The Anatomy Of A Genre Of Music

Our world has changed for better or for worse. It is for us to find truth and beauty for today, constantly re-applying the truth of God’s word to our own time and our contemporary situation. Hans Rookmaaker

A music genre is a category that is used to label pieces of music that share a set of similar artistic components.

Examples of music genres are:

  1. Classical
  2. Rock
  3. Reggae
  4. EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
  5. R&B
  6. Afro Pop
  7. Gospel and many others

Wemix has compiled a list of 5 components of musical genres that will help you distinguish one genre from the other namely:

  1. The songwriting style of a particular genre: 

The lyrics of a lot of church hymns were written in a poetic style with the last word of a phrase often rhyming with last word of another phrase within the same stanza.

For example “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” By Charles Wesley:


 Notice how the last word of the first phrase (sing) rhymes with the last word of the second phrase (king).

           2. The prominent instruments used to produce or perform that style of music:

  • In traditional Ugandan music, some of the common instruments used are the harp (Adungu), xylophone (Akadinda), drums (Engoma), rattles (Ebinyege) and ankle bells (Endege).


 Image 1

  • For reggae music, “The drums are the backbone and the bass guitar is the driving force.”


   Image 2 and 3

  •  The electric guitar is the central instrument in rock music.


 Image 4  and 5  

     3. Signature dance moves and choreography:

  • Hip Hop music is and has been characterized by dance moves such as breaking, popping, and locking.


  Images 6,7,8

  • Salsa is a popular form of social dance that often accompanies Salsa music.


 Image 9

    4. Symbols and Colors of A Music Genre.


 Image 10

  • What is the significance of reggae colors, green, yellow and red?

Rastafarianism was a religion formed in Jamaica in the 1930s where they recognized Haile Sellasie, the emperor of Ethiopia as their God. The Ethiopian flag has the colors of green, yellow, and red to represent Africa, but to Rastafarians, these colors meant something else. The Red represents the lives lost in the struggle with colonial powers in Ethiopia.The Green represents the vegetation and beauty of Africa while the yellow represents the gold that was looted from Africa in times past.

        5. Methods of creation, production and distribution of an album:  

The Mixtape:

The term mixtape used to refer to a homemade compilation of songs recorded onto an audio cassette.

I started making the “traditional” mixtape around the age of 13. I was a very loyal fan of Power Fm, a Christian radio station in Uganda and I listened to every show whenever I could get my hands on a radio. The Dance Party on Saturday night with the Machine Man Rwabs was always the highlight of my weekend. I got tired of waiting for my favorite songs to play on radio so I would put a cassette our radio and record my songs whenever they played on radio. I was doing this in the year 2003 but this was a very common practice in the 70s and 80s in the United States when cassette tapes were a prime medium of music distribution.

Hip hop mixtapes emerged in the 1970s in New York City when people would record live DJ performances by the said founders of hip hop, Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaata on cassettes and then distribute them.

Currently, the word mixtape is used to describe full-length albums released for free. Mixtapes have helped further the careers of rappers like Ruyonga and Lecrae. Ruyonga’s mixtapes, “Victory Lap” and “God Over Money” have featured original songs and instrumentals from songs by other musicians. On the other hand, Lecrae’s mixtape series, “Church Clothes” has featured original music only.


 Image 11


An avid listener of reggae music has probably realized that a lot of reggae songs seem to use the same instrumental – a riddim. “What is a Riddim?” you may ask. A riddim is typically a bassline and usually a special drum pattern is used with the bassline.

The word “riddim” is the Jamaican patois word for rhythm.

Riddims tend to follow “a rub a dub dub, a rub a dub dub pattern.”In the world of reggae music, artists and producers often take an existing instrumental song (riddim), record a new voicing over it, and re-release it as if it were a completely new song. Producers may also produce a beat (riddim) and contract artists to voice over it.

Below is the Plead Riddim Produced By Lion Of Judah Music Group.

We shall look deeper into the history and development of a select group of genres in up-coming posts…

Image Credits: 

  • Image 1 (Traditional Ugandan Musical Instruments) –
  • Image 2 (Reggae Bassist) –
  • Image 3 (Reggae Drummer) –
  • Image 4 (Peter Furler) –
  • Image 5 (Switchoot Bro Am) –
  • Image 6 (Breaking)
  • Image 7 (Popping)
  • Image 8 (Locking)
  • Image 9 (Salsa)
  • Image 10 (Reggae Flag)


  1. Bell, J. (2012, January 22). The Daily Californian. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from The Daily Californian Web site:
  2. datguy. ( 2004, May 22). Urban Dictionary. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from Urban Dictionary:
  3. Friedman, S. ( 2015, May 4). Sonic Bids Blog . Retrieved March 14, 2016, from Sonic Bids Blog Website:
  4. Music Genres List . (2015). Retrieved March 27, 2016, from Music Genres List Web Site:
  5. Noz. (2013, June 12). Red Bull Music Academy Daily . Retrieved March 20, 2016, from Red Bull Music Academy Daily Webs site:
  6. The Free Dictionary. (n.d.). The Free Dictionary . Retrieved March 27, 2016, from The Free Dictionary Web Site:
  7. Wikipedia. ( 2016, March 16). Retrieved March 27, 2016, from Wikipedia:
  8. Wikipedia. (2016, March 7). Wikipedia . Retrieved March 20, 2016, from Wikipedia Website:
  9. Wise Geek. (2016). Wise Geek . Retrieved March 27, 2016, from Wise Geek Web Site:


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