Difference Between Rock and Blues (With Table)

Rock and blues songs have a lot in common. But it’s not because both were created practically simultaneously, but mostly because they employ equipment, beats, and instruments that are quite similar. Even though one type of rock could sound too distinct from several of the blues variations, there are still many distinctions between the two types of music.

This article highlights the differences between rock and blues using descriptive pointers and a table as well so the next time you plug in your earphones, you could recognize what genre that song really belongs to!

Rock vs Blues

The difference between rock and blues is their origin and spread throughout the world. Blues was born in the United States alone, whereas rock was established and spread in both the United Kingdom and the United States. A rock band, unlike today’s modern blues ensembles, usually consists of four people. One performs acoustic/ usually electric guitar, some other bass guitar, and the third is the primary drummer and, of course, the lead vocalist.

Blues is liberal country music that originated in the South and was produced by African-Americans in the early twentieth century. Even by the 1960s, the blues’ basic yet powerful forms had become one of the greatest main influences on the evolution of popular American music, including jazz, r&b music, pop, and western Rock music. Although instrumental backing is nearly common in the blues, it is primarily a vocal genre. Blues artists convey sentiments rather than explain tales in their songs, which are poetic rather than narrative.

Rock, often known as, rock & roll is a prominent music genre that first gained popularity in the 1950s. It is possible however by the start of the 20th century, rock had established itself as the world’s dominating genre of mainstream music.

It began in the 1950s in the United States, expanded to those other British nations and across the European continent in the 1960s, and by the 1990s, its worldwide effect was clear. The global entertainment industry’s organization mirrored rock’s economic prominence at the time.

Comparison Table Between Rock and Blues

Parameters of ComparisonRockBlues
DefinitionRock is “a genre of music with a powerful rhythm,” it’s tough to be more specific. Blues is a liberal country music that originated in the South and was produced by African-Americans in the early twentieth century.
OriginRock originated in the United Kingdom and the United States.Blues was born in the United States and spread throughout the European continent.
Chord RhythmsRock have only three chords and also modern rock subgenres have 4.5 chord cyclesBlues uses 12-bar blues chord cycles.
Influenced ByRock and Roll and Electric Blues.Blues music roots towards Afro-American folk songs
Famous ArtistsThe Rolling Stones, Linkin Park, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Nirvana, etc.John Lee Hooker, BB king, Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, etc.

What is Rock?

Rock interpretations are difficult to come by, not only since the word has diverse connotations in British and American utilizations. Although everyone agrees that rock is “a genre of music with a powerful rhythm,” it’s tough to be more specific.

A Rock music group or ensemble usually consists of four people. One performs guitar, another lead guitar, usually electric or bass, and the other is the primary drummer and naturally, the lead vocalist.

3 chords are considered to be all that exists in genuine rock. The power chord is one, the underlying rhythm is another, and the usage of an enticing song is the third. However, since rock music has changed over time, many modern rock genres contain 4 and a half harmonic repeats. Paradoxically, among the most prevalent characteristics of Jazz and blues is the usage of 12-bar blues advancements in chords.

In the late 1950s, Elvis Presley, a Nashville, Tennessee native, symbolized a new style of Rhythm and American beats. Rock & roll had been a riff style with a powerful (though free) rhythm that pulled evenly from African American and Southern American cultures, as well as blues. The physical movement of rock artists, back and forth through the United States, across the North Atlantic, and throughout Europe, expresses (and is mirrored in) the melodic eclecticism of the band.

What is Blues?

In the late 1800s, African-Americans in the U.S invented blues music, which grew in popularity during the 1900s. It refers to a musical genre, a method of expressing musical ideas, many musical traditions that originated in the United States and have since spread around the world, as well as a feeling.

The English term “blue devils” was used in the late nineteenth century to describe the disturbing visions caused by acute alcohol intoxication. Specific jazzy chords, a strolling bass, answer and response, discordant harmonics, rhythms, syncopated rhythms, and flattened ‘blue’ notes are all common elements of blues music. Atonal blues is characterized by notes that fall between the semitones of a standard keyboard. On a musical instrument, this is frequently accomplished by using a metal slide to create a screeching effect. As a result, blues can have a lot of chromatic content.

The blues is a form of music defined by emotive “harmonically” pitch intonations (blue sounds), a three-line literary verse of the pattern AAB, and a 12-measure structure. Each line probably has 2 and a half beats of singing, followed by measurement and a half of orchestral “break” that echoes, responds, or compliments the vocal track.

Main Differences Between Rock and Blues

  1. Rock was born in the United Kingdom and the United States whereas Blues originated in the United States only.
  2. Rock music focuses on beats, influential lyrics and strong chords whereas Blues music needs more rhythm strings and is similar to country songs.
  3. Rock roots its history towards Rock and Roll and Electric Blues whereas Blues music roots into the Afro-American folk music.
  4. Rock music consists of chords and lyrics only whereas Blues is considered to be richer with respect to melodic components, instruments used and lyrics composed.
  5. Rock is believed to have only three chords, and also modern rock subgenres have 4.5 chord cycles whereas Blues uses 12-bar blues chord changes.


Rock and blues are unquestionably the foundations as to what we currently refer to as musical songs. They’ve gone a long way since their inception and have grown to the point where they’ve stamped their shadow on the majority of the tracks we listen to today and are slowly changing music throughout the globe.

Putting morphological characteristics aside, it’s more important to consider how both genres vary in terms of effect and style. To note, blues has had a significant impact on nearly all popular music. Rock, on the other hand, established a mystique by breaking the traditional norm at the time of its inception.


  1. https://blog.metromusicmakers.com/blog/what-is-blues-music
  2. https://www.britannica.com/art/rock-music/Crucial-rock-musicians
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