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Thread: How to identify the following genre of music?

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    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Default How to identify the following genre of music?

    I always have trouble identifying the following genre of music.

    - R&B
    - Soul
    - Soft Rock
    - Country

    For R&B and Soul, I couldn't differentiate them from Pop music.
    What made some slow soft songs considered as soft rock? Because of certain musical instrument use in it?
    What about country? I've heard some songs labeled as country songs and again can't differentiate them from pop.

    Anyone can help me?
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    I always have trouble identifying the following genre of music.

    - R&B
    - Soul
    - Soft Rock
    - Country

    For R&B and Soul, I couldn't differentiate them from Pop music.
    What made some slow soft songs considered as soft rock? Because of certain musical instrument use in it?
    What about country? I've heard some songs labeled as country songs and again can't differentiate them from pop.

    Anyone can help me?
    Some of the classifications are fairly arbitrary and not clearly defined, but in the broadest terms, this is how they are distinguished:

    R&B: Generally performed by African-American performers, although performers of other ethnicities are not unknown. Originally, this music was more up-tempo, and was one of the foundations of what later came to be known as "rock 'n roll." It's a very broad term that encompasses many rhythm-based popular music styles from the 1950s onward. Key performers: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Beyonce

    Soul: Similar to R&B in most ways, but more focused on vocal stylings and closer to the roots of traditional African-American music, whereas R&B generally makes a few more concessions to pop. This genre has largely been absorbed into R&B since the 1980s. Key performers: James Brown, Al Green

    Soft Rock: Generally performed by white musicians, and composition rather than vocal styling comes to the fore. Piano, guitars, drums, keyboards, and other "rock" instruments are important to the sound. Most soft rock performers also have roots in harder rock. Key performers: The Eagles, Paul McCartney (after Beatles), Bread

    Country: Almost exclusively performed by white performers. Rooted in traditional folk music of England and the Appalachian Mountains. Key performers: Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, Garth Brooks

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    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot, Ken.

    Ah, 'rock n roll'. It's another genre that is hard for me to identify.

    So, R&B and pop is over-lapping?

    Can you show me a clip of and R&B song and a clip of a purely pop song so I can try to hear the difference? I always thought Michael Jackson is pop singer.

    What genre does this song belongs to?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_JMBWd-c4
    Last edited by kidd; 09-02-09 at 02:35 AM.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    Thanks a lot, Ken.

    Ah, 'rock n roll'. It's another genre that is hard for me to identify.
    It's very broadly defined. Originally, it was limited to performers such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly: the original, first-generation rock 'n roll musicians. But today, it encompasses everything from those original performers to current groups such as Radiohead and My Chemical Romance.

    But "rock 'n roll" is generally considered a "white" genre of music that was derived from "black" genres of music. It's strange to think of music that way today, but until the 1950s, music in American culture was as segregated as the people were. Blacks and whites literally did not listen to each other's music...until it began fusing into rock 'n roll during the 1950s.

    So, R&B and pop is over-lapping?
    Sometimes. The definition of "pop" continues to evolve. It's literally whatever is "popular" with the majority population today. In 1965, the Beatles were pop; today, 50Cent is pop.

    Can you show me a clip of and R&B song and a clip of a purely pop song so I can try to hear the difference?
    Going back to the 1960s, when the distinction was more clear:

    This is R&B: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

    This is pop: Franki Valli and the Four Seasons

    They don't sound that radically different from each other, do they? There's much overlap between R&B and pop, and how it's perceived sometimes, strangely, depends on the skin color of the performers.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    Can you show me a clip of and R&B song and a clip of a purely pop song so I can try to hear the difference? I always thought Michael Jackson is pop singer.
    He was perceived as an R&B performer when his audience was more African-American than white (i.e. the early years with the Jackson Five). As his popularity with the white audience grew, he was perceived more as "pop."

    Ultimately, it's more a matter of audience perception than it is actual sound, although sound differences do have their place in the distinction.

    What genre does this song belongs to?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_JMBWd-c4
    This would be singer-songwriter pop/rock, which originated with Bob Dylan during the 1960s and went on to greater popularity during the 1970s with such composers/songwriters as Paul Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, etc.

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    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Thanks again.

    So, all these genres are defined according to racial line and timeline, not music alone. What more, the definition can change according to the type of audience and people's perception. No wonder I have a hard time differentiating them.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    Thanks again.

    So, all these genres are defined according to racial line and timeline, not music alone. What more, the definition can change according to the type of audience and people's perception. No wonder I have a hard time differentiating them.
    Yes. Even so-called music "experts" cannot clearly define the distinctions sometimes. What one expert calls "R&B," another might insist is "soul" or even "pop."

    But the genre definitions are fluid rather than set. It often comes down to public consensus.

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    Senior Member Canuck21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    Thanks again.

    So, all these genres are defined according to racial line and timeline, not music alone. What more, the definition can change according to the type of audience and people's perception. No wonder I have a hard time differentiating them.
    The definition can change but there's a general rule and consensus which determine a genre. It's often hard to determine the genre because most songs have overlapping genre. It's the overlapping that creates sub-genre. It is with lost of listening that you hear some distinction. Personally I have a hard time between rap and R&B because I rarely listen to those type of music.
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    Senior Member kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck21 View Post
    The definition can change but there's a general rule and consensus which determine a genre. It's often hard to determine the genre because most songs have overlapping genre. It's the overlapping that creates sub-genre. It is with lost of listening that you hear some distinction. Personally I have a hard time between rap and R&B because I rarely listen to those type of music.
    I find rap and blues easiest to identify because they sound like talking.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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