Virtually every community in the world has some tradition of music.
Some musical traditions are on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, but many that do not make that list are also important or interesting, at least to some people.
There are arguments about how to categorize music, but there are some commonly accepted genres:
- Folk music is created and survives through local tradition. There is also an "urban folk" style, fusing folk, popular and other types of music, which was developed starting around the 1960s in various places, including the United States and Latin American countries.
- Western classical music has been written down in Europe since no earlier than the 9th century CE, though it had already existed for some time before that. It is roughly divided by period, between the Middle Ages (5th-early 15th century), Renaissance (early 15th-early 17th century), Baroque (late 16th-mid 18th century), the Classical period (early 18th-early 19th centuries), Romantic (19th and early 20th centuries) and contemporary (20th and 21st centuries). Western classical music spread to other continents through colonization and immigration from Europe and cultural exchange, and now exists throughout the world, though it is not uniformly distributed.
- Non-Western classical music, in various places including the Arab world (Middle East and (North Africa) and Turkey, Iran, Central Asia (e.g., Bukhara), the Indian Subcontinent (with distinct though related Hindustani [Northern Indian, including Pakistan and Bangladesh] and Carnatic [Southern Indian] traditions), Myanmar, Indonesia (with Central Javanese and Balinese styles particularly famous), Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea; some of these have used own forms of notation.
- Popular music is made for a mainstream, contemporary audience.
- World music combines different musical traditions.
- Jazz is a type of music that originally arose among African-Americans and Creoles in New Orleans in the early 20th century and has since gone through several style changes and become international.