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Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? #3014772 11/03/19 06:11 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Rock has been with us since the 50s. EDM, hip-hop, punk, reggae, and rap since the 70s. New age (RIP) and electropop in the 80s, grunge in the 90s. And in the 2000s...

Nothing.

And in the 2010s...

Nothing.

Now we're coming up on 2020, and I'm not seeing anything on the horizon. I'm not talking about new music - I know there's plenty out there - but some kind of new genre that captures the public's imagination.

Why? Or am I just missing out on something that's out there, but I don't know about it?

Last edited by Anderton; 11/03/19 06:12 PM.
Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014776 11/03/19 07:01 PM
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Everything you mention is Pop (popular) music, no?

Popular music becomes popular when it provides two elements - A Hook (ear worm if you prefer) and a Beat (groove...).

Even Herbie Hancock had a big hit outside of his Jazz career, I saw him on the Headhunters tour. He never would have filled an arena like that with his beautiful and incredible jazz. "Hard Funk Jazz"?

"Genres" are both marketing and comfort zones.

I rememver when New Wave came out. In Central California, the Pretenders, Talking Heads, The Cars, Devo, Elvis Costello and The Divinyls were all considered New Wave.
All VERY different music, songs and subject matter. Each of these bands was extraordinary in their own way but there are many significant differences in style, sound, etc. For all that, they were lumped onto one genre. The same thing happened with Sympho-Rock - Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, UK, Genesis, all lumped into the same category and you had to be British or at least European to be part of that genre.

All their most popular songs, the ones you may still hear today, have great Hooks and Beats.

Genres need to provide a certain "comfort". So Alternative has Alt-Rock, Alt-Country etc. (but not Alt-Alt?). Progressive becomes Prog-Rock and so forth.
Then we have Sub-Genres, probably umpty bajillion of them.

Some become Shape Shifters - The Beatles, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell all created very different music if their careers are taken as a whole.

Many attempted Shape Shifting and ended up creating a new sound - when I saw Jason and The Scorchers it was more or less Hard-Country-Punk-Metal or something of that sort.

One of the more current movements I check out and find interesting is "Guitarists who do a whole bunch of things". Michael Hedges was a pioneer in this "genre" but others have taken it farther still.
This is from 2011, Jon Gom is pretty amazing and sounds like Jon Gom. It is a blend of many influences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY7GnAq6Znw
Yasmin Williams is fun, I am enjoying listening to her evolution.

So, what do we do about the music of Captain Beefheart? :- D


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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014786 11/03/19 08:09 PM
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This is respecting the entertainment landscape of the US, can't speak for other countries...

We don't have the freelance entertainment outlets of the 50s. DJs were the ones who promoted the new music without being attached to puppet strings. Radio stations didn't stick to playlists set in concrete, nor were the playlists dictated by a program director (or advertisers pressuring them), nor were the songs broadcast out of a central location like today. Beancounters didn't own the stations, and neither did faceless corporations. Television stars like Ed Sullivan owned their shows and their decision on which entertainment to feature were their own. Entertainment outlets back then were pretty much a wild frontier before the corporations took over. Record companies gave musicians and producers free rein and didn't interfere with the recording sessions.

Record companies promoted the advancement of the arts by promoting new music. Today they are only concerned with the advancement of profits. That means sticking with genres that are tried and true sellers. The focus grew more to the pretty face instead of talented musicians. They are far less enthusiastic about developing new talent and promoting new music with uncertainties of return on investment.

I haven't listened to broadcast radio or TV for almost twenty years. The format is too repetitive and monotonous, and during my business travels I learned of a lot of good music new and old that isn't getting played on radio. Even during the 1980s, the radio stations only played new original music on Sundays after 11PM. It doesn't help that I live in an area where the variety of genres on radio is very limited (classic rock, modern country, hip-hop, oldies... yawn). I have an open mind to new music, and I can honestly say that in the last twenty years any new music I discovered was through outlets other than broadcast. I work as an engineer at a production plant with radios on the floor playing classic rock, and many times I will hear the same sequence of songs more than once during the day. Over. And over.

Back in the 50s the only outlets for hearing new music was radio, TV, or live performances. As the broadcast outlets became more homogenized (and impersonal) through corporations, they drove away listeners. Today we have internet outlets but there's no central medium for the former radio listeners. While internet is free from the constraints of beancounter image conscious record companies, it isn't all good. I check out a lot of new music from input of others; some I like, most of it is crap.

