Author Topic: Genres and Sub-genres: A Practical List for Digital Music Players/Managers  (Read 33543 times)

alec.tron

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
I thinks that's our different trains of thought. I am attempting to explain the system that works for me.
Whereas you want to define one with the broadest possible appeal (from your background/angle with a library / listening preference where "pop" seems to play a big role) (?).
What I was meant in the other thread was only regarding Pop being a difficult category (similar to Soundtracks & World, all due to different reasons) and that it should be separated from Rock when it comes to main categories. And offered my approach how I use Pop (which is probably not very popular... :D), and how/why I use the World category, in absence of a better idea/system...


Does that mean you don't have a fixed list of genre categories and genres, but that you try to adapt when you come across music that doesn't fit into your current system?
yes for me. I regularly discover connections / cross pollinations between eras/genres/styles/locales that change how I perceive a given genre or track, which I thought deserved a specific tag. In light of this new info/discovery, I will adapt/change/add as necessary. Meaning yes, the categories are constantly evolving even just on (or because of) a subjective level.


Re:
I'm not at my computer currently, but I will say that I think how finely you slice your genres depends a lot on your personal taste.  I can subdivide my electronic music into ...
 On the other hand, I could probably have one category each for blues and reggae and leave it at that.
Same for me.
Alas, Reggae is one of those areas I need 2 or better 3 levels of depth for. Dancehall being the main culprit... where every decade sounds completely different from the previous and spawned 1-2 sub genres in each...


Also, music to go with the words:
Early example in the era of "Digital" Dancehall
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKKolsvZnlg

Leading to the faster speeds of Dem Bow & Poco Jam riddims in the late 80s/early 90s:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnAppiW-hmc

The above later becoming the foundation for Reggaeton, still noticable 25 years later:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kYDV725yTk

as well as the much smaller genre (in Holland) dubbed Bubbling in the mid/late 90s...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb-AKwWnKMs

c.
Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 09:01:45 PM by alec.tron

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10685
It's a little of both. I've spent quite a bit of time reviewing genres on Wikipedia, AllMusic, last.fm, and more, and like you come to the conclusion that it's all very subjective.

I've mostly stopped messing with genres currently because I'm focused on tagging pop charts, which for listening purposes is a pretty good substitute. I can choose to listen to a particular decade regardless of genre, or a particular genre across decades.

But when I am tagging genres, I go with labels that mean something to me and are useful in my library. I can listen to a song and tell you if I think it's aggrotech or futurepop. Although I know there are such things as East Coast Rap or Chicago Blues, I couldn't necessarily distinguish them from West Coast Rap or Memphis Blues, nor would I make that division when deciding what to listen to.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
I thinks that's our different trains of thought. I am attempting to explain the system that works for me.
Whereas you want to define one with the broadest possible appeal (from your background/angle with a library / listening preference where "pop" seems to play a big role) (?).
What I was meant in the other thread was only regarding Pop being a difficult category (similar to Soundtracks & World, all due to different reasons) and that it should be separated from Rock when it comes to main categories. And offered my approach how I use Pop (which is probably not very popular... :D), and how/why I use the World category, in absence of a better idea/system...

I am on two different trains here.

- The first one has a fuzzy schedule and tries to adapt to circumstances and requirements.
   (that's the one that is interested in discussions and various opinions on the matter)

- The other one needs a travel schedule with concrete times and dates on it.

MusicBee requires the latter. You will need to enter a list of what you consider genre categories and genres.

So while all opinions and discussions are honestly interesting, I would hope it helps and results in possibly improving my own current 'fixed schedule', and perhaps also produce some blueprint that is beneficial to other users. (in general)
Such a schedule will surely need to change a bit over time, but there needs to be some basic foundation to build upon.


For now it's still not clear to me where you place 'pop' in your personal schedule.
Regarding specific use in MusicBee, do you consider it a genre, a genre category, some descriptive keyword, or are you avoiding using it at all?
Is it in or out?

alec.tron

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
Your pdf already is a pretty great starting point I reckon, and if it fits your music map/library mostly, great, and I woudl think it will fit many others as well.

As for my usage & the Pop classification:
- I use the genre field for everything including Genre Categories, Genres, SubGenres, Styles, Continents, Cities, and for completely made up rubbish names that are only meaningfull to me.
- As is I have 288 different of the above things stored in Genre tags.
- Pop is one of them. But, Pop for me is an odd category in itself (as I tried to explain), is holds 2 sub categories and 999 tracks have been tagged with it.

