Rock is a widely popular and vast genre that gathers together a wide range of different styles. Its origins can be traced to US recordings in the late 1940s that combined major elements from Jump-Blues and Swing with the increased prominence given to the role of the electric guitar drawn from Chicago Blues. Even though the term ‘Rock’ was originally used by some Blues performers in the late 1930s to describe their faster tempo songs and bawdier version of their music, it went largely unrecorded until the late 1940s.
Rock in its original form was a song-based type of music that typically used a verse-chorus structure with a backbeat rhythm and the electric guitar at the forefront of the music being heavier and/or faster than its predecessor genres. Rock is characterized by the prominence of the electric guitar, usually played loud, and accompanied by bass and drums. In addition, right from the beginning rock music has been linked to a rebel or provocative attitude towards the system and conservative culture.
Rock became popular in the 1950s through two of their original forms Rock & Roll and Rockabilly.
In the 1960s, a lot of British bands like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Beatles, recreated elements of American Blues and Rock & Roll generating a cross-influence between the US and the UK and bring Rock back to popularity. During that decade, Rock expanded the use of the electric guitar with different guitar effects, the use of heavier riffs and more experimental solos.
Since then, Rock has become extensively and internationally popular, evolving into different subgenres depending on the different elements that have been emphasized by the artists. A raw, straightforward attitude and way of playing, along with a counterculture aesthetic shaped Punk Rock. The use of guitar distortion and a more aggressive sound led to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. The use of keyboards, the combination of guitar scales, melodic progressions and tempo changes into complex compositions led to Progressive Rock. A very fast way of playing led to Speed Metal and Thrash Metal. These only show a couple of examples of how different elements were emphasized, but Rock has also combined with other genres, instruments and influences to expand its boundaries, hence Folk Rock, Funk Rock, Blues Rock and other subgenre terms have become widely used.