New Orleans Musical Styles

It is said that in New Orleans, culture bubbles up from the streets. Nowhere is this more evident than in the music scene.  You'll know it when you come across a street performance that rivals any ticketed show you've seen.  Or when you find yourself inspired to sway, clap and move like never before.

The city is the birthplace of jazz and a mecca for gospel, R&B and ultimately, the rock and pop we love today.  We aren't exaggerating when we say that a wholly original spirit of creativity and musical magic is alive on the streets and in the clubs of New Orleans.  Experience unbelievable live musical performances in venues from swank lounges to tiny honky tonks to mega concerts in places like the New Orleans Arena.

New Orleans is one big stage. Come and play your part.


The instruments: trumpet, trombone, drums, saxophone, sousaphone, and tuba.
 The Sound:  A mix of a classic, European-style military music infused with funky, African influence, brass can easily slip from traditional jazz standards to Michael Jackson in no time flat.  You're likely to see locals break into "buck jumpin", a style of dance with bouncy, intricate footwork.  It's harder than it looks, but lot's of fun to practice!

The Instruments: piano, sometimes accompanied by brass instrument.
The Sound: With its jingly piano and springy rhythm, this lively music may evoke mental images of old-time saloons.

The Instruments: trumpet, trombone, clarinet, tuba, guitar, banjo, upright bass, drums.  
The Sound: Considered the first form of jazz music, this genre combines ragtime and brass band marches with the free spirited component of improvisation.

The Instruments: fiddles, accordion, triangle, guitars, and keyboard.  
The Sound: With a basic rhythm and staccato-style notes, this dance music lends itself to waltzes and two-steps and is commonly heard at festivals and dance halls.

The Instruments: fiddles, accordion, rub board, bass guitar, and drums.  The Sound: This folksy, American-roots genre originated in southwest Louisiana.  It's a fast paced dance music where in rural areas the lyrics are still sung in Creole French.

The Instruments: violin, acoustic guitar, clarinet, accordion, bass, and brass.  
The Sound: This distinct genre has a lilting feeling, which comes from a special form of rhythmic guitar strumming called "la pompe".  You're most likely to hear this style of music on the streets of New Orleans- especially on Royal, Decatur and Frenchmen Street.

The Sound: Fast paced, upbeat form of New Orleans hip hop.  Characterized by call and response, Mardi Gras Indian music and dance call outs.