The History of Popular Music

The History of Popular Music

Definition: Popular Music

In very wide terms, musicologists generally break music down in to three basic genres:

  • Art Music
  • Popular Music
  • Indigenous/Folk/World Music

Art music consists of mainly classical styles, as well as a few others like jazz. Indigenous/folk/world music is traditional music that is specific to a group of people or country/geographical area. The last, popular music, encompasses the majority of music that we listen to and consume. Under the umbrella of popular music sits many genres.

Task 1: Popular Music Styles

What are some of the styles of popular music? Research and name the significant styles have existed in the period of 1950-2020 in the padlet below. You may need to consider what constitutes a ‘significant style’. For example ‘rock’ actually encompasses many different sub genres, many of which would be considered significant – ie. punk, grunge, heavy metal etc. Try to be specific about styles that you name rather than using umbrella terms (such as rock).

Made with Padlet


Task 2: A Popular Music Timeline

Using the style identified above, find an artist for each style and add them to the timeline below. Try not to double up with your class mates (you may wish to organise by dividing the styles up in to decades). For each artist add: a photo, the years active and the style in which they performed.

Made with Padlet
May 27, 2020