I have been asked quite a couple of times, in how many music genres I have tried to write songs. I call myself a multi-genre songwriter and composer for a reason, but it has been very hard to give a number. I decided to start a list with different examples that will be maintained regularly.
My comfort zone
Being a multi-genre songwriter is hard. You find inspiration everywhere, that you’re constantly dropped out of your comfort zone. Let’s talk, what is easy for me in different roles. Please note that some genres are in brackets, because I cannot enjoy them for personal reasons. This list is from June 2023.
As a producer / mixing engineer, I love upbeat and moody music. I enjoy hard drums, heavy guitar riffs and multiple styles of vocals. It’s easy for me to mix a dense arrangement with vocals, guitars, piano, bass and drums. I used to enjoy heavy electronic music, but I’m taking a break from this right now. Don’t bother me with soft and sparse arrangements.
Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Blues Rock, Punk Rock, (Electro House), (Hard Trance), (Epic Trance)
As a composer, I have tons of fun with heavy melancholic and complex music. I’m a big fan of weird chord progressions and modulations, which is best in progressive genres. But I also do pop music, when I’m allowed to escape the usual 4 chord scheme. I’m still taking a break from electronic music.
Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Pop Ballad, (Progressive Trance), (Epic Trance)
As a lyricist, I enjoy writing heavy lyrics and diving into shady characters. I don’t mind strong language or complicated words. Storytelling ain’t my thing, so I have issues with country and singer-songwriter. My way to write is quite straight and direct – I am not a poet! I only write in English.
Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, Pop Rock, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock
My skills as an instrumentalist are inferior, so I have to rely on mid-tempo songs with easy progressions. I hope that I can catch up on that soon and try new genres. My playing is heavy, so I won’t be the best choice for slow emotional music. Pop rock is easy on piano, but I’m discovering the blues on my acoustic guitar. I’d like to play heavy stuff, so I hope I can get an electric guitar soon.
Pop Rock, Pop, Blues, Hard Rock
As a listener, I love heavy, fast, complex and melancholic music. This could be literally everything, but I don’t enjoy electronic dance music right now.
Djent, Metalcore, Progressive Metal, Nu Metal, Symphonic Metal, Folk Metal, Industrial Metal, Grunge, Stoner Rock, Indie Rock, Blues Rock, Swing, (Aggrotech), (Future Pop), (Electro House), (Epic Trance), (Hard Trance), (Dubstep), (Trap)
This is NOT for me – neither as listener, musician nor producer:
Experimental, Ambient, Chill Out, New Age, Synthwave, Retrowave, Future Bass, Hardstyle, Gabber, Future House, Classical (especially baroque), Neoclassical (exept metal), Mumble Rap, Funk, Reggae, Reggaeton, Grindcore
A brief overview
My list is very long, because I tried many genres. So I decided to write it down as a table. The left column is filled with an emoji, how I feel about trying this genre again. The digit tells the number of finished songs or remixes. Some songs are not online yet, which is why I wrote the numbers in brackets. The links go to YouTube, Bandcamp or SoundCloud, where you can listen to a sample.
How to interpret the emojis:
😄 = I love it and want to do more.
😊 = I will try again, when I have ideas.
😥 = I keep on trying, but I haven’t succeeded yet.
😔 = I gave up, because it hasn’t caught me.
😕 = Never again.
I started writing electronic music in 1998 and producing in 2003. I have tried over 30 subgenres of electronic music and figured out that my home base is trance. Most trance related genre were easy for me, but I struggled really hard in genres that need sound design or rhythm. Electronic music is in hiatus, because I don’t have fun listening, writing nor producing.