So yes, there is a Pop named tag that I use. But, the way I use it will most likely not make much sense for many others and I was surprised psychoadept seems to use a similar approach...
c.

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
- I use the genre field for everything including Genre Categories, Genres, SubGenres, Styles, Continents, Cities, and for completely made up rubbish names that are only meaningfull to me.

It seems you were right earlier, we seem to be on very different trains.
You are not using the genre tag for genres, not using the country and location tags for countries and locations, and not using the keywords tag for keywords.
If that works for you, that's the only thing that matters.
But I find it difficult to understand how that rhymes with aiming for a structured hierarchy with possibly an extra level.
If one or two levels are already sort of a hodgepodge, how would a third level improve on that?

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10685
So while all opinions and discussions are honestly interesting, I would hope it helps and results in possibly improving my own current 'fixed schedule', and perhaps also produce some blueprint that is beneficial to other users. (in general)
Such a schedule will surely need to change a bit over time, but there needs to be some basic foundation to build upon.

I would love for there to be such a thing in theory, an overarching definitive "genre schedule". That's what I've sought in the past. However, it would still only be a starting point for what I put in my personal genre list.
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

alec.tron

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
You are not using the genre tag for genres, not using the country and location tags for countries and locations, and not using the keywords tag for keywords.
I am using the Genre field for genres.... and for a good percentage of the music I am interesting in, location is a genre/sound defining factor.  But, for many others, it is not.
As locale shapes the musics' sound design & structure in many important cases for me, I want to treat it as such as well within a genre taxonomy system that attempts to categorize musical structure & sound traditions.

Using Location could be interesting as its' own tag. But, due to not having a usable taxonomy system in MB or anything else, I have not bothered maintaining this, other than through auto taggers. So IF I ever can automatically derive grouping & relation from a single tag (i.e. Croyden will give me the whole Europe -> UK -> London -> Croyden context for free [i.e. through defining it in an xml where we can build taxonomic relationships, as suggested in the other thread] ) I will make use of Location as well. But, having only the singular 'Croyden' tag/facet does not merrit the work necessary to go there...

If that works for you, that's the only thing that matters.
Aye.

c.

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
I now understand better what your approach is.
The way you use 'World' probably confused me at first.

For me, everything under genre-category, genre, and sub-genre should aim to be strictly genre related.
So, no locations, no keywords, no styles, etc.
There are dedicated tags for those.

Where you use 'world', you mean it as a region of origin.
In this genre hierarchy I would only use it as a genre description, and only when it makes any sense. (it rarely does)

It could apply to e.g. some of the things that Peter Gabriel does in his Real World studios.
That's often an amalgam of African, Arabic and European music and musicians.
However flawed the term 'World' is in respect to genre, I would find it appropriate to label that sort of music with 'world music'.
Then you could always add additional genre tags, style tags, and a regional tag such as Senegal to a song if the composition clearly has it's origin or musicians coming from there.

So, when I think the country or region is relevant to the music, I will use the country/location tag.
E.g. Mali, Thailand, Tuva, etc.

Using location (or anything else that is not a genre) in a genre hierarchy in my opinion is plain wrong and will pose problems that are pretty much impossible to resolve.
Especially with only having two or perhaps three levels available.

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
The list has had a big make-over.
I reconsidered the genre categories and shuffled things around a bit.
I also removed genres that were either duplicated elsewhere in the sheet, or I had second thoughts about if they were actually a genre.
Also new genres were added.

download Genre-Subgenre sheet

I am interested in feedback on:

- Genres missing from this list
- Genres named incorrectly
- Genres located under a wrong genre category
- Sub-genres located under a wrong genre
- Entries suggesting to be a genre, but not being actual genres but rather styles, forms, descriptions, etc.

Also I am curious about thoughts on the chosen genre categories.
Obviously different choices can be made. But after trying several options, I find the current division and grouping working quite well and making sense. (taking into account the self-imposed restriction of three levels and not allowing for a genre to be in more places than one)

Note that I prefer to use location and ethnic related factors only when they are very relevant, and when not using them pose difficult to solve issues elsewhere.
Also because you can already use tags specifically for countries and locations and I would like to avoid possible cross-pollution here.

So, anyone with interest in the matter, and knowledge of, and expertise in specific genres, share your thoughts?

smann

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
As a huge metalhead, I break up Pop, Rock, and Metal into different categories. I understand Metal is an overall subgenre of Rock, but it's also very different in a lot of ways and has many branches that don't necessarily come from Rock as the main source. Also, while Pop mixes often with Rock, I think they are two different categories. When they overlap, I tend to use the more prominent source genre for the category.


