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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

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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.


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.

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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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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."

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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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I think the lack of a broad, decade-defining genre is a result of the relative maturity of this type of music. It really hasn't been that long since the Beatles...I wonder how many "genres" of classical have either been lost because time smooths over the differentiators. We may, as a society, reach the point where ABBA and NIN are just lumped into the same genre.

Taxonomies evolve from atomically granular to rationally generalized over time. We are somewhere in between...at a stage where almost any new thing can be defined with a compound term: Synthwave, Triphop, Pirate Metal, etc.


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Originally Posted by zeronyne
I wonder how many "genres" of classical have either been lost because time smooths over the differentiators. We may, as a society, reach the point where ABBA and NIN are just lumped into the same genre.


You're probably correct..."oh right, that music that started in the late 20th century with drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals."

Who knows if, 200 years from now, reggae will be regarded as a different genre of music, or put in there with ABBA and NIN? But we do have one advantage over classical composers: we have recordings of the music. People still debate whether Bach intended much of his music to have swing, and that it wasn't as metronomic as people think. The theory is that it was something kind of understood, so there was no need to notate it. Maybe there was a sub-genre of composers who preferred a more metronomic approach, while others didn't. We'll never know. Even I wasn't alive back then.

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Taxonomies evolve from atomically granular to rationally generalized over time. We are somewhere in between...at a stage where almost any new thing can be defined with a compound term: Synthwave, Triphop, Pirate Metal, etc.


Pirate metal is a new one on me...! Arrrr-TWANG!

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There are plenty of new genres (some are arguably subgenres): Footwork, Vaporwave, Dark/Doom Jazz, Dark/Doom Ambient, Cute Metal (Kawai core), Witch House, Stoner Metal/Rock. Electro Swing, Trap, Chillstep, many subgenres of dub,ambient, hip hop and electronica. There are also new names for older music such as Habibi Funk and Psychedelic Cumbia etc.

I have found YouTube and Wire magazine to be good sources for new genres.

I think our culture is too diverse and fragmented for one genre to dominate as it did during the Elvis/Beatles era. The Elvis/Beatles era coincided with an unusual increase in the population of young people that gave that generation a disproportionate amount of cultural influence. Now it is easier for older people to be oblivious to the latest youth trends.

The entertainment industry now tends to sell blockbusters (ie. Top 40 pop) or niche products (ie any of the many genres mentioned) without much of a middle ground that is likely to develop into something more mainstream. However, when I am forced to listen to pop music, I often hear elements from relatively obscure styles of the recent past that trickled up into pop music.

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Originally Posted by hard truth
The entertainment industry now tends to sell blockbusters (ie. Top 40 pop) or niche products (ie any of the many genres mentioned) without much of a middle ground that is likely to develop into something more mainstream.

Yeah, that's kind of what I was looking for. When you think of all the mutant strains of dance music that have evolved over the years (Psy Goa Garage Trance, anyone?), you'd think one of them would have broken out. I guess trance did to some extent, and techno had its moment in the sun. We have a lot of sub-genres for sure, but I'm thinking of something like disco, which kind of came out of nowhere.

Another possibility is that we are exposed so much to a rich tapestry of all kinds of music and permutations that we have all we need to have a 24/7 satisfying musical experience. We don't really need anything "new" because there's so much from the present and past we haven't heard yet, and would seem "new" to us.

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what if there are new genres developing, somewhere, but we're simply not hearing them, because there's no marketing engine behind them?


Actually, that’s exactly what’s happening...at least in the sense of the explosion of subgenres and sub-subgenres: Dubstep, Brostep, djent, mumble rap, trap, darkwave, witch house, Black MIDI, Japanoise, Gothic/Horror country, lowercase, 1-Bit, chap-hop, Danger Music, vaporwave, mathcore, Gabber, Gabber Speedcore, Nintendocore, bounce, breakcore/hardcore jungle, horrorcore, pornogrind, coldwave, and a bunch more have sprung up in the past 2 decades.

Some of these REALLY don’t belong on radio or other mainstream outlets, nor could they survive much scrutiny beyond their dark little corners of fandom.

Others? There are definitely bands I have found nestled in those genres I listed that I love to pieces...and some my soon to be 74yo former music teacher Mom digs as well.


EDIT: partly ninja’d.

Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; 01/22/20 09:42 AM.

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AFAIK they're mostly sub-genres, though, and many of the ones in the past turned out to be more like fads than something lasting like rock, jazz, reggae, EDM, hip-hop, etc. I don't see a lot of Goa Psych Hard Trance music these days... smile

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A genre is a genre, regardless of its duration, IMHO.


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