Rock Music Artists, Types, and History

Rock is a genre of music that emerged as a reaction to the stagnant, overly polished, and corporatized state of popular music in the years following World War II.

Fuelled by hardcore beats and electric guitars, rock has been an enormously successful musical genre for more than six decades.

Key Characteristics of Rock Genre

Let’s review what is rock music. This genre is a generic name for many popular music styles. The word “rock” in this case indicates the typical rhythmic sensations associated with a specific form of movement, by analogy with “roll“, “twist“, “swing“, “shake“, etc.

Such signs of rock music as the use of electric musical instruments, creative self-sufficiency (it is typical for rock musicians to perform compositions of their composition) are secondary and often misleading.

For this reason, the belonging of some styles of music to rock is disputed. Furthermore, rock is a unique subcultural phenomenon. Such subcultures as mods, hippies, punks, metallers, goths, emo are inextricably linked to specific rock music genres.

History of rock music

History of Rock Music

Born in the 50s of the XXth century, rock music absorbed many styles and directions. The history of rock is very dynamic and intense. Rock absorbed many other trends and cultures. Great importance played an essential factor – learning to play the guitar was independent for the most part.

For this reason, already in the mid-60s, a rock struck many sounds, united by such factors as a precise rhythm, the obligatory textual or external protest against political trends, other musicians, the older generation, anything that could find a different perspective. Despite the spontaneity and diversity, it is possible to identify several trends in rock music.

The 21st century began with a kind of crisis in rock music: if new genres were emerging almost every year in the last century, then from 2000 to 2009, not a single fresh style was created.

Instead, old alternative rock genres such as Brit-pop, punk, glam, and other rock subgenres were revived. Because of this, many popular bands of the past gathered in their classic lineups and played live shows worldwide.

It is easy to explain some slowdowns in the genre’s development: if it used to be that rock was the music of teenage rebellion, now hip-hop has replaced it. More and more people find their thoughts reflected in the lines of rappers. Nevertheless, all is not yet lost for rock…

Below we present an extensive list of rock genres.

Rock Subgenres

Different Types of Rock Music

Punk Rock

A genre of rock music that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States and Great Britain.
The meaning that early punk rock bands put into their genre was the desire to play. A heterogeneous early American punk scene was formed.

This approach allowed punk rock to become the basis for several subcultures: punk, DIY, fanzine culture, and later straight edge. Between 1976 and 1977, punk rock emerged in the UK in a more scandalous and politicized form. Thanks to this, by 1977, the genre became one of the most prominent phenomena in British rock music.

Over time, punk rock has spawned many varieties. The largest of them is the more melodic and light-hearted pop-punk and aggressive hardcore and combinations with other genres – ska-punk and post-punk.

Glam Rock

A genre of rock music that emerged in the UK in the early 1970s and became one of the dominant genres of the first half of that decade. Glam-rock performers were characterized by a bright image, expressed through the theatrical effect of exotic costumes, makeup, androgynous appearance. Musically, glam rock was heterogeneous, combining rock and roll, hard rock, art rock, and pop. Elements of glam rock-influenced disco and punk rock greatly. Glam rock is also known as glitter rock.

Garage Rock

A genre of rock music formed in the United States and Canada in the 1960s. It is considered the principal forerunner of punk rock and an essential part of proto-punk, also called “garage punk“. The name of the style came from the places where these bands rehearsed without recording studios: garages, basements, bars, etc. The name Frat-Rock was also common.

The most famous representatives of the first wave of “garage rock” were The Kingsmen, The Wailers, The Sonics, Count Five, The Standells. The sound of these bands was more “raw“, rough, harsh, and unstructured than it was customary for rock music of that period. These bands attracted narrower and more radical audiences and usually were not commercially successful.

Anatolian Rock

A rock genre that emerged through a fusion of Turkish folk music and rock. It appeared in the mid-1960s, after Western rock bands Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Status Quo, and Omega became popular in Turkey. Elements of Turkish folk music and folklore philosophy influenced singers such as Erkin Koray, Cem Karaca, Barış Manço, Moğollar – they founded Anatolian rock.

 Symphonic Rock

A style of rock music, initially a subgenre of progressive rock characterized by a unique symphonic sound achieved, as a rule, by keyboard instruments lacking numerous classical instruments in symphonic orchestra. Today, sympho-rock often includes bands that have keyboards in their lineup.

Psychedelic Rock

A musical rock genre that emerged in the mid-60s in Western Europe and California. Psychedelic rock is related to the terms “psychedelia” and “psychedelics“.
Psychedelic rock is complex, expressive music that strongly influences the listener.

It was initially being associated directly with the use of psychedelics by both listeners and musicians. Psychedelic rock, over time, began to mimic the effects of hallucinogens. A vast arsenal of expressive musical means and special effects in the performance of the music is used for this purpose.

A characteristic feature of psychedelic rock became long solo parts of the leading instruments. Live performances of this genre are usually accompanied by a bright visual show using light, smoke, video installations, and other effects.

Rock genre


A hybrid rock musical genre, a kind of rock music that combines blues and rock-and-roll styles. The basis of the blues-rock sound is electric guitar, bass guitar, and drum kit, and the sound of the electric guitar is subjected to “overdrive” distortion, typically thanks to a tube guitar amplifier.

Blues-rock began its development in the mid-1960s in England and the United States. English bands (such as The Who, Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Animals, Cream, and Rolling Stones) experimented with early American bluesmen Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reid, Muddy Waters, and others.

Blues-rock is characterized by blues improvisation, with heavy use of pentatonic, use of 12-stroke blues harmony, boogie rhythmic patterns, emphasis on electric guitar sound and technique features, and an often riff-based sound that is heavier than in traditional Chicago blues. Blues-rock is usually played with a faster tempo, which also distinguishes this genre from the blues.

