Comparison of musical styles

It's interesting and informative to look at the rhythm, melody and harmony in different eras of music. By necessity this table is very simplified.

Any aspiring player of Rock and Pop music can only benefit from seeing his/her art form in it's historical context and being able to perform at least a few excerpts from each era of music.

My own background started with performing the music of Zeppelin, Purple, Cream etc. Over the decades since I have played just about everything but never totally lost sight of my roots and the reason I was attracted to guitar in the first place - the styles of the classic English rock/blues players.

A table comparing Medieval - Baroque - Classical - Pop and Rock music in terms of melody, harmony and rhythm.

There are common threads running from the middle ages, through the Baroque and Classical, and 20th century musics. Rock styles are a particular expression of folk music, but the string playing techniques they use go way back in time.

  Medieval Baroque Classical Pop and Rock
Rhythm Jigs and Reels Instrumentals based on Dances e.g. Jig, Bouree, Sarabande Simplified and stylised Dance Rhythms. European Courtly Dances e.g. Minuet Dance Rhythms - Shuffle, very sophisticated syncopations e.g. Funk, R'n'B
Rhythm Major and minor scales, flattened leading tone
Major and minor scales
Major and minor scales
Major and minor scales, Pentatonic folk scales, Vocal styles emphasising an ambiguous 3rd scale degree and a flattened leading tone
Rhythm Triadic, Dominant Sevenths
Triadic, Dominant Sevenths with Flattened ninth (diminished 7th sounds)
Triadic and Sevenths
Triadic and Sevenths, Blues progressions with dominant 7th sounds on tonic, subominant and dominant.