I just found this online: https://musicmap.info/

I'm not saying it's perfect as everyone will have differing opinions on genres and subgenres, but I feel like they do a great job of this. You can click the +/- in the bottom right to zoom in and see how they mapped the overall thing (It's quite complex though haha). And then browse through the tabs on the left to see way more info about the whole thing and to reset the view. You can click the "Navigate" tab to see the genres and subgenres they have listed to help you add anything you've listed.

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
As a huge metalhead, I break up Pop, Rock, and Metal into different categories.

From a technical and ideal position I could probably agree on that.
But, as soon as you start at the top with too many categories, it quickly becomes hair-pulling difficult to put some genres below them in either one or the other top categories.
I started out with much more categories, so know that I tried...

About pop and rock:
As that website points out (and I could agree with from a certain standpoint):
Pop and rock are different entities to begin with.

Rock could be considered a genre, but pop could be considered not to be a genre at all.
Pop is often some umbrella term to describe music that is or was popular in a certain period, in a certain region, with a certain age group.

But even if 'pop' is that vague and ambiguous, we just can't leave it out of a genre list. It has to be somewhere.
And since there is a lot of overlap with a lot of music that technically falls under the rock category, but many will label and consider to be 'pop', I chose to blend them together as one top category.

If other users prefer them split up, it's rather easy for them to make that adjustment to my list.

Another reason for merging them is that my main objective with this list is functionality in a digital music player/manager.
I want to be able to start selecting and filtering by a broad genre category.
If I already had to chose between pop and rock there, I would miss out on a lot of music that happens to be labeled one or the other without very good reason.

So, while I can't argue with anything you say, a sheet like this requires some serious compromises to be made to make it practical in use.
It's not an effort in getting a degree in musicology ;-)


Since you are a metalhead...
If you have some time to waste, could you take a look at the metal department of my list?
Do you find it acceptable, or are there mistakes or oversights?

t.i.a.!
 

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
So, anyone with interest in the matter, and knowledge of, and expertise in specific genres, share your thoughts?

If there are any Americana/Blues/American folk experts here, I have some doubts about how I have categorized them and other related genres.

I thought it was a good idea to have 'American Folk Music' as a main category.
And I think it turns out rather well.

But, when I now look at Blues, I notice a problem.
It contains 'English Blues'.
So now I have English Blues under American Folk Music.
Maybe that's not as stupid as it seems, since music-wise it came from that tree, so the relation could be valid from a genre standpoint.
But it also could be solved making 'Blues' a main category.
Thoughts?

To anyone with knowledge and opinions on 'North American' music in general, perhaps also check 'Americana', and what I have put under the 'Ethnic North American' main category?

I don't think it is terrible, but I am not completely convinced or satisfied either.
 

psychoadept

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10685
I would treat Blues as part of R&B, or its own category, personally. At least in the US there's a certain implicit idea that folk (and country) is "white people's music" and Blues/R&B is "Black people's music". I'm not saying that's right, but it's a thing. I mean, the early billboard charts called African American music "race records", before switching to "R&B" around 1949.

Glancing through your chart now, I question Industrial as a separate category. Most of what I know of as Industrial would fall under Electronic or EDM (I'm not sure about EDM as a separate category from Electronic, either... but this is why I dislike genres!)
Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 02:10:18 AM by psychoadept
MusicBee Wiki
Use & improve MusicBee's documentation!

Latest beta patch (3.5)
(Unzip and overwrite existing program files)

smann

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
If other users prefer them split up, it's rather easy for them to make that adjustment to my list.

So, while I can't argue with anything you say, a sheet like this requires some serious compromises to be made to make it practical in use.

Since you are a metalhead...
If you have some time to waste, could you take a look at the metal department of my list?
Do you find it acceptable, or are there mistakes or oversights?

t.i.a.!

Oh, yeah I have my own list that I use, and I agree that compromises have to be made on lists like this because you could easily end up with things that straddle two completely different genres that aren't even remotely related on a genre/subgenre scale haha.

Here are some that I didn't see. They might be there and I just didn't notice. Or it might be a very specific subgenre that is a fusion of two subgenres that I've highlighted in RED. Do with these as you like haha...

