Author Topic: Genres and Sub-genres: A Practical List for Digital Music Players/Managers  (Read 44332 times)

psychoadept

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Black vs. white music is something that in my opinion is impossible to use as a factor in such a genre list.

I'm not suggesting that it *should* be used, only that it's implicit in common usage and understanding of these genres. Americana is where it all kind of runs together. Lucinda Williams is a great example, who has early explicitly blues recordings and explicitly country recordings, and now does something that could be described as "alt country" or "blues folk" or something else, but usually just gets labeled Americana.

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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 think there's a very, very small amount of Industrial music that's made of samples of non-instrumental "industrial" sounds and so forth. These days it's hard to tell where the line is between industrial, ebm, and synthpop, though. Take Aesthetic Perfection, who describes his music as Industrial Pop: https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com/
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hiccup

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I think there's a very, very small amount of Industrial music that's made of samples of non-instrumental "industrial" sounds and so forth. These days it's hard to tell where the line is between industrial, ebm, and synthpop, though. Take Aesthetic Perfection, who describes his music as Industrial Pop: https://aestheticperfection.bandcamp.com/

'Industrial' predates rock, electronic, samples etc.
The term was coined in 1942, and I see references about "instruments as four pairs of shoes, two brooms, a locomotive bell, a pneumatric drill and a compressed-air tank".

hiccup

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Americana is where it all kind of runs together. Lucinda Williams is a great example, who has early explicitly blues recordings and explicitly country recordings, and now does something that could be described as "alt country" or "blues folk" or something else, but usually just gets labeled Americana.

If you really want to get confused and frustrated in trying to put it all together in one sheet, do some investigating on Red-dirt ...

hiccup

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(I'm not sure about EDM as a separate category from Electronic, either... but this is why I dislike genres!)

Yeah, that one is also a very tough cookie.
The reason for me having two different main categories for EDM and Electro is that I wanted to be able to start my filtering between 'electronic based' music that is either:

- associated with clubs, raves, stadiums, and dancing
- a bit more introspective, less primal or focused on having a danceable beat.

When you look e.g. at House vs. Downtempo, or Gabber vs. Musique concrète, that line can easily be drawn and defended.

But over the years a lot has happened with all related genres (and is still happening), and many of that music can not clearly be put in one or the other category anymore.

So, this needs some thinking too.
Blending EDM and Electro together as one main category, have other categories, reshuffling genres a bit?
I have no good (better) ideas at this very moment.
 

hiccup

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updated (0.95)

Changes:

- Reggae was moved from an ethnic category to be a standalone category.
The reason: it developed into a worldwide popular genre, with even subgenres developing in other countries (e.g. Lovers Rock in the U.K.)
So keeping it under ethnic didn't seem appropriate.

- Ska was moved from an ethnic category to the Pop/rock category.
The reason: it developed into a worldwide popular genre, ranging from UK, Australia to Japan.

- After a second third thought I removed American Folk Music as a genre category again.
The reason: Some of the genres it contained worked better as a standalone genre category (Americana, Blues, Gospel), and others could be moved to other categories such as Traditional folk, Country or Ethnic.

- The positions of genres under the EDM and Electronic categories were revised.
The distinction between dance/club orientated (EDM) vs. more individual listening (Electronic) has been improved a bit.

- Industrial was removed as genre category.
While there probably exists (existed?) music that would fit there and not under the Rock or Electronic categories, I think it is very rare to encounter. And keeping it as a genre category could easily cause mistakes or confusion when categorizing contemporary industrial music which will usually fall under either Rock or EDM.
And it's quite easy to add it for anybody who specifically wants to have it as a category.

- Added some missing Metal genres, and revised some namings and positions.
(thanks smann!)

- Added a column that contains what you could call music- style- form- commerce- related keywords.
They could be used in addition to the more strict and restrained genre hierarchy entries.

download Genre-Subgenre sheet

And... the invitation to experts/aficionados of specific genres remains:
If you see mistakes or oversights in a genre that you care about, please share the knowledge?
 

