Hi all, sorry to make my first post here kind of spammy but I need some help from the classical music community.
I've built a website called Know Your Genre. Essentially it provides musical examples of all the different music genres in the world (at least the 335 I have added so far). What is lacking is the classical music section. I have around 5 or 6 different categories of classical music but these need to be more finely grained. I also need examples of songs for each.
The site doesn't require a login to add songs or vote up/down good examples of songs, and it should be pretty quick and painless to use if you're interested.
I guess in classical as in other forms of music there's no clear deliniation of genres unless you define genres by the classical periods (eg. Early, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Early Romantic, Late Romantic, 20th Century/Modern). But then you have a different categorisation of musical styles also (orchestral, chamber, opera, cantata, ballet, lieder, impressionist, 12-tone, atonal, minimalist, serialist, etc etc).
The first probably is more consistent in terms of defining the style of all the music within that genre, but If you use that second you will find broad similarity in traditional forms used and stylistically.
I think it would be most accurate that the period description is used as "style": Renaissance (substyles: early middle, late), Baroque (early baroque, late baroque, rococo, Strum und Drang), preclassical, classical etc.
and the form on which is executed on stage "genre": opera (sub: seria, buffa, comédie musicale, operetta), symphonic (symphony, tone-poem, ouverture), vocal (mass, motet, madrigal)....
But if were looking at popular music it is reversed. Metal is a different genre from blues, but they both write for similar medium. If the site in question distinguishes between metal, blues, classic rock as genres - then I believe the various classical styles should be distinguished by period on the site.
Genre in popular music is definitely defined (I think over-defined nowadays) by musical style. And musical style in classical music is defined by period. In the twentieth century you can get pieces in lots of styles within the same period, though I suppose there are more dominant/emerging/famous styles at some points.
Understanding styles can help a listener understand the aim and argument of a piece of music. But if they are too narrowly defined perhaps it can forget about the development, creativity and mix of different things there can be within a style.
I'm a bit confused as there is a minimalism section and a contemporary classical section, surely some peices should come under both these as contemporary classical is an umbrella term? (of which minimalism is underneath)
The term "genre" simply denotes a sub-group. Music can be categorized in many ways: by time period, by region, by style, by form. Genre in classical music, as I have usually heard the term employed, commonly refers to the form: quartet, quintet, madrigal, violin sonata, fugue, opera seria, etc... Romanticism or the Renaissance are not usually spoken of as "genre" but eras or periods in history. One can choose to still compose in the genre of the concerto grosso, but one cannot elect to compose within the genre of the Baroque.
If speaking of genre, classical music might be best broken into larger categories: Choral Music, Opera, Chamber Music and then into smaller genre or forms within that:
You can visualise the categorisations we have talked about as a huge venn diagram with many sub-groups and overlaps. I think the way the site is organised it could contain both musical period and style/form, one piece coule be attached to more than one.