As a result of their uniqueness, they cannot be differentiated on the basis of any specific factors. The main reason songs cannot be marked only in one class is because of the differences existing in the type of music, lyrics, and its purpose. For instance, a rap song can also be a Christian song, and a ballad can even have a metal feel to it.
However, we can still roughly classify songs as per the types of lyrics, the music, tone, culture, and other similar factors. The next sections of this article will cover more information about these classifications, along with a few examples to make things clearer for you.
Different Types of Songs
A Classical music concert with violins
As the name suggests, classical songs are those in which traditional music plays a main role. These songs were first composed by artists like Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, to name a few. These songs have had a substantial impact on the music we hear today. Every country has a culture, which is clearly apparent in its classical and folk songs.
~ Canon in D major – Johann Pachelbel
~ Symphony No. 9: Ode To Joy – Ludwig van Beethoven
~ The Four Seasons – Antonio Vivaldi
~ Hallelujah – Katherine Jenkins
~ Heart of Courage – Two Steps From Hell
Pop music star at a concert
Pop songs are those which have contemporary lyrics and an upbeat rhythm, basically meant for the youth culture. Some of the most popular artists of this genre are Michael Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, and Cher.The composition of pop songs concentrates more on music technology and recording than on live performances. Rhythm and effects are two important elements in pop songs.
~ Bye Bye Bye – N Sync
~ Beat It – Michael Jackson
~ I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys
~ Baby One More Time – Britney Spears
~ Every Breath You Take – The Police
Crowds at a huge rock concert
Rock songs are the most popular among teenagers and youngsters. They consist of clear pieces of lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keyboards as some of the main instruments. When the instruments are played in sync, they sound energetic along with the vocals. Most popular rock artists are Europe, Creed, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bryan Adams and many other good ones.
~ The Final Countdown – Europe
~ Jump – Van Halen
~ Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
~ Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
~ Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Singer singing a metal song with guitar
Metal songs are a bit more hard-sounding than rock songs. These songs have high pitches and screaming vocals, heavy guitar leads, and solid drum work. In a majority of metal songs, power chords and riffs are used. They may consist of random lyrics, as the primary focus is on the music. Some of the metal music legends are Whitesnake, Metallica, Dokken, Winger, Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, Scorpions, etc.
~ Fear of the Dark – Iron Maiden
~ Rainbow in the Dark – Dio
~ Still of the Night – Whitesnake
~ Enter Sandman – Metallica
~ Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions
Playing soulful country music on a guitar
Country songs are suitable for easy listening. They mainly consist of clean lyrics with music pieces using classical guitars and other traditional instruments. Occasionally, solos of instruments like the banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and harmonica can also be heard in country songs. You can listen to songs by Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Chris Young, Garth Brooks, and Shania Twain for a better idea.
~ Mean – Taylor Swift
~ If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away – Justin Moore
~ Somewhere Else – Toby Keith
~ Without You – Keith Urban
~ Just Fishin’ – Trace Adkins
Rappers at a hip hop music concert
In hip-hop or rap songs, the singer recites lyrics in an off-beat manner but with the continuity of the rhythm. These songs primarily include solid rhythmic beats and synth, with a focus on the way the lyrics are sung. Hip-hop songs have become popular not only in the USA, but all over the world. The most popular stars in hip-hop music are Eminem, Nelly, Akon, Flo Rida, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Kanye West.
~ In Da Club – 50 Cent
~ Lose Yourself – Eminem
~ California Love – 2Pac and Dr. Dre
~ Low – Flo Rida
~ The Real Slim Shady – Eminem
A woman recording a beautiful ballad at a studio
Ballads are songs which include a narration of a story in a musical way. These are basically slow songs, but may contain heavy components as well. Generally, ballads have an emotional touch to them, owing to the lyrical content. This is why they are a great hit during live shows. Ballads can be composed by artists from any genre of music. Power ballads are those which combine heavy music with emotional lyrics.
~ Is This Love – Whitesnake
~ Carrie – Europe
~ Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
~ In Your Eyes – John Norum
~ Please Forgive Me – Bryan Adams
Playing dance songs at a discotheque
Dance songs are fast and have a thumping rhythmic pattern. Lyrics are not given much importance here. Nowadays, dance songs accompany synth, drum machines, and electronic music, and are played in dance parties and discotheques. Most notable artists of this genre are Vengaboys, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and many other electronica artists. Nowadays, you will find most traditional songs rerecorded to dance numbers by adding beats and effects.
~ Into the Groove – Madonna
~ Heaven – DJ Sammy
~ Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Kylie Minogue
~ What Is Love – Haddaway
~ Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
Man playing romantic love tune on the guitar
Love songs are slow songs whose lyrics concentrate on the feelings of love and relationships. These songs are largely played in marriages. There are sad love songs whose lyrics relate to breakups, too. They are mostly composed by pop and rock artists. Some of the artists who have composed the best love songs are Elton John, Bryan Adams, Richard Marx, Mariah Carey, and George Michael.
~ (Everything I Do) I Do It for You – Bryan Adams
~ I Just Called to Say I Love You – Stevie Wonder
~ Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx
~ My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
~ It Must Have Been Love – Roxette
Church group singing a gospel
Gospel songs contain lyrics taken from Bible verses or are just written out of Christian belief. Usually, the lyrics are made out of a personal experience with God. They are sung in churches all around the globe. Gospel songs may be from any music genre such as country, rock, rap, or metal. World-renowned artists to compose gospel songs are Don Moen, Petra, Sonicflood, Michael W. Smith, and Hillsong.
~ God is Good – Don Moen
~ Awesome God – Michael W. Smith
~ We Want To See Jesus Lifted High – Petra
~ How Great Is Our God – Chris Tomlin
~ Mighty to Save – Hillsong
This is just a random list of the most common types of songs sung and played in the music industry along with some examples. Remember, one song can even belong to two or more categories, which is why the classification becomes difficult. However, it is commonly considered that song types can be classified as per the genre of music.