Compare and Contrast Musical Styles 

Many classrooms use a Venn diagram (two intersecting circles) to show how two things are alike and different. In this lesson, students use a Compare and Contrast Musical Styles Diagram to illustrate how various musical styles are alike and different.

Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works
Students listen to, analyze, and describe music

1. Discuss with students the various styles of music and composers and how they can be compared. Students can compare and contrast two different composers, musicians, or styles of music. For example, they can compare the Classical composer Mozart with the Romantic composer Beethoven students can compare and contrast two styles of music such as Jazz and Folk.
2. Students will use classroom resources such as CD-ROMs, books, tapes and biographies and online resources such as book marked music web sites, online encyclopedias and sites such as, Ask Jeeves to gather information on musical style.
3. Visit this site to learn about graphic organizers: Graphic Organizers
4. Visit this site to print out a Venn diagram: Venn Diagram
5. Create your own online Venn Diagram at:, click on Teacher Tools, then click on Graphic Organizer Generators- Venn
6. After gathering information, students will complete the Compare and Contrast Musical Styles Template
7. Example- Compare and Contrast Romantic Music

Alike: used same kinds of orchestral instruments such as strings, brass, woodwind and percussion; uses same names for works such as symphony and opera; rich patrons helped to support the composers; used conductors to guide the orchestra
Romantic music tells a story; music represents self-expression; influenced by nature and the country side; music is nationalistic
Classical music uses set forms  such as the sonata form; seeks perfections in form and content; sense of balance in music

Some types and styles of music:

Baroque music characterized by highly embellished melodies and fugal and contrapuntal forms; (ex.: J.S. Bach and Vivaldi)
Classical used  a basic three-part form, known as the first movement sonata form; this developed into the four part pattern of the sonata; the music conformed to certain standards of form and complexity; there was balance, simplicity and restraint (ex.: Mozart and Haydn)
Romantic a type of 18th and early 19th music that was a revolt against the the artistic, political and philosophical principals associated with classical music; this music has freedom of form and spirit, with an emphasis on feeling and originality and the personality of the artist himself with an interest in the nature, the East, and the common man (ex.: Chopin, Liszt, and Wagner)
Folk music made and handed down by the common people; the music is transmitted through general culture from one generation to the next (ex.: Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie)
Jazz music originally improvised, by now also arranged, characterized by syncopation, rubato, usually heavily accented rhythms, dissonances, individualized melodic variations and unusual tonal effects on the saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, trombone; it originated in New Orleans among African American musicians (ex.: Duke Ellington and Miles Davis)
Gospel a style of folk singing originally associated with evangelistic revival meetings; music having to do with the gospel  (the good story or good news from the Bible) or with evangelism (salvation by faith in the atonement of Jesus) (ex.: Mahalia Jackson)
Rock and Roll a form of popular music characterized by a strong and regular rhythm, which evolved from jazz and the blues (ex: Elvis Presley)
Blues African American folk music characterized by minor harmonies, with a slow tempo and melancholy words; a form of jazz evolved from this style (ex.: James P. Johnson and Bessie Smith)
Hip Hop Music that originated in the the Bronx, NY and developed in the last twenty years that represents a gang sub-culture of the USA; the music has components of rap, break dancing and graffiti; the music has layers of sounds with over voicing of a DJ or singer and use of electronic tracks combined and spliced in (ex.: Run- D.M.C. and Queen Latifah)

Book marked music web sites, various music CD-ROMs, Compare-Contrast Diagram

Student will be evaluated using Compare and Contrast Musical Styles Checklist

Extension Activity: Music Dictionary


Give students a few days to complete this assignment, for homework, have students listen to a type of musical event on TV, radio or online, such as a symphony, an opera, a concert, a musical...

Field Trip

Take students on a field trip to hear live music, such as the symphony, a ballet or other type of performance.