Genre Definitions – ever wondered what exactly it was you were listening to? Is it ambient or is it Chill? And does it matter!? Well, here are a few definitions to help you along
**Note – this page is constantly being added to, so if you see something that’s incomplete – don’t worry, we’re on it**
Hip hop (also spelled hip-hop or hiphop) is both a cultural movement and a music genre developed in New York City starting in the 1970s, predominantly by African Americans and Latinos. Since first emerging in the Bronx, the lifestyle of hip hop culture which has today spread around the world . Hip hop music, a form of popular music which grew out of the culture, is also today performed and heard by audiences worldwide. Hip hop as a cultural movement encompasses a wide array of human activities, referred to as elements, including but not limited to DJing, emceeing, breakdance, and graffiti. Wanna listen? Check out Common
Jazz is an original American musical art form which originated around the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States out of a confluence of African and European music traditions. The use of blue notes, call-and-response, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note of ragtime are characteristics traceable back to jazz’s West African pedigree. During its early development, jazz also incorporated music from New England’s religious hymns and from 19th and 20th century American popular music based on European music traditions. The origins of the word “jazz,” which was first used to refer to music in about 1915, are uncertain (for the origin and history, see Jazz (word)). Wanna listen – check out Miles Davis
An umbrella term coined in the late 1990s to refer to music styles that blend jazz textures and sometimes jazz instrumentation, funk, electronic dance music, and free improvisation. Also written nu-jazz or NuJazz, it is sometimes called electronic jazz, electro-jazz, e-jazz, jazztronica, jazz house, phusion, or future jazz. Wanna listen? Check out The Cinematic Orchestra
Further reading: “The Birth of Nu Jazz”, short article by Tony Brewer, January 2002, at All About Jazz
Ambient, or atmospheric electronica is background music: it was meant to be heard rather than listened to. The term is now extended to the more atmospheric techno music from 0 to 70 bpm. Illbient is a sub genre of ambient music invented by DJ Spooky in which the feel of the track is more disturbing then relaxing. Nu jazz is another sub genre of ambient.
Drum and Bass Also: D’n’b; drum’n’bass – The genre could be described as speeded-up breakbeats with a slower bassline. The speed of the drums varies from 140-170 bpm; the bassline is – sometimes – half of the speed of the drum. The drums have the breakbeat 1 2 33 4, which means that the 2 and 4 are snare or kick drum `on the floor’, while the 1 sometimes and the 3 hardly always are syncopated drums (i.e. off the measure). The bassline is flowing smoothly or pumping energetically, originating from dub/reggae.
This genre came from jungle and evolved from the early 1990s onwards. Today different sub genres of drum and bass are: atmospheric, intelligent, dolphin, 2 step, jump up, dark, ragga, and jazzy drum and bass. See Ronni Size