What is a Music Genre?
Below you’ll find some definitions from around the web on what a music genre is and how it came to be!
Free Music Directory:
A music genre is a classification system that places different instructional materials into neat categories that help teachers choose what to use and when.
Noun 1. music genre – an expressive style of music
musical genre, musical style, genre
music – an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner
crossover – the appropriation of a new style (especially in popular music) by combining elements of different genres in order to appeal to a wider audience; “a jazz-classical crossover album”
popular music, popular music genre – any genre of music having wide appeal (but usually only for a short time)
expressive style, style – a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period; “all the reporters were expected to adopt the style of the newspaper”
Definition of word Genre
noun: genre; plural noun: genres
a category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.
early 19th century: French, literally ‘a kind’
S: (n) music genre, musical genre, genre, musical style (an expressive style of music)
There’s a great video that explains (visually and aurally) some differences between music genres
A genre is a category of an art form, and the word is used of subsets of literature, films, television shows, and music that fit certain criteria. Often, a work will fit into one genre, but it is possible for a work to have multiple genres. The term music genre is used to refer to a variety of facets of music, including the period during which a musical composition was written, its style, its instrumentation and treatment of those instruments, its form and function, its means of transmission, its means of dissemination, and the location of its geographical origins sometimes crossed with the cultural or ethnic background of the composer. There is no agreement or a single comprehensive system to talk about music genres at the present time.
People may refer to some or all of a small group of categories when using period as the criteria for a music genre. These include Early Music, Medieval Music, Renaissance Music, BaroqueMusic, Classical Music, Romantic Music, and 20th Century Music. The definitions of these musicperiods are open to interpretation. For example, the Classical period could be defined as lasting from 1730 to 1820 or from 1750 to 1830. Others might say that it started in the late 18th century. All of these interpretations are current today.
Works like concertos, which have a featured solo instrument highlighted against an orchestral background, and duets, which have only two instruments, fall into the category of instrumentation and treatment of instruments as music genre, as do the designations “orchestral music” or “percussion ensemble music.” Opera is another genre of this type, featuring voices and orchestra, as is a cappella music, which depends on unaccompanied voices.
“Popular music” is a genre based on period and means of transmission, as are “traditionalmusic” and “folk music.” “Native American music” and “South African music” are both terms that speak to geography and culture. Marches, lullabies, minuets, and other music named for dances have to do with a combination of form and function.
Possibly the clearest cut set of definitions of music genres is found in award situations, such as in the Grammy Awards. In this context, the genres are based on a variety of criteria — for example, “Alternative” is based on what the music is not; “Children’s” is based on the audience; “Musical Show” is based on form; etc. — which are applied consistently and over time so that a tradition of definition is built up.
Some of the music genres that are popular today include jazz, hip-hop, rap, rock, rhythm and blues, and pop. Many people have eclectic tastes in music, and people still perform, view, purchase, and enjoy a wide range of music, including show tunes, folk music, classical music, opera, and ballet music.
Music Genre Popularity Chart on wiseGEEK:
- Perhaps the largest music genres is rock and roll, an umbrella genre under which several other types of music can be categorized. Other major music genres include classical, folk, jazz, R&B, blues, metal, and world music.
- The term music genre is used to refer to a variety of facets of music, including the period during which a musical composition was written, its style, its instrumentation and treatment of those instruments, its form and function, its means of transmission, its means of dissemination, and the location of its geographical origins sometimes crossed with the cultural or ethnic background of the composer. There is no agreement or a single comprehensive system to talk about music genres at the present time. People may refer to some or all of a small group of categories when using period as the criteria for a music genre.