There are many music genres but yet many artists seemed to also have carved out a specific sound or style within their genres. Bands from The Pet Shop Boys to Bon Jovi have a signature sound to their musical style. Although some musicians such as The Cardigans do not like to pigeonhole their sound to a particular style or genre, you can still hear the unmistaken signature voice of Nina Persson. As an aspiring musician, you may wonder how you can develop your personal music style. And you may wonder if it is necessary to have a signature sound.
How do you define a musical style?
There is no definitive meaning to a musical style. A musical style can be how a musician expresses his or her particular music sound using a specific technique in melody, harmony and rhythm. It can also mean the musical genre, which usually determines the nature of the sound made by a piece of music.
Different music genres include rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop and other hybrid genres. The kind of music genre you produce depends on which category of music you are drawn towards. Or, you can even explore creating your own music genre.
What music genre and songs draw your interest?
One way to begin is to pick out the music genres that you are drawn to. The way to do it is to expose yourself to different genres of music. You want to be familiar with the different music genres so that you can produce one style within an existing genre, or even within a mixed genre.
After understanding and picking the music genre you resonate with, you can move on to listening to the songs that you absolutely love to the ones you totally dislike. Start dissecting why you love some songs while detesting some others. Which component draws you in? Is it the composition, the lyrics, melody or the rhythm? This helps you clarify the music style that you are inspired by.
Doing this will help you discover your signature sound. At the start, you can try adapting sounds from musicians you love and even playing songs you dislike and changing the rhythm to something you like. It helps you open your mind to creative possibilities.
Discovering through trial and error
To work on your musical style requires patience to work through many trials and errors. You may have to cover many hundreds of songs or perform many times until you start to create your own style. It is normal to test and try and fail again and again until you find the style that suits you. Don’t let what others like or dislike to listen get to you.
Creating what the mass market likes does not come from inspiration but is a mechanical creation to please others. Listeners can discern the intention behind your music. No one starts out immediately as a great musician straight away, except for proteges who are few and far between.
It is not necessary to confine yourself to one music genre. You can create a signature sound that can translate across many genres. This helps listeners identify you as a unique artist. Be experimental, be open-minded and create from the depth of your heart.
Other factors for success like marketing come later. Right now, getting comfortable with the genres and sounds you like and creating your own sounds, is what makes you stand apart from others who may be trying to create a sound to please the mass market.