 

smann

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- Added some missing Metal genres, and revised some namings and positions.
(thanks smann!)

I sent you a message in response to your message, but I'm not showing a sent message to you. War Metal is technically a specific subgenre of Blackened Death Metal, but I know of quite a few bands that this genre would fit, so I'd include it.

To get around the "atmospheric, progressive, melodic, symphonic, etc" pre-tags, you could make things like Atmospheric Metal, Progressive Metal, etc that could be combined with Black Metal, Death Metal, Industrial Metal, etc to keep the list simple. Obviously my list will be different in this instance.

Also, when it comes to Digital Hardcore, that is a fusion genre of Rock/Metal and Electronic music. So put it where you like. I put it in Metal since the main band from that genre I listen to is Rabbit Junk and to me they are rock/metal enhanced with electronic and not the other way around. But many bands can be the opposite or be a good 50/50 split -- Making genre-ing a song difficult as heck! So dealers choice on this one.
Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 07:21:05 AM by smann

hiccup

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I sent you a message in response to your message, but I'm not showing a sent message to you.

Yes, it was received.
I used your input, combining it with what I found on RYM, Wikipedia and some dedicated Metal websites.
The result is in the sheet I uploaded yesterday.
If you check it, most is under Metal, some is under Alternative metal, some under Pop/Rock.

I think it should make some sense and won't get too many metalheads shooting fireballs at me ;-)

Not specifically speaking about metal here;
I am trying not to add micro-genres, disputed genres, very rare and very underground genres, and subgenres that most 'normal' users won't be able to distinguish from another.

If I would add all of those for every 'main' genre, the list would become extremely long and complicated, and become pretty much unusable for most people.
And it's intention is to be used as a sensible basis. Not to be perfect and all-comprising.

And as will be the case for applying genre labels to pretty much any sort of music, you'll probably have one main and more obvious genre to describe it, and will then add extra genres that will also apply or refine.
Or add keywords such as Atmospheric, Avant-garde, Psychedelic, etc.

hiccup

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... (I'm not sure about EDM as a separate category from Electronic, either... but this is why I dislike genres!) ...
I gave it a thought to merge EDM and Electronic in one main category, but then I quickly remembered another reason for me not doing that.

This list has the self-imposed restriction of having the maximum of three levels available.

If I would combine them, there would be no level left to differentiate between EDM genres ("a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals.)", and the other Electronic genres/styles.
And I wouldn't like that.

So I think I will leave it like this.

Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 04:39:36 PM by hiccup

psychoadept

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I''m agnostic on the idea of two top level genres, but Aggrotech, Futurepop, and Dark Electro would all be sub genres of electro-industrial in my mind
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hiccup

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I''m agnostic on the idea of two top level genres,
You weren't a few posts back?

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but Aggrotech, Futurepop, and Dark Electro would all be sub genres of electro-industrial in my mind

You may be right on Dark Electro.
Investigating as we speak.
The other two; to me it didn't look like they are closely related to 'industrial'.
I'll do another check.

At the moment I'm weeding-out a lot of B.S. genres in my list, especially in the Trance and Techno category.
I now see there's some crap in there.
When I started the list, I think I also relied on commercial players such as LastFM, AllMusic, Spotify, et al.

It is now becoming very clear that's a big mistake if you take genres a bit more seriously.
Such companies only want to lure you in by saying:
"yes, surely we have music in the genre that you are looking for, here it is, maybe we invented it when you typed your search, but who cares?"

I got a bit wiser this week.
RateYourMusic, Discogs, Wikipedia, and the occasional specialised forum or website.
Those seem reliable resources, especially if you read, learn, compare, and then decide on some mean divider.

hiccup

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I''m agnostic on the idea of two top level genres, but Aggrotech, Futurepop, and Dark Electro would all be sub genres of electro-industrial in my mind

Hmm, isn't this all some fun.

