Creating Playlists | Music Index

Explore popular Artists and Songs throughout the 20th century Organized by Genre

Discovering the music most loved by someone in your care is at the heart of personalized music program. Use this website to explore artists and songs based on the listener's favorite types of music.


Explore Jazz

Popular jazz artists include Cole Porter, BB King, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Rick James, Bob Marley, the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, and Luther Vandross.


Explore Pop Music

Pop music artists include Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Neil Diamond , Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, and Prince.

Jazz Music

Jazz originated in New Orleans around the beginning of the 20th century. It is characterized by unexpected rhythms, ensembles of various rhythm, woodwind, brass, and string instruments, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre. Jazz spans multiple decades and there are many different sub-genres and artists.


Ragtime Jazz

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Ragtime Jazz is a style of early jazz music written largely for the piano in the early twentieth century, characterized by jaunty rhythms and a whimsical mood. Ragtime Jazz includes artists such as Scott Joplin, Tom Turpin, and Scott Hayden.

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20's & 30's Jazz

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Jazz in the 20's and 30's was characterized by the hybrid of African and European influence. From African influence, jazz got its rhythm and traditions of improvisation. From European influence, jazz got its harmony and instruments. Popular 20's / 30's Jazz artists include Cole Porter, Ethel Merman, and George Gershwin.



Sample Popular Artists and Songs

The blues form is a cyclic musical form in which a repeating progression of chords mirrors the call and response scheme commonly found in African and African-American music. Blues music includes artists such as Stevie Ray Vaugn, Blues Traveler, and BB King.

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Jazz Instrumental

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Instrumental jazz originated during the 1930's when swing music and jazz bands became popular. It gave individual musicians a chance to "solo" and improvise melodic, thematic solos. Popular artists include Miles Davis, Louie Armstrong, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.

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Jazz Vocals

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Jazz Vocals music is characterized by an instrumental approach to the voice, where the singer can match the instruments in their stylistic approach to the lyrics, improvised or otherwise. Popular artists include Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Bobby McFerrin, and Edith Piaf.



Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. It was a music style that was strongly influenced by traditional Jamaican folk music, as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues,  led by the drum and bass.



Disco / Funk Music

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Disco is a musical style originating in the early 1970s. It is a up tempo dance music that is characterized by a four-on-the-floor drum style, bass guitar that drives rhythm, a variety of orchestral arrangements, and vocals with reverb. Popular artists include Donna Summers, Bee Gees, and Rick James.



Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Motown is an upbeat style of ryhthm and blues associated with the city of Detroit and characterized by compact, danceable arrangements. Popular artists include Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Diana Ross, and the Jackson 5. 


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Smooth Jazz

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Smooth jazz is a genre of music that grew out of jazz and is influenced by rhythm and blues, funk, rock and roll, and pop music styles. Popular artists include Kenny G, Vince Guaraldi, Dave Koz, and Chris Botti.



Soul Music / R&B

Sample Popular Artists and Songs

Soul Music is a kind of music incorporating elements of rhythm and blues and gospel music, characterized by an emphasis on vocals and an impassioned improvisatory delivery. Popular artists include Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Lionel Richie, Arethra Franklin, Ray Charles, and Etta James.

Pop Music

Pop music is a category of music that appeals to a general audience, rather than to a particular sub-culture or ideology. Identifying factors include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), as well as common use of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks. Pop music was originally defined by the 1950's crooners but later expanded to include sub-sub-genre such as easy listening and 80's pop.