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  • Writer's pictureLucas Lima

What's the difference between genre and musical style?

Though commonly used with the same intent, the terms have different meanings

Homem tocando cavaquinho
Photo: Freepik

When we talk about music, there's always a preference for musical genre. Surely you've heard the question: "what's your favorite musical style"? But, hold on, are we talking about genre or style?

There are words in the Portuguese language that we take as synonyms, but not always do both words, although similar, convey the same meaning. This is the case with musical genre and style. Although used in similar occasions, they have different meanings.

In the case of musical genre, we can understand it as a broad classification for various types of music: Rock, MPB (Brazilian Popular Music), Jazz, Samba, and many others. On the other hand, musical style, although different, is directly linked to the genre - they are the subdivisions, more restricted classifications taken from the genres. Classic examples are the musical styles linked to the Rock genre: Hard Rock, Punk Rock, Pop Rock, and many others. Each style has its nuances, peculiarities, but with similarities that lead them to their musical genre.

It's not hard to understand, but easy to confuse

Musical genres born in Brazil

Many musical genres are genuinely Brazilian. We've made a list of the genres that were born here in Brazil; Check it out:

MPB (Brazilian Popular Music)

Just by the name, we can tell, MPB is exclusively Brazilian. The musical genre was born in the late 60s and brought a sense of revolution to national music, with well-crafted lyrics, questioning or romantic, and a mixture of rhythms, such as samba and rock.


Samba was born in the hills, in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, and became the identity of the Brazilian people. With reflective or romantic lyrics, the genre brings percussion and beat to the songs.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova mixes Samba with Jazz and brought a certain refinement to Brazilian music. The genre was responsible for taking Brazilian music beyond continental borders.


Known as "chorinho," it is an instrumental musical style that emerged in the 19th century in Rio de Janeiro. Characterized by virtuous improvisation and a mixture of European and African influences, Choro is considered the first form of urban popular music in Brazil.


Originating from Recife, in Pernambuco, Frevo is not just a musical genre, it is an artistic expression that encompasses dance and attire. Characterized by its fast-paced melodies, frevo is one of the highlights related to the carnival of Pernambuco.

WePlay is a Brazilian live streaming platform for shows that believes in the diversity of national music and in the importance of information and credits for the artists. Learn more about the service at


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