Metal: Atmospheric Black Metal (You could add Atmospheric Metal for this and have people combine it with other genres)
Metal: Atmospheric Death Metal (You could add Atmospheric Metal for this and have people combine it with other genres)
Metal: Blackened Death Metal
Metal: Blackened Folk Metal
Metal: Blackened Melodic Death Metal

Metal: Christian Metalcore (You do have Christian Metal and Metalcore, but I like to combine them)
Metal: Crossover Thrash
Metal: D-Beat (subgenre of Hardcore Punk really)
Metal: Death 'n' Roll (Technically this is a subgenre of Death Metal, but it's mixed with Rock 'n' Roll and mainly with regular Hard Rock and has it's own very distinctive sound - see Helltrain for an example)
Metal: Digital Hardcore
Metal: Electronic Metal (Could somewhat be combined with Electronicore below)
Metal: Electronicore
Metal: Industrial Black Metal
Metal: Industrial Death Metal
Metal: Industrial Groove Metal
Metal: Melodic Black Metal
Metal: Melodic Doom Metal
Metal: Melodic Folk Metal
Metal: Melodic Gothic Metal
Metal: Melodic Groove Metal
Metal: Melodic Hardcore Punk
Metal: Melodic Metalcore
Metal: Melodic Thrash Metal

Metal: Neoclassical Metal
Metal: Progressive Alternative Metal
Metal: Progressive Black Metal
Metal: Progressive Death Metal
Metal: Progressive Deathcore
Metal: Progressive Gothic Metal
Metal: Progressive Metal
Metal: Progressive Metalcore

Metal: Reggae Metal (The more metal version of Reggae Rock)
Metal: Southern Metal (The more metal version of Southern Rock)
Metal: Symphonic Black Metal
Metal: Symphonic Death Metal
Metal: Symphonic Deathcore
Metal: Symphonic Extreme Metal
Metal: Symphonic Metal
Metal: Symphonic Power Metal
Metal: Symphonic Thrash Metal

Metal: Technical Metalcore (aka Progressive Metalcore)
Metal: Thrashcore (aka Fastcore)
Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 03:52:13 AM by smann

hiccup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6374
Oh, yeah I have my own list that I use, and I agree that compromises have to be made on lists like this because you could easily end up with things that straddle two completely different genres that aren't even remotely related on a genre/subgenre scale haha.

That's a great list and some very good suggestions.
It looks like I will be adding at least a few of them.

One thing I will need to look at and digest a bit first, is if (non metal heads, average users) would consider each and every one as a specific genre, and/or if it is useful and practical to have separate entries for each of them.
Words such as 'progressive', 'melodic', 'industrial', 'symphonic' are often a description of style or form, and not always a clean cut genre or sub-genre.
If they, and all variations would be used here as specific genres for metal, other genres would probably need the same treatment.
And then my aim for having a maintainable and practical list that is not overly convoluted will probably be too much compromised.

As a very extreme and exaggerated simplified example; you could have only 'metal' as a genre, and put all such descriptive words in a separate keywords or form/style tagging list, and use them as a filtering method. It sounds crude and simple, but it could work if you would get used to it.
So, again decisions/compromises will need to be made here ;-)


I would treat Blues as part of R&B, or its own category, personally. At least in the US there's a certain implicit idea that folk (and country) is "white people's music" and Blues/R&B is "Black people's music". I'm not saying that's right, but it's a thing. I mean, the early billboard charts called African American music "race records", before switching to "R&B" around 1949.

Glancing through your chart now, I question Industrial as a separate category. Most of what I know of as Industrial would fall under Electronic or EDM (I'm not sure about EDM as a separate category from Electronic, either... but this is why I dislike genres!)

I am looking to get rid of the 'American Folk Music' genre category. It has some issues that I think can only be resolved by having some extra categories, and indeed Blues probably is going to be one of them.
Black vs. white music is something that in my opinion is impossible to use as a factor in such a genre list.
Even when looking at traditional folk music, there is usually so much cross-polution in the origins of it, often having influences from both African and European countries, that while the colour of a skin is relevant in cultural music history, music labels, theaters, and radio, I don't see how it could fit in in a sheet like this.

---

'Industrial' was and is a difficult one indeed.
It can be a descriptive keyword, and it can be tied to a genre.
E.g. 'Industrial Rock' and 'Industrial Techno' could be considered specific genres. And, one nicely fits under Rock, the other one under EDM.

But I had the impression that at least in the beginning of the 'movement', there was also Industrial music that could not be placed under either classical, rock, electronic, etc.
I'll see if there is enough (or even some at all) of that music available these days. If not I may be removing the category indeed.