RYM on Futurepop:
"...retains the apocalyptic worldview of EBM and Industrial (a more distant predecessor)..."

Should I enter what the 'worldview' of a genre is as an attribute in my sheet now?
Is 'more distant' still family, or some second cousin you don't talk to anymore?
Choices, choices...

hiccup

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updated (v0.96)

- A massacre on Techno, Trance and Downtempo was performed.
A closer look showed there were a lot of bullshit entries under those.
(thank you AllMusic, Spotify, LastFM, et al. for that  :-(
Slightly ashamed about that, but it should be corrected and lean & mean now.

- Revised some genres related to 'industrial', added some new, shuffled some other.
(thanks psychoadept, more observations and suggestions still welcome)

- Removed some genres that were either too obscure or too academical, and most users would probably never encounter using a digital music player/manager.
(I moved them to keywords, so the names/descriptions are still available from there)

- Added more keywords related to music/genres/styles/forms/etc.

download Genre-Subgenre sheet
Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 11:05:26 PM by hiccup

hiccup

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When on a roll... I cleaned up Drum and Bass too.

updated to 0.97

(only three more iterations to go and I am going to rest on my laurels for a while)

hiccup

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- since a genre is a name (imo), shouldn't all be in capitals ? i.e. Canadian Blues instead Canadian blues ? Another subjective bit probably... :D

It's probably a personal preference, I think it looks better.

And to me it also indicates the name is taken to be as just some label name as a whole, and not every word has meaning.
What I mean by that is:
'Country pop' is considered to be Country, not Pop.
'Acid jazz' is considered to be Electronic, not Jazz.
'Dance-punk' is considered Rock, not Punk.

When pop, jazz and punk would be written in capitals here, it might give the impression they have more importance than just being part of a name.
So I chose to be consistent in only capitalising the very first letter of genre names and not give it much more thought.

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- I would definitely split Pop from Rock

I can understand that, but I decided to combine Pop/Rock as a main category because for most of the music I know that falls in the pop and rock categories, it would be a difficult and very time-consuming task for me to determine if I consider songs and albums to be either pop or rock.
And I don't want to waste too much time on details that don't bring me much benefit.

If I have music I strongly feel only fits one of these genres, I can easily add either Pop or Rock to the tag.

So initially all my songs and albums in these categories have 'Pop/Rock' as a genre tag.
Then as a start they will all conveniently show up when I select the Pop/Rock category.
Then the ones I have stronger opinions on will have:  Pop/Rock; Pop  and some will have  Pop/Rock; Rock

For me this is best of both worlds, it's easy to use, and it allows for whatever pop/rock filtering you like.

I use a similar method for genre categories. Lots of my music I am not sure of if I should put them under Pop/Rock or Electronic.
I will then just tag them with both the genres Pop/Rock and Electronic, so they will show up in either category.
Fine tuning can be done later, but I want to be up and running as fast as possible, and with the least amount of effort.

This sheet is about being practical and making things easier, without simplifying, dumbing-down, or being plain-wrong in certain areas, and I feel it does that rather well by now.

And it's very easy for users that have different preferences on categories to just make some changes to the sheet and do some relocation.

updated (v0.98)
- made some improvements here and there
- added Non-music as a category

download Genre-Subgenre sheet

hiccup

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@smann (or other interested metalheads)

I'm doing a last check on my sheet

Mathcore and Metalcore...

Taking the restrictions and intentions of my sheet into consideration, should they be under Heavy Metal, or should I put them one level up, besides Heavy Metal?
(I am tilted towards the latter myself)

edit:
The same about Progressive metal (Prog-metal)
It looks like a mix (fusion genre) of rock and metal, so it may also be a candidate to take out from under Heavy Metal?
Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 04:03:56 PM by hiccup