What is Reggae Music?

By | April 10, 2021


Reggae music developed from traditional Caribbean and African music combined with American rhythm and blues. In the late 1960s, the musical form grew from styles of ska and rocksteady.


Reggae musicians play the style in 4/4 time, but sometimes they use a jazz-influenced shuffle time. Harmoniously, reggae s usually simplified, repetitive chord structures create an almost hypnotic effect. Bass lines drive the majority of the music and accentuate highly effective snare hits. Guitars usually play only one or two rhythmic chords. Additional music provided by backup singers, horns and keyboards balances the rest of the music. Prime examples of this are ‘I shot the sheriff’ and ‘Jammin’. ‘


The true reggae sound developed in the 1960s. A number of musicians such as Bunny Lee, Clancy Eccles and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry released tracks that were capitalized on reggae.

Famous ties

Perhaps the most famous reggae musicians The Wailers presented a number of different musicians, most notably Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.


A number of different types of reggae devloped over time, including skinhead reggae, roots reggae, dub, lovers rock, rockers, dancehall, reggaeton and reggae fusion. Many of these styles use rap and hip hop features as well.

Rastafarian Culture

Strongly associated with the Rastafarian culture, reggae’s lyrics have many references to religion. A number of late 1970s reggae artists were converted to the Rastafarian movement, motivating many fans to do the same. Reggae was developed in Jamaica in the 1960s, and has a dynamic style. Strongly characterized by an off-beat rhythm, and reggae accentuates second and fourth beats. A number of different musicians established the reggae genre, in particular Bob Marley. Reggae developed into a larger musical form with a number of different subgenres.