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Today there many varieties of music known worldwide, from pop, classical, rock, jazz and R&B, these are just a few examples of different types or “genre” of music that is found anywhere you go at all places. Music genre can be described as a type or form of music. But what makes these types of music different from each other? What makes them different from each other is that genres help categorize and organize the many different types of music. Music genre’s role is important in the world music because it gives a type of music a sense of identity, culture and purpose for us to know what types differentiate from one another. Because there are so many styles we must I.D. types or “genres” of music and categorize them so that we can identify which music is which.
Music genre can help give music their sense of identity. It will help us know that when we are listening to music, we know what kind of music we’re listening to and also what is involved in the music. For example, say a person is listening to jazz music. How can one identify it in the genre of jazz music? The things that are more often than not in jazz music are swing patterns on the drums, unusual time signatures, saxophones and trumpet. With these common traits of jazz music, these will help a person identify that it is jazz music when they hear these things. With genre it categorizes jazz’s identity with swing drum beats saxophones and trumpets and in a way it is also categorizing what kind of instruments are in a genre. Another example of identity and categorization is rock music. How can a person identify rock music? Well as most of us know rock music will mostly contain drums, electric guitar and bass and keyboards. Rock music is also typically played harder and faster than most music with distorted guitars and booming drums. This is the kind of identity that rock music has with the instruments, dynamics and tempo involved. These examples show how music genre can give different types of music a sense of identity, and categorize and organize it for people to know how to differentiate between the many styles of music from its identity.
Genre also can give people who listen to music an identity. Genres create stereotypes which gives each type of music a sense of identity for people who listen to that certain music. In terms of “emo” or “scream” music, people who listen to this music are stereotyped has “gothic” or “scene” with dark clothing and appearances to crazy hair styles. With that the way that they dress can easily tell us what kind of music they are into and it is also a way of communicating with another person who listens to the same genre of music. They can identify each other as “gothic” or “scene” and then they can form a connection with that person. This doesn’t mean that they listen purely to emo or screamo music as they could have a broader taste in music and they could listen to country music or classical music as well. But these kinds of stereotypes can give us a generalization of what kind of music people listen and it can help us connect with one another.
Different types of music genres also can serve purposes. Certain kinds of music can serve a certain kind purpose that go in unison with its identity. For instance, dance music obviously serves its purpose for people to dance to it. Its rhythm beat and tempo is designed specifically for people to dance to, then its tempo is usually fast and upbeat so that it catches people’s ear for them to dance to. Classical music today now serves a purpose for people to relax to. Because of its soothing sounds of strings and a calmer rhythm, it can help people relax because it is easy on the ears. Love or sadder songs serve a purpose in expressing feelings and can also serve as a technique for someone to express themselves and tell about they truly think about. Many athletes listen to Rap or Rock music to pump themselves up so it can serve a purpose in that context. Many different types of music can serve all kinds of purposes just as the examples have shown.
Culturally speaking, music genre plays a role in identifying music with culture. With music genre we can identify what music comes from where. With samba and salsa music we can classify it in the genre of Latin Music. So with that we can understand that samba and salsa music comes from the Latin culture because its genre is Latin music. This will then help people understand that this form of music originates in Latin countries and genre plays a role in which it gives music a geographical background. With the genre of classical music when people hear this music, they can pinpoint the era of where it came from. When we hear Mozart or Bach we can hear what the music was like back during those times, and it gives us a sense of what the culture was like. In those times they didn’t call it “classical music” it was just their form of music. The same can apply for 50’s 60’s music with “doo wop or 70’s music with disco. When we listen to these types of genres of we can hear how the music was like in any era and gives a sense of culture of how the music was like in those time periods.
Classical music has been used often in advertisements and commercials to help sell their product from their cultural origins. When people hear classical music, many people will think “first class” and “sophistication” because back in that time period, people who would attend music events at theaters were usually ones of the upper class. So when people hear that kind of music in any advertisement they can think to themselves that the company selling the product is a “first class” product better than the rest or even that the product shown in the ad is “first class” itself. Advertising is manipulating the stereotype that classical music is for people of the upper class by giving them the illusion that they are a high class sophisticated company and probably also try to challenge their customers “Are you a first class sophisticated person? Then buy our product!” For example many car companies such as BMW or Lexus use classical music in their television advertisements because they are known to be in the upper echelon class of cars. Because they are luxurious cars they want showcase classical music in their advertisements so that they can live up to their reputation as first class luxurious cars.
I don’t think it is unfair for classical music to be showcased in television advertisements; the reason being that it much different than any of the music that is out there today. If anyone were to listen to a rock or rap song in advertisement it doesn’t really catch the ear as much as classical music because they are the genres of music we listen to daily. So if someone hears a classical music in an advertisement, it can really catch their attention and make them pay attention to that commercial. I think it’s a brilliant strategy to put classical music to a commercial to help sell a product because it’s kind of a communication tool to really get your customers attention. In addition to that I think classical composers will feel accomplished of the fact that their music is still being played today. They have created music that is original, different for our generation and generations to come and also their music is timeless because no matter what classical music will live on. So it’s fair for us to continue to live on their legacy.
In conclusion music genre role and meaning deals with three aspects in identity, culture and purpose to help us differentiate between different music styles. Genre helps people identify what the music is and what is composed in the music from the instrumentation to the rhythm and beat and how it sounds. Genre plays a role in cultural identity in that it gives people an idea of what time period the music is from or from where its country of origin is. Different types of genre also serve a purpose in that many types of music can serve for a single purpose to enhance peoples’ lives such as dancing or relaxation. These are the reasons music genre play an important role in the world of music.
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