The Labyrinth of Genre
December 14, 2011 6:23 AM   Subscribe

The Labyrinth of Genre A browseable and searchable map of music genres, with short samples.
posted by Deathalicious (22 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is kind of cool, and kind of confusing. The tree-like presentation confused me at first until I realized that the trees just kept going. (Is Americana really a branch of Freak-Folk?) I wish they had figured out a less implicitly hierarchical way to present it. Some of the other choices are strange, Outlaw Country is connected to rockabilly, southern rock, blues, guitar, and roots. In this context I would expect roots to be old timey country, but it's actually reggae? I may be missing a connection that is otherwise obvious, but I don't hear that at all in any of the outlaw country I listen to. Or vice versa.
posted by OmieWise at 6:34 AM on December 14, 2011

Ouch. That seems like some pretty egregious default case mishandling.
posted by ignignokt at 6:35 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

ignignokt: "Ouch. That seems like some pretty egregious default case mishandling."

I'm hoping the whole Death + Paris Hilton thing was just aspirational.

But, yeah, my wife agrees that many of these classifications are a bit silly. I still found it interesting and useful, especially since I don't know jack about music.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:38 AM on December 14, 2011

It would be helpful if one could mute the samples. Auto-play without a user control is a big oversight.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:44 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Genre - with its single dimensional classification and lack of agreed standards - has always seemed like a peculiarly crappy way to classify music. It might have been a reasonable solution when browsing through a large bricks and mortar record store - but even then the further reaches of the branches seemed to be at the whim of marketing people rather than listeners or artists.
posted by rongorongo at 7:01 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

All roads lead to everywhere.
posted by kozad at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I hate it when people ask me what genre of music I listen to - or phrase it similarly. I find it oddly personal and embarassing and inaccurate to answer, or want to make up silly genres to describe the bands I'm listening to.

Oh right now I'm into post-Arizona. I'm really enjoying exploring late 70's Waylon burlesque, and also dust-fusion Wyoming bluegrass.

Seriously, just name some fucking bands you're listening to. It's way more accurate and descriptive in a way that a genre never can be. I mean, if you're listening to Wilco you could describe that it's 'Americana later morped more completely with mid-70s Steely Dan-inspired mid-tempo rock' or you could just fucking say Wilco.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:17 AM on December 14, 2011

Genre crossovers are now common as dirt, so a genre is really more like a tag than a category.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:20 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The samples for the various jazz genres are just wrong. Bill Evans for be-bop?
posted by Steakfrites at 7:26 AM on December 14, 2011

Genre still offers a broad description of what one might expect, sonically. many bands use an accordion, but few of those are polka, for instance. Sticking these genres into this sort of tree is really a matter of preference, though. Still a cool website, and excellent for cross referencing and exploring. Rock on!
posted by Donkey_Unicorn at 7:29 AM on December 14, 2011

Somehow I followed contemporary classical: string quartet and the only place that went to was jazz. But I like both things so I'm going to allow it.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:33 AM on December 14, 2011

The Discogs approach to genre/style makes a lot of sense, though I have yet to adopt it for tagging my own music library.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:40 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm finding the classifications interesting: indietronica, indie electronica, and Indietronic all have their own branches on the tree, which seems like extraordinarily fine parsing to me. And there's no bounce, no Baltimore club and no go-go (and no go-go post on Metafilter yet?), so I guess they're not getting into regional microgenres.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:42 AM on December 14, 2011

This is cute, but I'm not sure how to derive anything useful from it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:47 AM on December 14, 2011

Is this using last fm tags or something like that? Seems like the genres are (badly) crowd sourced - like the paris hilton thing and it listed MF Doom as a genre with no branches.
posted by pmcp at 8:05 AM on December 14, 2011

Also apparently Jurassic 5 are grime (a subgenre or garage-rock).
posted by pmcp at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2011

separate categories for progressive rock and prog rock?
posted by helion at 8:45 AM on December 14, 2011

Of course, music means rock. I learned that that the various forms of baroque music are rock, indie, euro, jazz, metal and classic rock.
posted by charlesminus at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2011

I hate trying to label music by genre. The most painful part of the entire process of creating music and putting it online is when I'm asked what genre the music is. How should I know what genre my music is? I honestly have no idea.
posted by The World Famous at 9:19 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I started out with pop rock and tried to find a route to classical. I took a long detour through death metal before finally getting to Beethoven after 27 steps. There may be the basis for a Kevin Bacon type game here.
posted by night_train at 9:24 AM on December 14, 2011

The Paris Hilton Death Metal tag was social tagging vandalism. And pretty funny, at that. It's interesting that this is a new site that still includes that tag, as supposedly fixed it. (It's almost certain that's where the data for this came from.)
posted by nosila at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

Genre is a listener-side phenomenon.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:43 AM on December 15, 2011

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