Individual Sounds can characterize a song, a style or a whole genre. For example, the sound of a distorted power chord played by an electric guitar stands for the Rock or Heavy Metal genre. The Roland TR 808 (drum machine) bass drum sound stands for electronic dance music.
As a working title, such sounds can be called 'cult sounds', because they hold a 'signature' or 'iconic' status.
Apart from these sounds (see below), there are others which are not as iconic but still signifying for certain time periods or genres. Learn about those significant sounds here.
TAP to hear a sample