Music Genres Timeline
Timeline Description: The timeline below provides an overview of popular musical styles from the Baroque period through the modern world. The flowering of various musical styles since the early 20th century becomes clear, with a variety of different music options.

Date Event
1600 The Baroque Period(1600 to 1750)

The Baroque period is characterized by strict musical forms and highly ornamental works. Baroque music began in Europe around 1600. It continued until 1750.
1750 The Classical Period(1750 to 1830)

The music of the Classical Period is lighter and clearer than Baroque music. In broad terms, it is less complex and is primarily homophonic.
1830 The Romantic Period(1830 to 1900)

Romantic music sought to express emotion, both negative and positive, through music. Orchestras became much larger during this period.
1899 Scott Joplin's "Maple Time Rag" Began Ragtime

While orchestral music remained popular, in 1899, Scott Joplin began to release very new music, including his "Maple Time Rag". This began the genre of ragtime, characterized by a syncopated, ragged rhythm.
1900 Opera Became Increasingly Popular(1900 to 1960)

During the first half of the 20th century, operas became increasingly popular, with large opera houses working in many cities.
1903 Musician W.C. Handy Heard Blues in a Train Station

Drawing from African traditions and spirituals, blues musicians were not yet well-known, when musician W.C. Handy heard blues played in a train station. He went on to publicize this genre, and bring recordings of blues music to the public.
1904 Buddy Bolden Fused Ragtime and Blues

While he never recorded, Buddy Bolden fused ragtime and blues as early as 1904. This fusion formed the basis of jazz.
1910 New Orleans Jazz(Early 1910s)

By 1910, jazz music had become popular in New Orleans. Later, a number of different jazz genres appeared throughout the country, with distinct regional variations. Jazz was highly influential, and remains popular in modern forms even today.
1920 Beginning of Country Music(1920s)

Country music has its origins in the songs of the Appalachian Mountains, but by the early 1920s, it was developing into a new musical genre, popular in the Southern states.
1923 First Folk Blues Record

The first folk blues record was recorded in 1923. Folk blues drew on African experience, music and spirituals, and eventually proved influential later musical genres.
1930 Big Band Swing Music(1930s)

By the 1930s, jazz had led to the birth of a new genre, big band swing music. These were large bands, producing lively dance music.
1940 Beginning of R&B(1940s)

Rhythm & Blues or R&B began in the 1940s, relying on the sounds of blues music. R&B was marketed primarily to African-Americans and was characterized by a strong beat, with influences from more traditional blues music
1950 Beginning of Rock Music(Early 1950s)

Rock music began in the early 1950s, relying on various musical genres, including blues, jazz and gospel, as well as country music. By the mid- to late-1950s, this music was largely guitar driven, and eventually fueled a growing youth culture.
1960 Contemporary Folk Music(1960s)

The mid-1960s saw the revival of folk music, integrating various musical traditions from around the world. This was not the first revival, but is the one most closely associated with modern music.
1970 Beginning of Rap(Early 1970s)

Rap and hip-hop music have their origins in house parties in 1970s New York City. These musical genres initially relied upon the beats found in funk, soul and disco records, but provided a new and exciting form of expression.
1974 Beginning of Punk Rock(1974 to 1976)

By the 1970s, rock music wasn't rebellion enough, and punk rock developed. Punk music used limited instrumentation, harsh sound, and shorter songs. Lyrics were typically anti-establishment.