Folk Rock

A musical rock genre that combines elements of folk and rock music. Probably the first folk-rock song was the American folk song “House of the Rising Sun” performed by the British rock band The Animals in 1964. The Beatles’ music strongly influenced the California band The Byrds, who recorded an electric version of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965 and founded the American folk-rock movement.

Country Rock

A genre of rock music that combines rock and country. Country music has always been part of rock and roll, ever since Elvis Presley performed on the Grand Ole Opry in 1955. He completed a rhythmic mix of country and rhythm and blues, now called rockabilly, an early form of rock and roll with strong country influences.

Southern Rock

A subgenre of rock music that originated in the southern United States and was popular in the 1970s. It should be noted that the origins of rock music lie primarily in the music of performers from the southern United States (notably Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Bob Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others), and rock-n-roll performers were from there.

Gregg Allman (one of The Allman Brothers Band) spoke in “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll“. He said that the term “Southern Rock” was superfluous, as it was like saying “rocking rock“. Nevertheless, Southern Rock is known to have evolved from the heavy blues-rock of the late 1960s and the influence of country music. The genre is characterized by an affinity to hard rock, as it focuses on electric guitar and is full of long guitar passages.

Art Rock

A term for a movement of rock music characterized by melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic experimentation, as well as a great deal of artistic imagery in the lyrics. Art rock often goes beyond the forms and genres of contemporary popular music in jazz, academic, ethnic music, or experimental avant-garde.

Strictly speaking, the term “art rock” is synonymous with the term progressive Rock, but the two terms are used in different ways among music lovers. The most accepted difference between art rock and progressive Rock is that art rock is more melodic and less harsh (so, to art-rock, we can refer Camel, and to progressive – Pink Floyd).

Types Of Rock Music


An experimental and psychedelic rock music movement emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s in Germany.
The signature of the style was a mixture of rock music played on standard rock band instruments (electric guitar, bass guitar, drums) with the structures of electronic music and electronic sound processing.

Among other things, the music often has a pulsating rhythm, the striking examples of which are the compositions of Autobahn by Kraftwerk.

Thus, Krautrock gave an impetus to the development of electronic music and ambient. In addition, there is an emphasis on instrumental music, improvisation, and experimentalism in Krautrock. The roots of Krautrock go back partly to the German electronic avant-garde of the 1950s and the work of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Space Rock

A musical genre of Rock. It was initially the name given to the music of British progressive and psychedelic bands of the 1970s, such as Hawkwind and Pink Floyd. This music was characterized by synthesizers, sci-fi lyrics, long, slow instrumental melodies.

Later, it became the name of the music of British alternative bands in the 1980s, more melodic compared to the early space rock of the 1970s.

Indie Rock

A genre of alternative rock, which exists mainly underground, independent information, and commercial space. It takes its name from the word “independent“. This is not a different style of music but a generalizing term for a wide range of musicians and styles, united by belonging to an underground counterculture and having some relation to rock music.

Math Rock

A movement of rock music emerged in the late 1980s in the United States. Math rock is characterized by complex, atypical rhythmic structure and dynamics, sharp and often unharmonious riffs.

Instrumental Rock

A genre of rock music dominated by music rather than vocals. It was most popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Examples of instrumental Rock can be found in almost any genre.


A genre of rock music characterized through instruments associated with rock music and rhythm, melodies, timbre, and chord sequences that are not typical of traditional Rock. Representatives of the genre mostly play instrumental music. Post-rock music combines elements of various musical genres, such as ambient, jazz, electronic music, and Rock.

Like many other musical terms, “post-rock” describes a wide variety of sound options. For example, the bands Don Caballero, Tortoise, and Toe are classified as post-rock, although they have little in common apart from that drums and guitars play a significant role.

Rock music genre

Alternative Rock

A term in modern music that refers to various rock music styles that oppose traditional music. The term emerged in the 1980s and encompassed many types of rock music that originated in punk, post-punk, and others.

After the commercial success of American grunge in 1991-1993, Alternative Rock became a style of Rock. Alternative Rock became a style, with the more uncompromising ensembles going underground.

Gothic Rock

A musical genre of rock, which is a subgenre of alternative rock. The first musical rock groups playing in this genre were closely connected with English punk rock and post-punk. In the early 1980s, the genre became a separate movement.

The music is dominated by dark themes and intellectual movements such as romanticism, nihilism, and the gothic trend in New Age art. The best examples of bands that performed gothic rock are Bauhaus, The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, and The Mission. Gothic rock became the basis for the Gothic subculture, which later expanded considerably.

Noise Rock

A musical subgenre of rock that emerged in the 1980s as an experimental offshoot of punk rock. Noise rock was formed due to mixing punk rock with atonal noise and unconventional song structure characteristic of early industrial and noise rock. The early Sonic Youth albums are an example of noise-rock.

Industrial Rock

The musical subgenre of rock is characterized by pronounced experimentalism and a unique aesthetic of mechanical and other industrial sounds.

Trip Rock

A musical rock genre. The genre is a mix of trip-hop and rock genres, primarily alternative rock or indie rock. There are also rock groups mixing trip-hop with psychedelic or progressive rock, sometimes even with post-rock. The term trip-rock is also used by the Dutch band The Gathering to describe their music since 1999, but more than “trippy” music with a strong emotional and melancholic component, rather than trip-hop influenced.


Music is a powerful thing. It can dictate your mood, give you inspiration, and make you want to dance. It can be the background to a good party or just provide the perfect soundtrack for a romantic evening with your significant other. One of the most popular music genres is rock. In this article, we discussed the genre in more detail.