Frankly, it was a whole different world before 1960 and was fertile ground for new genres to get heard.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014798 11/03/19 09:35 PM
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I think it's what has been said above about the ability for people to feel a groove / beat, and that a whole new genre can require a whole new way of making instruments sound different, hence nothing new as such. That, or it's a sign we've reached peak civilization and it's all down hill from here grin

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: The Real MC] #3014800 11/03/19 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Record companies promoted the advancement of the arts by promoting new music.


I would counter with that also increased their profits. The label that took a chance on some white guy from Mississippi doing a hybrid of hillbilly and "race music," while offending people on television shows and also seeming somewhat dangerous, paid off big. Chris Blackwell made a lot of money from taking a chance on Bob Marley. Even the Beatles were scary to some companies, but taking the leap of faith generated a fortune.

Quote
Today they are only concerned with the advancement of profits. That means sticking with genres that are tried and true sellers.


The thing I remember from the record company people of the 50s and 60s was that they trusted their gut instincts. Their idea of a focus group was "I like these guys" and if the telephone switchboard lit up when a DJ played a song, that sealed the deal. Of course they wanted to make $$, but they felt an affinity with artists. They were artists too, in their own way. There was an element of patron of the arts. Perhaps they weren't musicians, but they were creative people.

Quote
They are far less enthusiastic about developing new talent and promoting new music with uncertainties of return on investment.


I think that's it in a nutshell. That's why Hollywood went for franchises and blockbusters. They knew if they did a franchise movie, it would at least make back the investment. Something like the first Star Wars was an anomaly...it was a throwback to the old school, trust-the-gut mentality. Which of course, turned into a franchise smile

But any entrepreneur will tell you that safety will take you only so far. At some point, you need to take a chance on something disruptive. I wonder if there are any musicians out there going truly disruptive stuff? And if there are, how would I even know about it? Live venues are getting harder to find...sure, you can get exposure on YouTube, but the noise-to-signal ratio is huge.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3014822 11/04/19 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Everything you mention is Pop (popular) music, no?

Popular music becomes popular when it provides two elements - A Hook (ear worm if you prefer) and a Beat (groove...).



And a cool new haircut wink

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014852 11/04/19 11:08 AM
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Two things come to mind for me.

1. A new instrument rising to prominence can spur changes, and we have not had that for a while. Look what happened when someone discovered that an electric guitar did not need to emulate an acoustic. Push that amp to 11 and rock out. Same with the synth and sequencer. Even programs like Propellerhead Rebirth can spur change. Sadly, new instrument ideas like the Linnstrument are mostly ignored while kids sit at the computer and search for new sounds to use in Reason and Live. And they continue to play those sounds with a mouse, pad or keyboard.

2. In the past, when music changed, it changed. Classical, jazz, country and rock had clear divisions. Now when a new sound or style comes out it is most likely going to be absorbed into one of the preexisting genres. The lines have blurred. Rock/pop can utilize most any sound and style. Now stations are more concerned with what decade a song was released.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014859 11/04/19 12:48 PM
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A couple of thoughts -

New genres of music don't just pop up, they evolve from something that exists. After a genre has evolved through a couple of stages, it gets diluted. For example (in a genre about which I know something), we had "old time" string bands in the teens through the thirties. Then we got bluegrass. Then we got "classic country" that evolved into hardcore country and pop country, and then you're back to plain ol' boring pop music. In order to get a new genre you'd need to go back to The Skillet Lickers and play tunes similar to theirs on synthesizers, with a cuban beat. That'd be something you could still dance to.

Another thing is that too much social media and music streaming makes listeners lazy, and makes music producers make more music that they know people already like.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014879 11/04/19 03:20 PM
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Slightly subversive thoughts - what if there are new genres developing, somewhere, but we're simply not hearing them, because there's no marketing engine behind them?

New Musical forms may be created by artists, but new genres are as often as not created by reviewers, critics or marketers, trying to define, even pigeonhole, what they think they're hearing. See back to KuruPrionz' remarks about all the varied bands, and sounds, that got lumped into New Wave, or Art-Rock/Symphonic Rock/Prog Rock. AFAIK, many of the bands named were trying to break out of established Pop and Rock forms, but record labels, and record stores, needed a name for what they were selling.

