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Difference Between Alternative and Rock

Alternative vs Rock

Alternative and rock are two different musical genres. Alternative can be called as a sub genre of rock. Though it is a sub genre, the two musical forms have several differences.

Rock can be called as a classical form of music and Alternative is only a variation of this classical form.

Rock music became famous in the 1960s. The Rock has its roots in the Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll and Country Music that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s. Classical music, Jazz and folk music had also influenced Rock.

It was only in the 1980s that Alterative gained popularity. This musical genre has its origins in United Kingdom and United States. Alternative music was influenced by the Rock music itself and its other genres like Hardcore punk, Punk Rock, New Wave and Post Punk.

The musical instruments used in both Rock and Alternative is similar but the music that they make is different. When comparing the music, Rock is hardcore music and Alternative is not that much hardcore.

Though Rock and Alternative music genre gives out good rhythm, the former one has a stronger rhythm. Other characteristics of Rock include guitar riffs, singable melodies and simple accompaniment. The sounds in alternative music ranges from the gloomy sounds of the gothic rock to the dirty guitars of the grunge. Another point that should have to be noticed is that during the 1970s, the lyrics of Alternative addressed a lot of social issues, which increased its popularity.

When compared to Rock, Alternative was considered non-commercial. The Alternative was called underground music or college music or college rock. It was called so as the music was more linked to the college students and their taste.

Summary

  1. Rock can be called as a classical form of music and Alternative is only a variation of this classical form.
  2. Rock music became famous in the 1960s. It was only in the 1980s that Alterative gained popularity.
  3. The Rock has its roots in the Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll and Country Music that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s. Classical music, Jazz and folk music had also influenced Rock.
  4. Alternative music was influenced by the Rock music itself and its other genres like Hardcore punk, Punk Rock, New Wave and Post Punk.
  5. When comparing the music, Rock is hardcore music and Alternative is not that much hardcore.


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3 Comments

  1. “When comparing the music, Rock is hardcore music and Alternative is not that much hardcore”

    Wha?

    That term “hardcore” needs to be identified as to its usage here. The term had been previously used in this section when referring to a sub-genre of punk influencing alternative [” Alternative music was influenced by the Rock music itself and its other genres like Hardcore punk”], and i feel hardcore is actually an early sub-genre of alternative. So how is rock hardcore but alternative not so much?
    I assume the term is being used in a different manner here. If so, I still think it is wrong. If Rock is more commercial, then it would be less ‘hardcore’ in my opinion.

    • I agree. This article sounds like it was written by a teenager.

      The way I’ve heard this question answered before, is that alternative is a form of rock wherein you can hear the individual instruments and notes, as opposed to rock, where you would hear mostly chords and then maybe a few solos where there are individual notes played. For example, many of the Beatles’ songs would be considered rock in their genre, as opposed to the Beach Boys, who would be more of the alternative style. Looking at the song “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, versus “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, the Beatles use many chords, whereas the Beach Boys pick out the melodies on their guitars for the interludes and verses. There is also some ambiguity as far as what “is alternative,” versus what isn’t.

  2. The difference is something that you can only tell by listening to the music itself.

    This comes from the Sega forums and looks like the best break down of the differences that people say and someone’s responses.

    http://forums.sega.com/showthread.php?472879-Battle-of-Rock-quot-Straight-quot-Rock-vs-quot-Alternative-quot-Rock

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