|😕||Acid Techno||2||Acid Orbit||Techno made me shift my focus from melodies to sounddesign and automation. Though succeeding with two songs I don’t feel well in that genre.|
|😔||Acid Trance||4||Fruchtsäure||However, combining acid techno with trance has been easier for me. Adding melodies is a game changer for me, but I won’t produce this genre on my own.|
|😊||Aggrotech||1||All Hallow’s Eve||It has been fun to produce this genre, but it was harder than expected. Whenever I have a simple melody, I will try again.|
|😕||Ambient||1||Ambience||I’m not calm and patient enough to enjoy ambient and chill out. That’s not for me.|
|😕||Ballearic Trance||1||Yesterday’s Past||I never planned to write something in this genre, because I don’t like it.|
|😕||Big Room||1||Destination||Today’s edm music is full of festival and big room. You need simple melodies and heavy drops. Both is a challenge for me. Besides, I don’t like this genre.|
|😔||Chill Out||2||Deep Heart||It took a while to produce a chill out song. Same as ambient, the focus lies on sounddesign. I love the result, but I cannot imagine doing this all the way.|
|😕||Classic Trance||14||World’s Future||After producing trance with the sounds of he 90s and 00s for 15 years, it’s getting boring. It has been very simple for me, but not again, please!|
|😕||Dance||6||Hold Me Tight||Starting with dance music, I realized, that I shift towards trance. So I gave up after 3 years.|
|😕||Deep House||/||/||Major props for sounddesigners. It is very hard to make textures, blips and cuts sound harmonic and cool. I lost my patience.|
|😔||Dream House||1||Moonlight||I often feel like dream house and classic trance a connected. I can produce this, but I don’t like to, because it’s closer to ambient.|
|😥||Drum & Bass||/||/||Well, I was not able to program the charismatic beat with a simple bass. Maybe I try again someday, but not now.|
|😥||Dubstep||2||/||I like the hard wobble in dubstep, but I didn’t expect the synths to be so hard to program. Rhythmic issues followed. I succeed remixing something, but I am not allowed to upload.|
|😊||Electro House||5||Neotokyo||After leaving trance, electro house became my second home. I can go heavier and go crazy with the bassline. It’s a good style to remix, but songwriting is hard.|
|😥||Electro Industrial||1||Liminal Spaces||Well, I tried it a couple of times, but I had issues in sounddesign. Some songs have an influence.|
|😥||Electro Swing||(1)||/||Electro swing uses plenty of old samples with house beats. I am not a big fan of sampling, so I want to write the swing arrangement by myself. This is what makes this genre hard. I am still trying!|
|😄||Epic Trance||11||Adagio of Life||I was so glad when I found that niche in trance music. My only possibility to write weird chord progressions and gigantic arrangements in electronic music. It’s still hard for me to write the orchestral part. On hiatus.|
|😕||Goa Trance||/||/||It’s been okay to program arpeggios and bass, but I don’t feel goa and psy.|
|😊||House||2||Lost Letter||I never expected that house is connected to soul music. If you don’t feel it, you won’t create a cool groove. I need good vocals and someone (or a library) to help me with the drums, otherwise it won’t groove.|
|😄||Hard Trance||7||Dream of You||Oh yes, I enjoyed rocking out! A genre I like to continue when I have simple melodies.|
|😊||Indietronica||4||Dystopia||It’s never been my aim to connect pop with idm and trance, but I did a couple of these. And it worked. It’s nothing I could do intentionally.|
|😊||Rock House||2||It Only Takes A Miracle||I love rock – I love house – But getting a good riff is harder than expected. This may happen again whenever I have a cool riff – But only with real guitars, please.|
|😕||Uplifting Trance||25||Breathing Rush||Instruments and melodies were just in my dna, but I cannot listen to this genre anymore. If I ever do trance again, I’ll continue on epic, progressive and hard trance.|
|😊||Progressive Trance||9||Lightyears Away||Sidechain compression made me produce this genre more often than expected. And I loved it. And now I don’t like it anymore.|
|😕||Tech House||3||Promenade||This has been very hard, because I have no idea of sounddesign. The songs I wrote here were just experimenting with knobs.|
|😕||Tech Trance||4||Transitional||However, combining experimental techno with trance has been easier than house. But it’s nothing I’d do again.|
|😥||Trap||1||Weight||Trap is full of sounddesign. But I didn’t succeed in writing a song, … but I write a hybrid with pop and rock.|
|😊||Trip Hop||5||She Believes||This seems to be my go to genre, when I try downtempo. I have no idea why, cause I never intended.|
Pop & Hip Hop
I started composing and writing pop music in 2001, but only around 2005 I was able to collaborate and produce. I need vocalists and guitarists to realize these projects. This is why I see myself as composer, but I also produce and write lyrics. I love big arrangements and acoustic instruments.
