and ghettotech.

Applicable styles are classified in this list using Allmusic[1] genre categorisation.






Easy listening


Hip Hop & Rap



Modern folk


Rhythm & Blues




  1. ^ [1] Allmusic web site


  • Borthwick, Stuart, & Moy, Ron (2004) Popular Music Genres: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  • Fabbri, Franco (1982) A Theory of Popular Music Genres: Two Applications. In Popular Music Perspectives, edited by David Horn and Philip Tagg, 52-81. Göteborg and Exeter: A. Wheaton & Co., Ltd.
  • Frith, Simon (1996) Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Holt, Fabian (2007) Genre in Popular Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Negus, Keith (1999) Music Genres and Corporate Cultures. London and New York: Routledge.


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