How specific should genres be?

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I looked at the current list of genre tags, and am not sure how specific the genres are supposed to be. For example, the current list includes the following genres in the Western classical tradition (example just because I’m familiar with it):

  • baroque
  • classical
  • contemporary classical
  • modern classical
  • opera
  • post-classical
  • symphony

That is, well, a mess. The presence of baroque, modern, and contemporary, seem like we’re being somewhat specific — we’re not going to lump together 1,000–1,500 years of music as one genre. But then we’re missing romantic, a rather shocking omission considering its popularity (of course it has other meanings too, making for tagging fun).

There is also weirdness; “symphony” isn’t really a genre (unless that’s some non-classical genre I’m not familiar with). And “opera” is very broad — a bit over 400 years of music there. “Post-classical” is either confused or broad; does that mean everything after c. 1800?

That said… I’m not sure how much hope there is in getting it all tagged as anything but “classical” :sob:

Neither do we :slight_smile: The list is certainly not perfect. I’m happy to add “romantic”, for example, although given it’s just implemented via tags, as you said, I’m not sure it wouldn’t end up accidentally applying to both Beethoven and Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose”. But I guess “romantic classical” just sounds stupid (just like “classical classical”, which we would probably need for Mozart to distinguish it from the generic “classical”) :slight_smile:

Opera IMO makes some sense. I’m not sure “symphony” does, although “symphonic” might - I think that might just have slipped in because of it being an Allmusic genre. I’m happy to remove that one.

In general, please add style tickets for new genres (or things that really don’t look like genres) as mentioned on the blog post, and I’ll look into it :slight_smile:

It all will certainly get tagged as “classical” - which is fine. It should also get tagged with other appropriate genres, that’s the whole point of being able to have many :slight_smile:

“Post-classical” is the label I’ve seen applied to things like Max Richter. It might be that nobody uses the tag - that’d be fine by me :slight_smile: But right now it has quite a few uses in MB.

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I personally think we should have both very broad genres (e.g., “classical”) and very narrow ones (e.g., “contemporary classical symphonic with influences of baroque and a touch of east european traditional” (okay, maybe not that narrow :smiley:)).

You tag with whatever tags you would like a given entity to have. Broad or narrow or anywhere in between. As many or as few tags as you want. Some of these tags will “ascend” to genres (either immediately or at a later point) and some may not. The API allows for people to both extract the current “consensus” (the folksonomy part), but also to just get your own tags (and genres).

If you do this and everyone else does this, then everything that people want tagged will be tagged with the tags that people want.


Agree with this. “Broad” tagging is needed for someone looking in from the outside. I don’t know Opera music that well, so would need the WHOLE category tagged as Opera. And then the real aficionados would know all the smaller sub-categories.

And this is the same when a Classical musician looks at Rock music. They see lots of noisy bands from one side, but from the inside we know the difference between Thrash and Grunge and Alternate and Punk and Folk etc.

While overlapping all of this are generic terms like “romantic” which are going to be relevant to all types of music.

The biggest problem with Genre is it is very personal. So I am all for as many genre tags as possible to be attached to bands\albums\tracks. The more opinions, the clearer the picture gets. And the more tags then the better my music player can then select music for me.