Since I had at least a stab at trying to explain different sorts of classical music... could somebody help me with the reverse?
Now, I know, I know, pop music genre categorisation can get fractal and contentious. But I'm not looking for tiny dividing lines or controversial pedantries between subsubsubsubgenres. I'm just looking for some big-picture guidelines. Because I've realised that most categories, I'm not sure how to tell them apart.
So, if you could, could you point out a few of the most obvious characteristics that decide what genre something falls into?
Let's just start with Grammy top-level categories.
Question 1: what is "pop"?.
Question 2: what is "traditional pop", and how does it relate to pop? (recent nominees include Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Willie Nelson, Andrea Boccelli (!?), and Seth MacFarlane (who I didn't even know was a pop star, but he's been nominated at least four times))).
Question 3: what is "contemporary instrumental"? I don't think of pop as being about instruments. What makes it different from dance, electronica (the grammies conflate "dance/electronica", which surprised me), or indeed classical?
Question 4: what are the lines between "R&B", "traditional R&B", "urban contemporary", and "rap"? It seems as though many of the same people get nominated for all these categories.
b) Meanwhile, what's the difference between "R&B" and "pop" (a bunch of people have been nominated for both), and between "traditional R&B" and "traditional pop" (CeeLo Green, for instance, has been nominated for both).
c) What's the connexion between "R&B" and what used to be called rhythm and blues?
d) What's the difference between "R&B" and "dance"?
Question 5: what's the difference between "rock" and "pop" (or "traditional pop")? Is "rock" just old pop that Tony Bennet isn't involved in?
Question 6: what's the difference between "rock" and "metal"? Is it just the use of raspy/breathy phonation by the singers?
b) the category's been removed, but where does hard rock fit in?
Question 7: what's "alternative" music? How does it differ from "rock" and "pop"? The rubric says that it must "exist outside of the mainstream", which suggests Weird Stuff... but nominees include Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Radiohead, Sinead O'Connor, The Arctic Monkeys, Gnarls Barkley and David Bowie (i.e. many of the bestselling popstars?)
b) it's not a Grammy category, but a genre people seem to talk about: what's "indie"? how is it distinguished from pop, rock, or alternative?
Question 8: what is the difference between: country; bluegrass; american roots; americana; folk; regional roots? I'm kind of surprised to see that country is considered a different top-level genre from the one comprising all those other things.
Question 9: I'm also kind of surprised to see "blues" included with folk and americana, rather than with, say, jazz. what are the differences between "blues", "traditional blues", "traditional R&B" and "jazz"? And it's not a category, but where does soul fit in?
Question 10: "Latin". Is it just a racial/ethnic genre? Is it a linguistic genre (lyrics not in english)? Or is there some sort of musical distinction? In particular, is "tropical Latin" just a political place-of-birth distinction, or an actual stylistic genre? Why is "latin jazz" considered a type of jazz, while "latin pop" isn't considered a type of "pop"?
Question 11: Is there any clear definition of "world music"? I was thinking it would be things outside the european tradition, but nominees have included Irish, French, and even American music. Why is reggae, for instance, not considered world music? Are Latin songs automatically excluded? Somehow, Yo-Yo Ma IS included, though...
Thanks for your help...
But the river tripped on her by and by, lapping
as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!