|😥||Art Pop||/||/||What I like about art pop is the openess to weird scales and sounds. I tried it often, but I have trouble with sounddesign.|
|😊||Ballad Pop||5||A.L.E.X.||I usually don’t listen to ballads, but they are easy to write. I have a knack for melodramatic melodies.|
|😥||Country||(1)||/||I’d really love to try country, when I am able to play guitar a bit better, but it is tricky.|
|😥||Contemporary RnB||/||/||The modern version of rnb is not my favourite genre, but I just had to try it. I wrote a beat and a chorus… and now I’m stuck.|
|😔||Dance Pop||1||Dancing||In the beginning of the 2000s, I listened to dance pop – but I don’t like to produce it. My melodies and harmonies are not happy enough. I enjoyed it more than pure dance.|
|😥||Folk||1||tba||I always wanted to understand why acoustic guitarists love this genre. I had a hard time striping my arrangement down, but I will produce this to the very end.|
|😥||Future Pop||/||/||I wish I could produce this, but I fail! That is strange, because future pop is connected to trance music.|
|😊||Gothic Pop||2||Seven Days To Live||Dark, soothing, melancholic pop music with a bit of electro. Just my thing.|
|😔||Hip-Hop||2||Darker||Programming beats has been much harder than I expected. I wrote a couple of raps, but nobody was able to turn them into a song, so I trashed them. I won’t continue unless I have a great idea.|
|😊||Indie Pop||1||Going My Way||I never intended to try this but I liked it. Even more than folk.|
|😊||Pop||5||Promises||Writing pop music is quite easy for me, but my tendencies go to adding a touch of rock. Pop with synthesizers and synthetic beats is hard for me.|
|😥||Pop Punk||2||When I’m Gone||I love to produce and arrange pop punk, but I have troubles writing and recording the guitar parts. So my band did most of the songwriting, but I’m sketching some own stuff.|
|😄||Pop Rock||4||Don’t tell me if it hurts||What I like about pop rock is the possibility to use simple hooklines in a rock arrangement. This genre is simple for me.|
|😄||Trance Pop||3||Daylight Means Endeavour||Some years ago, I figured out that trance around 100 BPM with a pop chorus sounds very pleasant. Maybe I end up here again?|
Rock & Metal
Since 2006, I love writing rock music. After a couple of years, the connection to metal has been given. My guitar playing and singing is not good enough to record the song on my own, so I am dependent on other musicians. I am mostly composer and producer here.
|😄||Alternative Rock||5||Haunted||Alternative rock became my second home genre. My songwriting has a lot of influence from grunge and pop. I love doing this.|
|😄||Alternative Metal||2||Wrench In The Works||I never wanted to write some alternative metal, but I loved it. Now I’m planning more compositions that cannot be put into any specific subgenre of metal.|
|😊||Classic Rock||1||Fight For You||Listening to old classic rock music helps, but I just didn’t get the vibe. My first idea worked – and I had tons of fun.|
|😥||Djent||1||Dorian Gray||I love listening to djent, but composing this without alternate tuned guitars is heavy. So happy that we found a band to turn this wicked idea into a song!|
|😊||Folk Metal||2||Pyromancer||Another genre, I didn’t plan and enjoyed. Medieval instruments are very inspiring. I don’t take myself serious but it’s fun to write. However, I need help on guitars.|
|😥||Grunge||/||/||I thin it’s impossible to write grunge without playing electric guitar. It’s all about the noise, mess and aggression. I will try again, when I learn how to play.|
|😕||Hardcore Punk||/||/||Hardcore punk is harder to write than punk rock because it’s very fast and has aggresive shouting. This is why I haven’t succceded in writing.|
|😥||Indie Rock||(1)||Magnetic Rose||I am influenced by indie rock music but I was not able to write a song sounding completely like this. Here is a song I produced, but didn’t write.|
|😥||Metalcore||(1)||tba||This is something new for me. We are recording a draft, but it needs some time. Hope it works.|
|😕||New Rave||/||/||Shortly after new rave has been born, I also had the idea to mix indie rock with rave. It is hard. Especially the drumming patterns are insane. I give up.|
|😄||Nu Metal||3||Where does it end?||Writing and producing nu metal is harder than alternative rock, but I’m trying to understand. Further songs in recording|
|😥||Power Metal||(1)||/||I love writing heroic lyrics, but I got no song that sounds typically power metal. Maybe “Pyromancer” is quite close to it. Does it count?|
