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Characteristics of classical music, pop music and folk music:

Classical Music

Pop Music

Folk Music

It´s written in scores.

It´s usually listened to in concerts.

 It´s usually recorded and listened to on the radio or at home.

It´s transmitted orally, from generation to generation. Because of this, it doesn´t need a score until the songs begin to be forgotten.


It´s made for a select audience and this audience has to be in silence during  the concerts.


It´s said that it´s related to an elite group of people.

What do you think about it?
Perhaps it´s not true.


It´s mainly for a younger audience and during the concert the focus is on the visual aspects of the performance.

The image of the pop stars is very important.

Sometimes, the audience becomes involved in the performance as part of the show.

 Everyone can participate.

( To maintain its appeal it has been transformed into more of a spectacle for the audience and traditional costumes are dressed in some performances)


When it´s played by an orchestra, the conductor is the guide.


Usually, the singer is the leader.

Everybody knows the compositions, so everybody can participate by playing, singing or dancing.


There is a lot of instrumental music.

It is elegant and looks for beauty in  simplicity,  proportion and  balance. 

Pieces are usually very elaborate.

Vocal music predominates. The songs deal with social and young peoples´ problems. It keeps to a formal structure “verse-chorus-verse” presented in a simple way. 

Voice is predominant in the first place and has a lineal and repeated percussion.


Vocal music predominates. It´s related to the events found in the calendar or to the important moments in someone´s life. 

It usually uses simple melodies and structure, in verses and with a chorus or stanzas and refrain. 

It needs musicians with experience.

Classical instruments are used.

Self-taught musicians play or sing it and electric instruments are used.

Traditional instruments are used.

The composers are famous and professional musicians in the history of music. 

The performers are not usually the composers of the pieces that they play.

The songs aren´t usually composed by one person. The composer aren´t usually classically trained. The performers are not usually the composers of the songs that they play.


Pieces are anonymous. The composers are unknown.

It can change depending on the  culture (European and Western Classical Music, Indian Classical Music, Chinese and Japanese Classical Music) .


It is not identified with specific countries. In fact,  many of its composition are sung in English. 


It exists all over the world and it varies according to place.

It doesn´t lose its appeal over time, although it has undergone many changes throughout history.


It varies frequently according to fashion.

We usually study the history  of this music in decades.


It withstands the passing of time.

Although young people  don´t often listen to this type of music, folk music is sometimes the theme of popular groups.

Look the connections beetween these types of music