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If you could classify music into ten or fewer genres...
r0k
post Jul 22 2012, 08:17
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Wow, that's an interesting topic you unearthed here wink.gif
Musical classification is subject to MUCH discussion and i'm not sure it's possible to find one that pleases everyone, especially with so few genres. However, too many genres leads to confusion and unusable classifications so in this case, fewer is better.
Probably, a few genres further divided into sub-genres/styles (when using a good player able to read any tag usch as foobar2000 cool.gif ) is a good compromise between usabality and diversity.
Here is my personal "about a dozen" genres list.
  • Blues, Jazz
  • Classical (not to be confused with "old" of course)
  • Electronic (everything synth/sampler based, including disco, dance, new age ...)
  • Folk, World (european medieval, celtic, country music, traditional african or asian music, french "chanson" ... even if it's something recent)
  • Latino
  • Metal (metal has grown too big and too varied to be considered a single solid style under rock. Death metal, symphonic metal, gothic metal, power metal ... )
  • Rock (and all it's styles including "pop-rock")
  • Soundtrack (movies, video-games, Broadway ...)
  • Reggae (and many reated styles)
  • Soul, R&B (including children styles like hip-hop and rap)
  • Religious (no matter the religion)
  • Child music (i guess we need it)
I purposefully refused to use a "pop" genre because there is no one pop but many pops and they can all fit into other genres. Pop is mostly "mainstream" and as such there can be pop-rock, electro-pop, pop-folk ... The only "real" pop to me is pop-rock as popularised by bands such as the Beatles and this one obviously fits into Rock.
Of course, this is largely biased by my own musical preferences. Other people might not agree to make Metal a main genre but i really couldn't fit all my metal albums inside "Rock/Metal", i have too many, and they are way too diverse.

<dreamer mode on> happy.gif
It might be interesting to gather a "definitive" list of musical genres, and obviously can't be done by a single person. The musical classifications changes from site to site. While it's true that many artists don't really fit well inside a single genre/style. Most have a highly dominent style. It would be nice if every site/marketplace could use the same genres for the same artist
<dreamer mode off>
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ojdo
post Jul 22 2012, 17:45
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QUOTE (r0k @ Jul 22 2012, 15:17) *
<dreamer mode on> happy.gif
It might be interesting to gather a "definitive" list of musical genres, and obviously can't be done by a single person. The musical classifications changes from site to site. While it's true that many artists don't really fit well inside a single genre/style. Most have a highly dominent style. It would be nice if every site/marketplace could use the same genres for the same artist
<dreamer mode off>


<thinking type="wishful" mode="aloud">

Please go ahead an try to distill the "intersection" of all those lists:
</thinking>


I think discogs is closest to providing a consistent genre/style taxonomy for most popular (as in "is sold") music, while style is used very loosely.


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AliceWonder
post Jul 22 2012, 22:51
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QUOTE (r0k @ Jul 22 2012, 00:17) *
[*]Religious (no matter the religion)


For a very limited genre list I would just leave Religious out.
Many religious songs are not sung for their religious value. Some listen to them for their religious value but others do not.

The U2 song "40" for example, which is basically Psalm 40 put to music.

It's listened to and sung by many people who have no interest in the religious aspect, while other do.

-=-
For religious music in my collection, I tend to use a second (or third) genre to indicate the religious nature.

"40" is listed as Rock in my collection and has a second genre of Christian Rock (though the Psalms I guess are actually Jewish in origin - I've heard it played on Christian radio, I don't know if it is ever played on Jewish)

This post has been edited by AliceWonder: Jul 22 2012, 22:53
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pawelq
post Jul 23 2012, 15:26
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QUOTE (r0k @ Jul 22 2012, 03:17) *
  • Classical (not to be confused with "old" of course)
  • Religious (no matter the religion)
And, where would a mass or a church canatata by Bach go?






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Porcus
post Jul 23 2012, 18:52
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Oct 8 2009, 12:52) *
I split my catalogue into two -- classical music and the rest. The reason is not that Merzbow has more in common with Malmsteen than with Mahler, but that classical music is largely released on a "by composer" basis, and everything else in my collection largely by performer. (Adaptations: Tribute albums -- "all these amateurs cover your favourite band in order to cash-in on their name" -- are treated as if the original were the performer, though. Contemporary composers ... let's say I don't have much doubts on neither Ligeti nor Zappa.)


Well again I would have to ask myself what is the purpose of the taxonomy. If it were for my purposes, then I wouldn't really need to distinguish between Chopin's marche funèbre and Mitchell's military marches. (I would probably have more objections against joining Arnold Schoenberg's later works with his earliest ones.)

If I were to split so-called classical music (Western, and including 'modern classical') into two broad buckets, then one would have to cover the renaissance through the common practice period plus anything composed in those traditions. Medieval music without harmonies and time signatures would be out, and, insane as it may seem, classified together with 20th century atonal music, John Cage and Ligeti's Volumina. Most composer-oriented (Western) music would fall into these two categories.