Even if someone does try to sell us a "new" genre, are we really buying it? I remember a literary critique from somewhere, to the effect ". . . there is much here that is good, and original; however, those parts which are good are not original, and those parts which are original are not good." Applies to Music, too.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014903 11/04/19 06:38 PM
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Genres have been, historically, closely associated with (but not equivalent to) "Scenes". A Scene being pop-up entity associated with a certain place and time, certain clubs and venues in a geographical area, musicians that hung out, got to know each other, full of bands and disbands, a vibe, a grapevine, impresarios, influential local radio and DJs, a buzz, a style, picked up by the press (local at least, but could spread to global), spread by rumor and the natural tendency of unattached young people wanting to flock to somewhere to find all the stuff unattached young people want so very badly to find - and get away from the stuff young people think they just have to get away from.

So Laurel Canyon, San Francisco, Detroit (soul and house), New York (folkies and jazz), Seattle, Bristol, London, Liverpool, Glascow, Jamaica, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, the list is probably endless....

Even here in Austin there was something like a Scene that peaked in thge 70s with WIllie and the other Outlaw country types - Jerry Jeff, Waylon Jennings, Guy Clark, B.W. Stevenson, Fromholtz, Michael Murphy, Gary P. Nunn, Rusty Weir, Lyle Lovett, Willis Alan Ramsey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Joe Ely, Doug Sahm, Asleep at the Wheel, there are a ton, I keep thinking of more and more....these mostly were not homegrown artists, but the Scene they heard about drew them here and they, with countless fans and camp followers, made the Scene they came to find.

But if you have ten thousand genres, sub-genres, sub-sub-sub-genres, and artists who come and go like dust in the wind, existing mainly on the internet, there are precious few places for things to stick and accumulate and take on name and notoriety and bloom into a Scene.

Kids used to move to Austin, "to get into the music scene", and they still do, I guess, to some extent, but it's nothing like it used to be. Nashville is a Scene of sorts, but it's so corporatized and monetized - kids don't flock there to hang out - musicians move there hoping to find some springboard to the national or global scene. The Nashville "vibe" is more like applying to Harvard than running away to San Francisco.

Houston does have a Rap scene that's for real. So there's one. And there are who knows how many itty-bitty Scenes here and there, like house-concert circuits and or an Ambient Festival or the Bay Area electronic artists who tend to know a lot of of Bay Area electronic artists and like to identify as such.

But the great, grand Scenes of the past - things are now all exploded and distributed across the internet - the critical mass of a true Scene is close to impossible in this era at least as far as I can discern.

Nothing to do but just move on and work what's better in the here and now and leave the past to fond reminincing.

nat







Last edited by Nowarezman; 11/04/19 06:40 PM.
Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014915 11/04/19 07:42 PM
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Great post Nowarezman!

Up here we have a few little scenes but all the genres are well-worn, there is nothing new (yet).
Of course Bellingham is mostly known for Death Cab for Cutie but that train left the station a long time ago.

This is a college town but one thing that makes creating a scene here more difficult is that the Uni and the Technical college (2 of the 4 colleges here), don't have significant summer classes.
So lots of students go home (or somewhere) during the busiest season for music.


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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3014961 11/05/19 12:10 AM
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Genres tend to be backward looking. When a new song comes out, it isn't immediately identified as some newly designed genre. Musical styles go in a certain direction and after a while coalesce into a style that for whatever reason has some staying power and gets a name. So of course new music isn't going to be defined by some newly constructed genre.

Also I would say moving from the 90s through the early part of the 2000's you're overlooking Industrial, Dubstep, not to mention the changes in country and hip hop that may not have been officially named yet.

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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: J. Dead] #3015015 11/05/19 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
Genres tend to be backward looking.


In other words, new genres tend to be derivative. Influenced by a previous genre. Very hard to avoid, not meant in a bad way. Many times, some influence comes from a major label executive or producer so that the new style has some mass appeal.

Anyone can trace a genre back to a root style or artist. Most of it comes from blues or gospel or classical. Robert Johnson is cited as a major influence on blues music; while there were blues artists before him, you can't trace his style before him. Where did HE get it from? That's the thing that puzzles many musicologists.

