In music theory what is a music pattern as it relates to style? Here is a quote I got from this website to help one get my question about style... and the use of "musical pattern. " "Style refers to characteristic features of how music (of a certain era, or within some particular genre) is played or expected to sound, i.e. its actual musical content - the set of expected "musical patterns", mannerisms, expressive devices it conventionally makes use of" comment made under "In music what's the difference between genre and style."

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    Is this a homework question?
    – mkorman
    May 20, 2020 at 15:11
  • @mkorman no it's not
    – user69656
    May 20, 2020 at 16:20
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    You need to give more context. Where did you see such a reference to a "pattern" and "style" ... in a book, web page, video...? May 21, 2020 at 20:47
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    @piiperi Reinstate Monica I changed my question, hopes this helps.
    – user69656
    May 22, 2020 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


A pattern is anything whose form repeats.

It's hard to talk about nearly anthing in music without a pattern being involved. Meter itself is a pattern, so if you are dealing with metered music - which is a lot of music - it's patterned.

A more obvious example is a harmonic pattern. In pop music the chords I V vi IV is a common pattern repeated over and over to accompany a song.

A lot of style elements come down to rhythmic/harmonic patterns. In country music a common pattern is the bass playing chord roots and fifths in quarter notes in common time. Descriptions of accompaniment patterns like that are important for defining a style. But patterns can involve other musical elements. It all depends on the particular style of music.


First off let me say that a music pattern can be any number of things when applied generally to music, but since you stated " as it relates to style", I will point out something such as a rhythm which is commonly used in a particular genre of music such as Reggae, or maybe a common number of bars that may be used such as the twelve bar Blues. Some might say a particular time signature might be a music pattern such as 3/4 is commonly called a waltz. In any event, a pattern in music can be defined as a repetitious characteristic that different styles of music might employ.


A musical pattern is a type of pattern seen in the sheet music. For example, one type of a musical pattern is sequence. Sequence is when you play a motive, then you play it a whole step or a half step above.

Here is an example of sequence: enter image description here

Another type of a musical pattern is imitation: where the treble clef or the bass clef play a phrase and the other clef imitates it:

enter image description here

Another type of pattern is ostinato. Ostinato is a repeated phrase or pattern: enter image description here

Another type, similar to the last is pedal point. Where a note (usual in the bass) is continually repeated or held:

enter image description here

I hope that helped! Let me know if have any questions.

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