Friday, 22 August 2014

Genre of Music

Print off and add to Section A: Question 1b of your exam folder. 
Task: Summarise the information below, find links to sites that may add to this topic and post.

 It is because genre is an exam question from Section A, Question 1b we will need to look at this topic in depth.

Genre means classifying a text according to its content and style as well as its structure and way of production. From all various media, pop music most depends on genre. It also includes the most varied genres of texts. People always invent, cross and revisit genres, and categorisation important for the fans and producers. Some of these categorisations contain a complex set of definitions that are strongly enforced by aficionados (for example the sub genres of house).

Generalising, most music can be divided into these categories:

  • Pop
  • Classical
  • Dance/Techno
  • R&B
  • Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Rock
  • Metal
  • Country
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Reggae

Each of them contains a variety of sub-genres, as well as hybrids and mash-ups. However, each of them has specific characteristics (instruments used for melody, rhythm, lyrics and vocals), and can be connected with other things, such as fashion, hair and lifestyle. Each genre has specific ways of institutional support, including performance venues (e.g. nightclubs), radio stations, record shops, festivals and magazines.

Image is crucial for music genre, and an artist's look categorises them before they start performing. For an artist or band to truly fulfil a genre category, they must be represented visually, on records, photos and music videos.

Looks can be as generic as sound: it is hard to differentiate between many hip hop videos, all showing baggily dressed homeboys sitting on porches or outside houses in a generic 'hood, swinging their arms and grinning at the booty passing by. Or maybe driving slowly in big old open-topped cars around a generic 'hood, swinging their arms and waving at the booty they pass by. Similarly, all girl or all boy groups go for videos in a warehouse, or other similar setting, showing them dancing in formation. If the look works, wear it.

Adele, whose music is inspired by classic pop styles of the 1960s and 1970s, is often photographed wearing classic or retro clothing that connects her with her role models Aretha Franklin or Dusty Springfield and makes her seem a serious, soulful artiste in old school mode. Lady Sovereign, on the other hand, identifies with her genre of music through an outsize baseball cap, weird sunglasses and neon colours.

As well as publishing overall sales figures, the Billboard chart is divided into more than 43 different music genre categories.

  • Billboard Magazine Music Chart

Genre has always been a cornerstone of music business because customers often dedicate themselves to a certain style of music (eg hiphop, R'n'B) and are not interested in buying outside of it. Go into your local HMV and look at how it is organised along genre. Although many artists resent being categorised into a particular genre in this way, there is no doubt that retailers and customers rely genre to make their choices. Online music streaming services (like Pandora or Spotify) take into account your past genre choices in order to keep playing you new music that you may be interested in buying.

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