Very very few genres or artists are truly original and not derivative. Kevin Gilbert (RIP) listened to a lot of prog rock; his music was original and not really derivative. You listen to Gilbert's stuff and you're hard pressed to trace it to a root style.

But it doesn't always translate to sales or fame. Johnson's music sold well, but people were slow to embrace Gilbert.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: J. Dead] #3015032 11/05/19 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead

Also I would say moving from the 90s through the early part of the 2000's you're overlooking Industrial, Dubstep, not to mention the changes in country and hip hop that may not have been officially named yet.


For me, industrial started in the 70s with Throbbing Gristle, and Wax Trax records was early 80s. I do think NIN brought something new to the party, but they were pre-1990.

Even though a lot of Dubstep traces back to garage/grime/etc., I'll grant that it qualifies as a genre. But it started pre-2000...I'm looking for something that started in the 2000s and 2010s.

I do think that genres can have relatively sharp dividing lines that are drawn within the space of a year. There are precursors, of course, but often there's a group or scene that lights a fire to the kerosene others already poured. For example the Sex Pistols didn't invent punk, but they opened the floodgates. Kraftwerk didn't invent electronic music, but Autobahn birthed a zillion sub-genres of EDM. And after Bob Marley was "discovered," again, there had been others doing similar music, but post-Marley saw everyone from the Police to Neil Diamond bringing reggae-tinged music into their acts.

I agree that hip-hop and country have evolved in new directions, but to my ears they've been evolutions, not revolutions. You could say the same thing about rock, I guess...the rock of the 50s isn't the rock of today, but there's still a base of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.

I dunno, I guess I'm just not seeing musicians striking out in any radical new directions. Then again, I'm not either...in many ways I'm not doing traditional rock or EDM, but I'm still building off both genres. I don't think that qualifies as something new, just something different.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Nowarezman] #3015035 11/05/19 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
Genres have been, historically, closely associated with (but not equivalent to) "Scenes" [snip] ...But the great, grand Scenes of the past - things are now all exploded and distributed across the internet - the critical mass of a true Scene is close to impossible in this era at least as far as I can discern.


You've very right about scenes serving as incubators for genres...like the psychedelic music coming out of San Francisco, the pop music British Invasion, etc.

I guess the question at this point is whether a scene can coalesce around something other than a geographical location. I can remember when the idea of streaming audio over the internet was not possible. Who knows how fast things will change in the next 20 years? Maybe there will be a nexus in, say, South Africa that you can visit virtually...and do anything from visit a club to hang out with musicians and shoot the breeze.

I mean, look at musicplayer...we're coalescing around something that's not a geographical location. But we have to communicate through text. Even adding images, audio, video, etc. is a hassle. The advantage of text is that it's permanent: You can come into this thread tomorrow, and find out what was said today. However, I think there's also room for the equivalent of real-time panel discussions...and of course, it could be stored for future review.

Wouldn't it be cool if we could go into your studio virtually, and all comment on some new song you played for us? Or loop the song, unattended, and people could post comments in a thread? I don't have any problem with missing some of what the past provided, but we can only imagine what the future will bring. When I said almost 25 years ago that physical media was doomed, people would tap into a celestial jukebox and stream music into their homes, and renting music would be the norm instead of buying it, most people thought I was crazy. But what I saw happening was tamer than what actually did happen!

Always in motion is the future smile

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: The Real MC] #3015036 11/05/19 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by J. Dead
Genres tend to be backward looking.


In other words, new genres tend to be derivative. Influenced by a previous genre. Very hard to avoid, not meant in a bad way. Many times, some influence comes from a major label executive or producer so that the new style has some mass appeal.

Anyone can trace a genre back to a root style or artist. Most of it comes from blues or gospel or classical. Robert Johnson is cited as a major influence on blues music; while there were blues artists before him, you can't trace his style before him. Where did HE get it from? That's the thing that puzzles many musicologists.

Very very few genres or artists are truly original and not derivative. Kevin Gilbert (RIP) listened to a lot of prog rock; his music was original and not really derivative. You listen to Gilbert's stuff and you're hard pressed to trace it to a root style.

But it doesn't always translate to sales or fame. Johnson's music sold well, but people were slow to embrace Gilbert.