At the risk of being too eurocentric, I'd put “ethnic” music including non-classical European folk music, into one bucket. Here goes your grandpa's accordion, at least. And so do all the hymns based on old folk tones. The trouble here is the elites' non-folk music, which is maybe just as adequately joined in with whatever the Pope commissioned twelve hundred years ago.

The troublesome part is the last hundred years. Which, I guess – does anyone have a number? – contributes the vast majority of the known compositions, and styles. Problem is to differentiate everything that originates from proto-blues/jazz, which is ... well, the most. And while progrock isn't jazz, it marks a very crucial break away from blues/rock/pop's verse/chorus way of organizing music.


So, here's my attempt:

(1) Western classical from renaissance and up through the 19th century, including modern compositions in the same genre,
(2) Western “classical” pre and post this broad genre (1), e.g. without (or deviating significantly from) the typical organized means of time signature, scale, harmony, counterpoint, whatnot, and possibly including e.g. related sacred music, like Jewish?
(3) “folk” and “ethnic” excluding blues and country
(4) jazz.
(5) blues, rythm'n'blues (not the modern 'r&b' term) ... and soul?
(6) blues/jazz-derived music which is largely rythm-based: Hip-hop. And ... funk? Problem: a “dance” mix of anything else?
(7) pop/rock: predominantly based on blues/country (well, country could go in here). Include also that jazzrock which isn't jazz, progrock even if it isn't blues-based, punk and hard rock/metal. This bucket could need to be split, and I'm tempted to split away “pop which I don't find interesting” tongue.gif
(8) electronic/industrial, starting from whatever is a bit too far out to go in the modern classical genre and all the way to japanoise. Ambient may go here or in (7).
(9) other modern music which doesn't fit into (10)
(10) “non-music” – well, rather than discussung what music is: this would be “sound that isn't supposed to be listened to the way you listen to music”: test signals, recognize-these-animals, audiobooks (one with fairytales for children should go here even if there is a tune every now and then), spoken word and related (a CD from a WWII documentary shouldn't be counted as classical music just because this CD documenting that moustached Chaplin-lookalike, contains no other “music” than Wagner),



Now ... where to put ragtime?

This post has been edited by Porcus: Jul 23 2012, 19:30


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GeSomeone
post Jul 23 2012, 22:51
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Jul 23 2012, 19:52) *
Now ... where to put ragtime?

Jazz would be possible.
It is just a matter to how many genres you want to limit yourself.
The simple solution is what WonderSlug brought forward. Pick (about) 9 genres and have an extra one called Other.

BTW In the album list of foobar2000 you can view by genre and see how much (albums) of each you have.
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Porcus
post Jul 24 2012, 02:34
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QUOTE (GeSomeone @ Jul 23 2012, 23:51) *
BTW In the album list of foobar2000 you can view by genre and see how much (albums) of each you have.


Yeah ... if you have tagged it with genre. Or if you are willing to trust your metadata provider. Which, in case of freedb, is an anarchy of opinions, and I am not sure whether Discogs is much better.

Just for the test, I checked through my rips, where about 98 percent has GENRE present, the vast majority taken from a metadata provider (i.e. not done manually). Predictably, the more specific the less correct: lots of metal is tagged as Rock or Pop/Rock. Which is of course correct if you consider metal a subset, but it isn't very informative, especially not to someone who has his classical music organized separately.

And nearly 40 percent of my classical music has merely “Classical” as genre. Again, it isn't wrong, but it isn't very informative. Keyboard, should that include or exclude organ? Metadata sources totally inconsistent.


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AliceWonder
post Jul 24 2012, 22:44
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Jul 23 2012, 18:34) *
QUOTE (GeSomeone @ Jul 23 2012, 23:51) *
BTW In the album list of foobar2000 you can view by genre and see how much (albums) of each you have.


Yeah ... if you have tagged it with genre. Or if you are willing to trust your metadata provider. Which, in case of freedb, is an anarchy of opinions, and I am not sure whether Discogs is much better.


In re-tagging my music, I'm seriously considering starting a small database who's concern is quality over quantity.
Actual recording date for the date, ISRC numbers when available, the whole 9 yards.

Multiple genre's will be used. IE first listed genre for Beatles would be "Rock" but they would have a second genre of "British Invasion"
That's how I think genre should be used, not just for musical style but for other ways that people may want to group music.

If it is just me contributing it will be very small and if I open it up to outside contributors there will have to be some kind of quality control mechanism, which I'm guessing will result in nasty flame wars and ugliness. Not sure if I really want to go that route. It's not exactly the kind of thing that is really profitable so is it really worth the headaches? I don't know.
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53.clubs
post Aug 16 2012, 02:17
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I love that this thread has gone on for 3 years and has at least as much validity as the day it was started.

For the record, I found this thread because I had essentially the same question and joined the board as a result...

I don't claim to have any particular mastery of the subject, but I see a trend developing that *should* lead to the 'actual development' of such a list - with the intent of 'actually attempting' in some meaningful way of 'creating some form of universal standard' out of it. (Take that 'Wishful Thinking').

