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zompist bboard • View topic - Pop music genres - help?

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:18 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:09 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:54 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:01 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:59 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Ah, music taxonomy! I have spent more time and thought than probably was good for me in this business. I as a prog fan (who is also working on a book on that matter, which includes a guide to prog subgenres) used to fight an uphill battle against the misuse of the term "prog rock" until I realized that in alternative rock circles, this means something else than in classic rock circles, and I had been fighting windmills all the time! (In classic rock, it is the same thing as "progressive rock" or "prog"; in alternative rock, it is "alternative rock that has some similarities with prog".)

There are a few observations to make:

1. All classifications of popular music are contentious, as different people use different criteria and use the same terms for different style categories. As in the "prog rock" case above. I shall give two more examples here. If you compare the and Wikipedia pages on "progressive house", one cannot escape the notion that these two pages are about different subgenres (well, may just be a regional or language-specific difference). Heavy metal is sometimes classified by sound and sometimes by lyrics content, which sometimes clash, as with Amon Amarth, a death metal band by sound but a Viking metal band by lyrics content.

2. There are no hard and fast boundaries but everything just shades into everything else, especially in these times of virtually unlimited crossovers.

3. Each genre has its own criteria for classification which may be utterly irrelevant to other genres. Obviously, a classification by lyrics content does not apply to instrumental music. In EDM, the bpm number is an important criterion, due to the way this music is usually presented in public, while in many other genres, the same act may do pieces with very different bpm numbers that nevertheless fall in the same subgenre, have the bpm number change within a single song, or make music without a running beat at all such that no bpm number can be meaningfully discerned.

4. Most classifications, as a corollary of point 3, are hard to recapulate by people who are not experts in the relevant genre. Like, I, who cares very little of EDM at all, can't really tell house from techno, let alone name the differences between the 100+ subgenres that are distinguished by insiders.

And finally, Grammy Award categories may look like genres, but they aren't. They are just named after them. There is just one reason why an act A is in category X: because someone nominated them for it. This may sound like begging the question, but it is the only way to explain how someone like Lady Gaga may wind up in "alternative".

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:18 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:41 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:39 pm 
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Last edited by Ryusenshi on Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:23 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:00 am 
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Yeah, that seems to be correct. Lady Gaga doesn't fit with your definition, but she only ended up on the list because she did a duet with Tony Bennett, who does.

Edit: by the way, I just looked at the Grammy awards for "hard rock" and "metal". The difference seems to be "for each band, flip a coin to decide whether it fits into hard rock or metal this year".


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:41 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:58 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:53 pm 
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Thank you for your correction, linguoboy. I wasn't aware that Salmoneus was in error on this point.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 6:30 pm 
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Sorry for delayed response.

I'm just going to collect up a few bits from this thread side-by-side to help me think about them clearly.


Pop vs Rock vs Metal

[quote=Zomp]
Or: it's rock that doesn't really offend anyone-- you and your mother can both enjoy it... Whatever exactly you add to pop to get rock... if you add a lot more of that, you get hard rock... you can't play it for Mom at all. Add even more and you get metal.[/quote]

[quote=Zomp][pop=] More vocals, less drums, more danceable, arguably kind of insipid. [rock= ] Louder, more banging drums, the singer sounds angrier][/quote]

[quote=Zomp]the Beatles are pop, the Rolling Stones are rock.[/quote]

[quote=Soap]Pop music seems to be much faster-paced, with higher tones and a predominance of female singers... Pop music is much more likely to play at a retail store becuase of its softer and less intrusive sound, and perhaps also the general brighter mood. Some rocks songs will play, but they will be played quietly[/quote]

[quote=Ryu][pop=] Short, 3-minutes songs with a catchy chorus. [rock=]Rock is music based on drums and electric guitars. [metal=] defined by its guitar tones more than its style of vocals. Metal has heavy, distorted guitars; loud, binary drums; a darker imagery [rock vs metal:]if the guitarist uses pentatonic scales, the drummer uses its hi-hat a lot, and the vocalist sings about girls and cars, it's probably hard rock; if the guitar sounds like a low grumble and uses minor scales, the drummer uses a double bass drum, and the vocalist sings about death and Satan, it's probably metal.[/quote]

[quote=WE][metal=]It is usually characterized by riff-based compositions, heavily distorted guitars, harsh vocals, fortissimmo playing, and lyrics about things as war, death and other "dark" subjects. Hard rock is also a subgenre of rock which is similar to metal, but less so.[/quote]


OK, so I get then that metal has "heavily distorted guitars", raspy/harsh singing, minor scales (interesting!). A few clarifications, though:
- I thought heavily distorted guitars were a characteristic of 'rock' (or 'pop') from the '60s/'70s in general? Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Hendrix, etc?
[as an example of what I mean, . . .etc.]
So is this something that's common to metal and old-style pop/rock/etc, or am I missing a key difference here?

- what are "binary drums"?

- I'm less sold on the sociological indicators. On pop being 'inoffensive' - isn't all popular music basically inoffensive? Other than Nazi metal and the really homophobic strains of some Caribbean music, I guess. The 'Mom' criterion, as hans notes, probably doesn't work for modern generations, including mine. [it's true that my mother doesn't like any of that stuff - she was a folk kid rather than a rock kid - but that's not really a generational thing]. And the stuff they play in shops sounds pretty rocky/metally to me usually - or its the really depressing everything-sounds-like-coldplay-now stuff. Maybe I go to the wrong shops.

- rock as music based on drums and electric guitars seems to make sense at first... but isn't almost all pop music based on drums and electric guitars, and sometimes keyboards of some sort? At least, up until the invention of synthesised fake-drums?

- incidentally, if the music "sounds like a low grumble and uses minor scales, the drummer uses a double bass drum, and the vocalist sings about death and Satan, it's probably" ... well, (or occasionally even ).



Additional question: where do such things as grunge and garage rock fit into this?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:46 pm 
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Belated comment: I think it's a bit weird that the term "rock" covers both 1950s rock'n roll and hard rock, but not metal. I've got the impression that hard rock is musically closer to metal than to 1950s rock'n roll.

Oh, and while we're talking music genres - years ago, when I still occasionally bought music from Amazon, I once bought the original version of Dancing in the Street", and I noticed that apparently Amazon had classified the song's genre as "Rap & Hip Hop". WTF? Ok, by now it's well possible that someone, somewhere has made a hip hop version of that song, but the original version? I strongly suspect that some Amazon employee had trouble telling the different music styles commonly associated with black people apart.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:07 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:43 am 
Avisaru
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As a side observation, I've got the early Blues Gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson in my collection. When I listened to some of his stuff ("God moves on the water", "John the Revelator", "If I had my way I'd tear the building down") I realised I'd discovered the origin of rap!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:24 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:28 am 
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jk this thread is about transcendental black metal now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhpOQsYMFIM

sal i await ur response to hunter hunt-hendrix's e-famous e-manifesto "Transcendental Black Metal: A Vision of Apocalyptic Humanism". it cites meillassoux iirc. wat is ur take on Renihilation... must the Haptic Void be transcended or is it all postcolonial nationalist dreck?? bone thugs n burzum am i Rite

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:59 am 
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