Robert Johnson was hugely influenced by Charley Patton. As you mention, genres are derivative. Evolutionary if you will.


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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3015068 11/05/19 09:16 PM
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I think there's a huge difference between what the public thinks creativity is, and what artists think it is.

The public tends towards thinking that new music just sort of magically occurs when a unique individual comes along. Musicians understand the incremental evolution, all the borrowing, and the derivative nature of what feels fresh and new.

Of course, once in a blue moon, someone comes along who just seems like they flew in from Mars or someplace. Like Hendrix seemed in 1967 or thereabouts. Actually, I do think Thelonius Monk did actually fly in from Mars smile Debussy made just an incredible leap in what he did with late Romantic/Early Modern music.

I'm not sure there's much accounting for types like the ones cited above.

But for a more garden-variety explanation of musical evolution, it seems to me so often is that it's cross-pollination of prior genres. Like Ray Charles basically lifting black church music and singing about "This Little Girl of Mine" instead of "This Little Light of Mine."

But you can't, or at least I can't, just start mixing up stuff from genres, throwing in just whatever sounds different for the sake of difference, and come up with anything but garbage. But I can - just sometimes - hear how something from, say, Debussy, could easily translate into an EDM track. Or if you took the guitar sounds from Dr. Robert and made something like Terry Riley's "In C" from it, that just might work.

The people I know who do really ingenius and new-sounding things almost all put a lot of work into it, while at the same time, what they come up with seems, to them, to just obviously work. Even if no one else thinks so - at least at first.

There's a little vignette from the movie "Echo In the Canyon" (it's on Netflix now) where Roger McGuinn describes how he had this idea of merging folk with a beat like he heard in a Beach Boys song. He tried it out as a solo singer-songwriter in some L.A. clubs, but the folkie crowd absolutely did not go for it. But to him, he heard it, he knew it would work, so he persisted until he hooked up with other guys that could also hear how it worked, and viola, The Byrds were born. Folk-rock, a baby genre.

nat





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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: The Real MC] #3015075 11/05/19 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by J. Dead
Genres tend to be backward looking.


In other words, new genres tend to be derivative. Influenced by a previous genre. Very hard to avoid, not meant in a bad way. Many times, some influence comes from a major label executive or producer so that the new style has some mass appeal.


Not what I was saying, though it MAY be the case, but not necessarily. I only meant that they are named AFTER they exist, not before. It's not like somebody said one day "I'm going to invent a new genre and it's going to be called Rock n Roll".

Lots of new genres do have roots in previous music, but that doesn't mean it isn't a new genre just because you can trace its roots back to something else.

My point is just that something here or there that might currently just seem derivative of other stuff may not yet qualify as a genre, but as specific properties build momentum among multiple artists, 10 years from now we may look back on the 2010's and identify music as [insert new genre] even though we haven't invented that name, or classify it that way now.

Maybe it's just that we've all gotten to an age where anything we hear, we just blow off as already been done rather than consider it something new. I mean any of the electronic music over the decades, if it didn't resonate with you, could be blown off as "well Kraftwerk was already doing that in the 70s", so it doesn't count.

Honestly, though, I think genres have more historically been created by Radio Stations to target a specific market. Whether the programming is Modern Rock, Rock, or Classic Rock, when it boils down to it, really is determined by the target age demographic, nothing else. So probably our means of consuming music in the modern age has as much to do with it as anything.


Dan

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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: J. Dead] #3015090 11/06/19 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead

Maybe it's just that we've all gotten to an age where anything we hear, we just blow off as already been done rather than consider it something new. I mean any of the electronic music over the decades, if it didn't resonate with you, could be blown off as "well Kraftwerk was already doing that in the 70s", so it doesn't count.


I think a lot of it boils down to the degree of change in "something new." To take your example, there was electronic music before Kraftwerk. But, they changed it from a more academic/experimental emphasis to a more pop/dance context. To me, that's a significant enough difference that I felt they truly created a new genre. But also to your point, I don't think it get the "electro" name until other musicians started doing it, because they wanted to put a label on it instead of just saying "I sound like Kraftwerk" smile. I also think trance is a legit example of a new genre, but others might see it as not all that different from techno. Then there are the people who say "all blues sounds the same" or "all EDM sounds the same," and don't see any differences unless they are strikingly huge.

