TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What are musical genres?

We have had words like pop, jazz, rock, hip-hop, R&B, funk, and so on for many years. Now we have starting getting bored with single genres and seem to be looking to integrate different styles together such as "acoustic-acid-jazz," or "alternative-prog-rock" or "african-metal-jazz." With so much interbreeding of styles in this modern world, the question I always wonder is what are these genres in the first place? If there are rules or parameters, have we broken them? If they are broken, is the song not that genre anymore?

How do we categorize something this subjective in our heads? WHAT IS GOING ON?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jun 26 2011: I think they are just convenient terms of reference. These days, it's seems driven by branding more than anything else.

    There's a lot of people out there that like music because they feel the genre represents them in some way rather than for the pure enjoyment of the song.
    • Jun 26 2011: It seems like a chicken and egg problem. Does the music make the people feel it defines them, or do the people choose the music, which in tern makes the music have the certain reputation/identity?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.