|😥||Rock’n’Roll||(1)||tba||Another unintentional genre… and we will produce that sketch.|
|😥||Ska||(1)||The World’s Most Simplest Man||Well, I never planned to be involved in a ska song but it just happened. It’s been fun to arrange the brasses. I am not sure if I will create an own song.|
|😥||Stoner Rock||(1)||/||“Wrench In The Works” has been written as a desert rock song, that turned into metal during recording. Does it count?|
|😊||Symphonic Metal||(2)||tba||One of the hardest genres to write songs is symphonic metal. Bombastic arrangements are fun, and we are working on them.|
|😔||Synth Rock||4||Mr. Tumbleweed||Coming from electronic music and enjoying rock music it’s been quite obvious that I try to mix it. But it is harder than I expected. I need real guitars!|
|😊||Progressive Rock||1||Truth||Another very complex genre has been progressive rock. I loved writing the harmonies, but I often end up doing metal.|
|😊||Progressive Metal||4||At your command||Speaking ot this, I wrote lots of badass songs that are recorded now. I loved doing this.|
|😄||Post Grunge||3||Let Me Go||When I try to write alternative rock, I often end up in post grunge. It’s hard to write, because I’m mostly a pianist, but I really like it. I hope I can go this way as guitarist asap.|
|😊||Punk Rock||2||When I’m Gone||It’s fun to write punk rock, when I have a idea. But having a simple lick is a crucial point, cause I love going complex. Writing lyrics is no problem. I enjoy writing punk rock songs with my band, but doing them on my own is hard.|
Blues & Jazz
I must admit, that I never came to the idea of writing blues and jazz. I barely listen to this music, but it catches my interest. The more I speak about it, the more I want to try and understand.
|😔||Acid Jazz||/||/||I found this genre some time ago and I like this mix. I wish I could write something like this, but it seems to be hard.|
|😥||Boogie||(1)||tba||Yes, I have written a boogie on piano, and we are recording it now.|
|😊||Blues||2||Disco Blues||After a couple of years I start to get a rough idea about blues. I must admit that it is easier on the guitar than on piano, but it will take me some years to master.|
|😊||Blues Rock||2||Quarterlife Blues||It took me a long while to dive into the blues, and it only happened when I got my own guitar.|
|😥||Cool Jazz||1||Good Morning Blues||I would have never tried it if I didn’t enter that collaboration. It been fun to jam along, but I cannot imagine being the lead instrument or composing everything on my own.|
|😊||Dark Cabaret||(1)||tba||This was not planned and worked surprisingly well. We will record this!|
|😕||Funk||/||/||Sorry, the funk is not with me. It’s hard for me to feel this genre.|
|😔||Fusion||/||/||Kudos to everyone who tries. Maybe I dip a bit into it in a collaboration but no way I gonna start something on my own. I feel like I need more jazz standards to understand and feel it.|
|😔||R’n’B||/||/||Finding the right sounds is very hard for me. I get the groove and the vocal phrasing, but there is nothing nice I could show. I’m short before giving up.|
|😊||Soul||1||How Are You?||Yes, I ended up writing something soulful. The name of this genre is right – You have to feel it!|
|😊||Swing||2||Hero||I love this kind of music, and after a few years, I did something… maybe because I didn’t think about it.|
There are some other genres that are not connected to modern music. I am sure that this is not the kind of music I want to write or produce.
|😕||Soundtrack||(2)||/||Some years ago I have been asked to participate on a soundtrack for an independent horror movie. It has been interesting to deal with themes and soundscapes, but I gave up after a couple of weeks. It’s not my world, sorry.|
|😥||Symphonic||(2)||/||I dived deep into orchestral arrangements to write better epic trance songs. Two orchester versions were created, but I am not contented with the sound and arrangement. However, that deep dive helped me to open my mind for writing symphonic metal.|
Did you count along? No worries, if not, I succeeded writing and producing songs in roughly 40 genres. Most songs I produced were electronic dance music, but my songwriter soul is bored. Right now I feel best with rock and metal, but I lack of experience with guitar techniques. As instrumentalist, I have no idea where my journey may take me, but as songwriter I feel best in that square of pop – rock – metal – electro.