Music Genres

When I work in the lab a lot I like to have music to listen to, so I download CDs to the lab computer. I have three different music programs I use – iTunes, Win-Amp and Windows Media Player. I probably also have Real-Player somewhere too. And on my laptop, which typically resides at home, I have Creative’s management software. I typically use the Windows Media Player to rip from CDs.

I get frustrated with the different music genres that the different players use to categorize my music. My frustration isn’t helped by the fact that music is classified differently in the US than in Britain. I had never heard of Celtic music (really) before I moved over the pond. In Britain, folk music includes Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English music. In the US, I even found Richard Thompson in the rock and pop section of one store!

Why, oh why, is Peggy Seeger classified as Contemporary Folk, Pete Seeger as General Folk, Clannad as World Music, Libana as New Age, Yma Sumac as Easy Listening, Cherish the Ladies as Irish Celtic, Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck and OFST as Country, and Olympia’s Daughters as Vocal. I thought that Wikipedia might help, but the article on music genres is not very helpful for a non-musicologist. It doesn’t explain to help me classify my music collection.

So the Lab Cat school of music genres is:

Music by Dead White mostly European men (DWEM) – traditionally called classical music and is typically remembered mostly by the composer rather than the performer.
Music known by the band’s name (KBN) includes folk rock, pop, jazz – music typically known by the performer as opposed to the composer. Admitedly the performer and composer can quite often be the same person. This is how I would classify all of those musicians listed above.
Christmas Music – music I only play in December.
Compilations – anything with more than one composer or more than one band; may also include “early music”


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