Russia is a large and extremely culturally diverse country, with dozens of ethnic groups, each with their own forms of music. During the period of Soviet domination, music was highly scrutinized and kept within certain boundaries of content and innovation. After the fall of the USSR, western-style rock and pop music became the most popular musical forms in Russia. Some native artists broke through.
Russia has a long history of classical music innovation. The first important Russian composer was Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), who added religious and folk elements to classical compositions. Russian Rock.
In the 1910s romances (in exotic Russian, Caucasian, Gypsy and Italian styles) became very popular. The greatest and most popular singers of romances usually sang in operas at the same time. The most popular was Fyodor Shalyapin. Singers usually composed music and wrote the lyrics, such as Alexander Vertinsky, Konstantin Sokolsky, Pyotr Leshchenko. Musically and structurally based on romances are the bard songs (starting in the 60's) and the criminal songs. The bard genre can be compared to the American folk-revival movement of the 60's, closer to poetry than music. Artists like Bulat Okudzhava, Alexander Galich and Vladimir Vysotskiy all wrote their own songs, and the recordings were distributed underground.
Many underground rock bands arose during late 1970s: Mashina Vremeni, Aquarium, Autograph, Center.
During Perestroika rock music became mainstream. Popular bands of that time include Kino, Alisa, Aria, DDT, Nautilus Pompilius, Sektor Gaza, Grazhdanskaya Oborona, Secret.
DDT, Aria and Alisa are still active today and are very popular with the modern youth.
The quantity of music projects in modern Russia is enormous.
Middle 90's showed decline for Russian rock due to economic problems, changes in mentality and mass media reorientation.
Still, there are many popular rock bands including, Mumiy Troll, Pilot, Zemfira, Splean and many still-functioning 80's bands such as Mashina Vremeni, Akvarium, DDT, Grazhdanskaya Oborona, Alisa, Piknik.