So I guess a lot of it is in the eye of the beholder. I'm looking for a big change, something radically different. Then again I'm a music junkie, so I'm always looking for a stronger high smile

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Nowarezman] #3015093 11/06/19 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
But to him, he heard it, he knew it would work, so he persisted until he hooked up with other guys that could also hear how it worked, and viola, The Byrds were born. Folk-rock, a baby genre.


I've always considered the Byrds as making music where if they had never existed, and showed up out of nowhere tomorrow playing exactly what they played over a half-century ago, their sound would still be considered fresh. They really did create a sound that was unique.

Gotta see "Echo in the Canyon," I've heard from others it's really good.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3015109 11/06/19 07:22 AM
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Hello. I just joined the forum. I will be glad to meet you. I really love music and have been playing the guitar for 10 years.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3015134 11/06/19 05:52 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Welcome! We love having new people participate, we can all learn so much from each other smile.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3016319 11/16/19 12:26 AM
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Rather than merely echo the comprehensive wisdom of the thread, I'd like to observe that the Eigenharp is a wildly impressive alternate controller, yet the demos always seemed to be ambient or known show-off items, such as the oppressively overused "On The Run" loop. I like the concept, which is alluring, but do you see anyone playing an Eigenharp, anywhere? No. Its too boutique-alien and most people can't connect the act of playing it with the resulting sound. That could have led to a wild new genre with an expressive core, but if you can't get people to grasp your language, your poetry is still going to sound like a rave for crows. idk I'm hoping MPE will keep its footing, but I'm still waiting for someone to wail on it in a manner that makes enough ears perk up.


I got kicked out of Riverdance for using my arms. ~ Gary Valentine
Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: David Emm] #3016350 11/16/19 01:02 PM
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What is “Indie” music? Is there something identifiable in the sound or song construction that makes it indie? Or is it just a process? My daughter and wife are into Indie but since I’m not familiar with most of these bands or songs I can’t tell just by listening they’re not from 20 years ago or more.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Markyboard] #3016421 11/17/19 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
What is “Indie” music? Is there something identifiable in the sound or song construction that makes it indie?


"Indie" is short for "independent," meaning music that isn't something that a major label can sell profitably. Its not that it isn't "good" music, it's just not mainstream. It tends to lean heavily toward singer/songwriters and soloists or small groups rather than full bands - though sometimes an "indie" artist will produce songs with full band accompaniment - which doesn't necessarily make them any more marketable to or by major labels. With a lot of indie music, the only thing that's different from one song or one artist to another is the words, though there are some indie instrumental artists, but not many.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3016426 11/17/19 02:07 AM
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Thanks Mike- I actually did Google it before posting to see if I was missing something obvious. The thing is unsigned soloists, duos and small groups playing non mainstream music (at the time) goes way back. And of course they didn’t start out being signed to some label. So perhaps it’s just a newer term for the same old thing? It almost sounds like Indie is today’s term for what my parents referred to as beatnik musicians, those that played small clubs doing their own material and not making a whole lot of money.

Also what about the more successful artist like St Vincent and Arctic Monkeys? Do they lose the Indie label after a certain amount of exposure/success?

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3016429 11/17/19 04:10 AM
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I have sort of a love/hate relationship with genre identification - I've posted many threads on the KC over the years asking how people would classify certain specific types of music. Usually the reason why I do it is because it makes it easier to identify similar music that I have not discovered if you can put a label on it. That said, generally I think labels suck and some are just really stupid. I remember subscribing to Rolling Stone magazine and seeing them list "Top 10 Alternative". What is that? Is the #1 Alternative, the MOST alternative? Wouldn't that be LEAST popular? If musicians wore earplugs while they wrote a song so that even they didn't hear it as they wrote it, then put the recording in an envelope and buried it in the ground, could you get any more Alternative than that? Wouldn't that be #1? Never made sense to have top 10 of stuff decidedly not pop. Later they changed it to "college rock" which made a little more sense, but is still not a genre, it's a demographic. If you want a new genre, I can create one for you right now. That doesn't mean you or anybody else will like it, or that it will be liked by enough people be more than a blip on the radar.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Markyboard] #3016448 11/17/19 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
The thing is unsigned soloists, duos and small groups playing non mainstream music (at the time) goes way back. And of course they didn’t start out being signed to some label. So perhaps it’s just a newer term for the same old thing?