It appears to me fairly clearly that 10 is too few for 'all music', but certainly not 'too few' for any 'one of us' specifically. That is to say, any of us can fairly easily identify each other's 'musical taste' from the list they provided, which by definition would indicate that the list is 'incomplete' - not 'bad', but certainly not 'all encompassing' either. So, each of us could potentially choose 'our 10' from a list of 30 or 40 that would make up the 'upper level' genre categories. We might have a little of this from 11 and a little of that from 12, etc., but we would each primarily use a 'portion' of the list for our needs.

It also seems very clear to me that any usable 'genre list' which would have any 'universal meaning' would need to have multiple levels of categorization otherwise, where, really, would we put 'Smokey Robinson' doing 'White Cristmas' on a 1963 Miracles Christmas album or Ry Cooder & Ali Farka Toure, Ry Cooder & Manuel Galban, Ry Cooder & V.M. Bhatt - and how would we relate them with one and other (yes,.. this relationship really is the ultimate purpose, otherwise, creating any set of 'categories' is basically pointless - we can define that using the definition of human perception and understanding).

So my idea is that we target a number (maybe 30ish) of distinct genre's and actually create a list to start from, and break that list down into subcategories - probably 3 deep (less seems too ambiguous and doesn't seem to help the purpose, and more seems a bit unweildy) though I have no marriage to this and might find that more depth in some areas is valuable whereas some areas may only require 2 levels.

One of the frustrating things to me - being someone who listens mostly to more 'commercial music' made in the past 5 decades is that I like to listen to 'Albums'. Not 'collections of songs, or 'playlists', but full-on, well produced 'albums' that work together as a unit. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are the same 'type' of music all the way through, or that they have the same performers or composers all the way through, but that they were made to fit together well and someone has taken the time to produce them well, with that idea in mind. Some of the *most extreme* examples that pop into my head are, for instance, 'Frampton Comes Alive', 'Dark Side of the Moon', 'Abbey Road' or "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", but also the Soundtrack from 'Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?', or Eric Clapton's 'Unplugged' album, or even the Original Broadway Cast's recording of 'Hair'. Some of these are really great productions, but many of the same 'songs' appear in lots of different places with lots of different performers, some worse, some significantly worse, but also, some quite a bit better (Take Harry 'Mac' McClintock's recorded versions of 'Big Rock Candy Mountain' if you need an example here - with or without the introducing and fascinating, yet breif preceding dialogue).

In any case, I would enjoy trying to put such a list together and attempting to actually 'organize' the pack of free running pigs and kittens.... Clearly I am not 'musically qualified or knowledgable' enough to do it on my own, but a group might be fun... I know I would expect to learn a TON...

Being that I am here and have spewed forth my fantastic drivel,... I should probably contribute my, albeit frustratingly incomplete yet categorically disconnected personal list - as best I can...

* Blues------
* Jazz-------
* Rock------- \ yeah,... its big - no, I haven't
* Pop-------- / succcessfully seperated them
* Country----
* Classical--
* Bluegrass--
* Folk-------
* Rap/HH----- \ ... Yeah, try to work those
* R&B/Soul--- / out with a pencil....
* World------

Its an 'ongoing attempt at organization' - which attracted me here in the first place....

This post has been edited by greynol: Nov 17 2012, 18:52
Reason for edit: removed non-standard font.
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majawe
post Nov 17 2012, 12:29
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Punk...

...and non-punk
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nastea
post Nov 18 2012, 04:32
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1. House

2. Other

thats it really beer.gif
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Porcus
post Nov 18 2012, 12:15
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What about extending these binary choices to allow for combinations? Say, if someone comes up with something the two of you guys recognize as a genre, say “mating calls”:

Genre 001: punk
Genre 010: house
Genre 011: music which is both punk and house
Genre 100: mating calls
Genre 101: music which is both punk and mating calls
Genre 110: music which is both house and mating calls
Genre 111: music which is both punk and house and mating calls
Genre 000: music which is neither


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Wyld Stallyn
post Apr 4 2013, 16:04
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I guess I'm a grotesque outsider with my +50 genres I am using. tongue.gif

And no, it's not because I listen to Metal and Rock all the time.


If I had to narrow mine down, it would be Big Ensemble, Small Ensemble, Rock/Pop, Jazz, Folklore, Historical Occidental, Historical Oriental, Electronic.
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db1989
post Apr 5 2013, 00:44
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Nov 18 2012, 12:15) *
What about extending these binary choices to allow for combinations? Say, if someone comes up with something the two of you guys recognize as a genre, say “mating calls”:

Genre 001: punk
Genre 010: house
Genre 011: music which is both punk and house
Genre 100: mating calls
Genre 101: music which is both punk and mating calls
Genre 110: music which is both house and mating calls
Genre 111: music which is both punk and house and mating calls
Genre 000: music which is neither
Hilarious po—

Wait.

Needs ternary:

0 = not punk
1 = claims to be punk
2 = TRU PUNX
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EagleScout1998
post Apr 12 2013, 09:08
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My attempt....

Blues
Classical
Comedy
Country
Easy Listening
Electronic
Gospel
Hip-Hop
Holiday
Jazz
Musical
Other
R&B
Rock/Pop
Soundtrack
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