Understanding Genre Part 1

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Genre refers to the various groups or classifications songs belong to. It refers to a particular style that makes music different from one another. Many at times, people (even artistes) find it difficult to identify the genre of song they perform or what group to classify a song. Thus, it becomes necessary to talk about this aspect of music.

There are various ways of classifying songs and some of the criteria used overtime in song classifications are:

  1. Instrumentation
  2. Geographical orientation
  3. Period
  4. Beat sequence

INSTRUMENTATION: This talks about the various instruments involved in the production of a song. Sometimes, the genre of a song can completely be changed by simply altering the instrumentals. The most dominant instrument or the instrument that drives the flow of the song determines the genre to which it is categorized.

GEOGRAPHICAL ORIENTATION: The origin of the song also goes a long way in determining the genre a song belongs to, a song genre could have its origin from Africa, Jamaica, Asia e.t.c.

PERIOD: Period means time and in song genre it means the time the song was released. There are old generation songs (old Schools) and today we have new generation songs all depending on the period the song was released.

BEAT SEQUENCE: The presence and absence of beat in a song, the tempo of the beat (if present) and the technicality of the beat can also be used in classifying songs.

The major genres of music are discussed below;

  1. CLASSICAL: All classical songs are string driven and the major instruments that drive a classical song are the violin, viola, piano. In a classical song, it’s hard to come by any form of guitar or drum. Beats are absent in classical songs. All opera performance falls into this category.
  2. ROCK: The rock song is identified majorly by its electric guitar sound. A rock song is mostly driven by the electric guitar and the acoustic guitar. Depending on the song writer’s choice, the tempo of the song can vary.
  3. R N B: Also known as rhythms and blues involves a lot of instruments (keyboard, Lead, Bass, Violin, drum and many more), but mostly it is keyboard driven depending on the song writer’s choice. It has a slow tempo and can sometimes be sung without beats. In time past it is referred to as ‘soul music’ or ‘blues’…….to be continued


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