The Rock Music Genre

History and characteristics of rock music genre

The Rock music genre is believed to have developed in the early-1950s in the American scene. Most people believed that it evolved from blues, swing, boogie-woogie, ragtime, and other styles. The term “rock n’ roll” was first coined by Bill Haley and employed to describe his band. However, since that period, it has evolved further into various sub-genres, including hard rock, metal, punk rock, and alternative rock. Bands often identify themselves as being “rock” instead of other genre names. Further, it combines elements of the popular musical styles, rhythm and blues, country music of the mid-1950s, and urban blues styles such as Chicago blues.

Rock songs often revolve around a central, repeating musical motive played loudly on an electric guitar and accompanied by drums. As a consequence, several rock sub-genres exist and might include elements such as:

Different time signatures

Typical rhythms

Varying tempos

Alternative instruments (such as classical instruments)

Extended chords


Such diversity is common in today’s popular music scene and continues to evolve with new bands. Established rock bands such as The Beatles emerged as one of the first rockers to experiment with the sub-genres with their song “Going Against the Norm.”

Rock bands typically require one or more players for each part, making ensemble playing a requirement instead of being part of the musical style. Other arrangements are better suited to certain instruments because of the distinctive timbres that complement each other when used together. Understandably, the rhythm section members are commonly called the drummer and the bass player. However, these terms might be misleading. Although drummers usually play rhythms, drummers are likely to ascend or play melodies.

Notable Characteristics of The Rock Music Genre

Variety of lyrical subjects

When compared to swing, big band, folk, country, and blues music that preceded it, rock music enables various lyrical content. For instance, famous rockers, including Jeff Tweedy, Morrissey, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan, wrote lyrics regarded to fall into the fine poetry genre.

Drum kits and electric instruments

Most rock bands are anchored around drum kits, electric bass, and electric guitar. Other bands have keyboard players, and most rock guitarists use acoustic guitar.

Propulsive rhythms

Rock tempos have an immense variance, but most rockers love a 100-140 beats/minute range.


Compared to earlier types of popular music such as show-tune standards and big bands, rock music provides propulsive and surging energy. As a consequence, early rock music was appealing to most teenagers.