- EARLY JAZZ – Ragtime, Dixieland, big band, swing, etc.
- MAINSTREAM JAZZ – Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, etc.
- VOCAL JAZZ –
- BOP –
- COOL –
- HARD BOP –
- POST-BOP –
- AVANT-GARDE JAZZ – Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, etc.
- FUSION – Miles Davis. The man. The legend.
- AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ –
- BOSSA NOVA –
- WORLD FUSION – Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Tito Puente, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Buena Vista Social Club, etc.
- ROCK EN ESPANOL –
These genres reach far enough back that much of them weren’t captured on record when they were performed.
- BLUES – More than any other genre, the blues informed what became American music.
- FOLK – Passed down from generation to generation, folk songs also formed a significant portion of the core of early American music.
- REGGAE – The legend goes that Africans brought what became the blues to America and developed it while working the fields as slaves; reggae is what evolved from what slaves brought to the Caribbean and developed.
- ROCK & ROLL – In the 1940s and 1950s, blues music finally crystalized into a punchier form that had lots of commercial potential.
- BLUES-ROCK –
- ALBUM ROCK – When things got less weird but not necessarily less interesting.
- ART ROCK – When things got weird. And then they got weirder.
- PROG-ROCK –
- COUNTRY-ROCK –
This is the album era of rock & pop (specifically, the vinyl era).
- AM POP –
- PSYCHEDELIC – Yay for drugs and hippies.
- SINGER/SONGWRITER – When folk developed into a more commercially viable, usually soft and acoustic-based pop/rock form.
- SOFT ROCK
- CONTEMPORARY POP/ROCK – From the ’80s onward, pop music became much easier to segment; these artists transcended genre and became superstars.
- ADULT CONTEMPORARY –
- HARD ROCK – When lots of artists began pushing the boundaries of how loud and noisy they could make their music sound.
- HEAVY METAL – These go to 11; in the aftermath of the punk explosion, these artists doubled down on distortion.
- ARENA ROCK –
- DEATH METAL –
- ALTERNATIVE METAL –
- EXPERIMENTAL ROCK –
- PROTO-PUNK –
- GLAM ROCK –
- PUB ROCK –
- POWER POP –
- PUNK – When rock & roll got torn down and rebuilt into something else.
- POST-PUNK –
- NEW WAVE – The portion of the punk crowd that had larger pop ambitions with their music.
- COLLEGE ROCK – As new wave went mainstream and then faded out, a new crop of talent surfaced in the underground.
- ALTERNATIVE ROCK – When everything is alternative, nothing is.
- NOISE POP –
- POST-ROCK –
- BRITPOP –
- GRUNGE –
- ADULT ALTERNATIVE –
- INDIE ROCK – After alternative went mainstream with Nirvana, those who remained indie redefined the scene.
- PUNK-POP –
- INDIE ELECTRONIC – More rock than electronic in form and structure, but more electronic than rock in sound and feel.
- GARAGE ROCK REVIVAL –
- BLUEGRASS – Bring on the banjos.
- TRADITIONAL COUNTRY – A more roots-y, organic version of what the genre would later bring, a vast number of great albums were made in this distinctly American genre.
- BAKERSFIELD SOUND –
- COUNTRY-POP –
- OUTLAW COUNTRY –
- CONTEMPORARY COUNTRY – From the ’80s onward, country became more corporate and slickly produced like the rest of pop music.
- PROGRESSIVE COUNTRY –
- AMERICANA –
- EARLY R&B –
- SOUL – Essentially, black pop music during the rock & roll and album rock eras.
- FUNK –
- QUIET STORM –
- NEW JACK SWING –
- CONTEMPORARY R&B – Still black pop music, beginning with the disco era that put dance elements first.
- KRAUT ROCK –
- NEW AGE –
- AMBIENT – All hail our lord and master Brian Eno.
- TECHNO –
- HOUSE –
- ELECTRONICA – When electronic music started incorporating pop sensibilities.
- IDM –
- JUNGLE/DRUM’N’BASS –
- CLUB/DANCE – Welcome to the electronic underground.
- GARAGE –
- OLD-SCHOOL RAP –
- GOLDEN AGE – Early, sample-heavy hip-hop.
- POLITICAL RAP –
- GANGSTA RAP –
- JAZZ-RAP –
- ALTERNATIVE RAP – As rap became tougher and more hardcore, some went another direction.
- DIRTY RAP –
- POP-RAP –
- HARDCORE RAP – When rap started landing on the pop charts and incorporating more live instrumentation.
- UNDERGROUND RAP –
- SOUTHERN RAP –
- MIDWEST RAP –