That's one way of looking at it.

At one time, the only way to put out a record was either as a vanity record or on a "label." This meant that, although there were still plenty of "unsigned artists" playing clubs and shows, there were far fewer records made. Now that anyone can make and distribute a "record" from his spare bedroom or garage, there are millions of these recordings thrust on the public. Now, it's not just a music hobbyist or aspiring recording star, it's a "thing." These days, there has to be a name for every "thing," so the keeper of all names gave us "independent artist," which sounds pretty respectable - better than "vanity pressing" or "unsigned."

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3016449 11/17/19 02:28 PM
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I get it. Can’t wait to tell my daughter that I’m an Indie artist. Certain to cover my weekly dose of “You suck Dad!” gofish grin

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3016460 11/17/19 04:32 PM
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Humans need genres, music is something most people don't really know much about and it is much easier to describe something as "Post-neo-industrial with bluegrass influences" than it is to explain what it is they think they heard.
I'll grant everybody a pass since I find it impossible to describe most music in a way that the person who hears it has any idea what I am trying to say.

I've had people tell me I play guitar like Frank Zappa. I don't.
I had somebody thank me for playing the Bowie cover. It was something I wrote.

If they come to hear the music, have a good time and tell their friends then I am happy. The psuedo-specifics don't matter in the slightest.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3016477 11/17/19 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
...but is still not a genre, it's a demographic.


That's a really interesting point - the overlap between a demographic and an associated genre. Like when I think of punk, I think disaffected younger people in population centers. For "new age," I think middle-aged white people. Granted, those are stereotypes, but they're probably not all that far off. Even the name "urban" sounds more like a demographic than a musical style.

Maybe the classical music people have it right by classifying a lot of music based on the period, like baroque, renaissance, etc. We could have periods too - like the "acoustic guitar" period (folk music), the "people taking drugs" period for the 60s, and "the synthesizer period" for the 80s smile

Quote
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with genre identification - I've posted many threads on the KC over the years asking how people would classify certain specific types of music. Usually the reason why I do it is because it makes it easier to identify similar music that I have not discovered if you can put a label on it. That said, generally I think labels suck and some are just really stupid.


Well said. Genres are indeed useful for broad strokes with well-defined genres - like if someone says they play classical music or hard-core techno, you have an idea of the lay of the land. But labels can also set up expectations that are not accurate. Several people asked me what genre my Joie de Vivre project was, and I said it was "EDM meets rock." The people into EDM said it was too much like rock, and the rock people said it was too EDM for them. The people who liked both genres liked it. But if I hadn't set people up with those two genres as a means of comparison, maybe the EDM and rock people would have not know what to expect, and drawn their own conclusions.

Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Anderton] #3018010 12/01/19 02:55 AM
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Good discussion. I've been thinking about this myself lately. Funny thing is, I'm can't really think of a "unique", new genre/style that doesn't exist somewhere, somehow. Microtonal stuff and time signatures are taken care of in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. FWIW I'm a huge fan of Balkan folk music. There's a lot there that's been largely ignored by the western world.

Thinking we do need some new instrument types to spawn new genres. But what? And it would have to become popular enough over time too...


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Re: Any Theories Why There Haven't Been New Musical Genres? [Re: Mighty Motif Max] #3018044 12/01/19 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
Good discussion. I've been thinking about this myself lately. Funny thing is, I'm can't really think of a "unique", new genre/style that doesn't exist somewhere, somehow. Microtonal stuff and time signatures are taken care of in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. FWIW I'm a huge fan of Balkan folk music. There's a lot there that's been largely ignored by the western world.


I agree, there are a lot of styles out in the world that haven't gotten traction elsewhere. Paul Simon's Graceland wasn't a "new" genre, but like they said in the old commercials for NBC..."If you haven't seen it before, it's new to you."

Quote
Thinking we do need some new instrument types to spawn new genres. But what? And it would have to become popular enough over time too...


I think that happened with rap (using turntables as musical instruments), and a lot of EDM just wouldn't sound right on kazoos and ukuleles smile I'd like to see a controller like the LinnStrument get traction. It might not create a new genre by itself, but it can certainly extend the electronic genre into more expressive realms. Ditto the ROLI keyboard and a few other alternate controllers .

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