Genre

Genre (from French genre, meaning 'kind, sort') is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed upon conventions developed over time. Genre is most popularly known as a category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria, yet genres can be aesthetic, rhetorical, communicative, or functional. Genres form by conventions that change over time as cultures invent new genres and discontinue the use of old ones. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. Stand-alone texts, works, or pieces of communication may have individual styles, but genres are amalgams of these texts based on agreed-upon or socially inferred conventions. Some genres may have rigid, strictly adhered-to guidelines, while others may show great flexibility.

Genre began as an absolute classification system for ancient Greek literature. Poetry (odes, epics, etc.), prose, and performance each had a specific and calculated style that related to the theme of the story. Speech patterns for comedy would not be appropriate for tragedy, and even actors were restricted to their genre under the assumption that a type of person could tell one type of story best.

In later periods genres proliferated and developed in response to changes in audiences and creators. Genre became a dynamic tool to help the public make sense out of unpredictable art. Because art is often a response to a social state, in that people write/paint/sing/dance about what they know about, the use of genre as a tool must be able to adapt to changing meanings.

Genre suffers from the ills of any classification system. It has been suggested that genres resonate with people because of the familiarity, the shorthand communication, as well as because of the tendency of genres to shift with public mores and to reflect the zeitgeist. While the genre of storytelling has been relegated as lesser form of art because of the heavily borrowed nature of the conventions, admiration has grown. Proponents argue that the genius of an effective genre piece is in the variation, recombination, and evolution of the codes.

Visual arts

Pieter Bruegel d. Ä. 014
A genre painting (Peasant Dance, c. 1568, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder)

The term genre is much used in the history and criticism of visual art, but in art history has meanings that overlap rather confusingly. Genre painting is a term for paintings where the main subject features human figures to whom no specific identity attaches – in other words, figures are not portraits, characters from a story, or allegorical personifications. These are distinguished from staffage: incidental figures in what is primarily a landscape or architectural painting. Genre painting may also be used as a wider term covering genre painting proper, and other specialized types of paintings such as still-life, landscapes, marine paintings and animal paintings.

The concept of the "hierarchy of genres" was a powerful one in artistic theory, especially between the 17th and 19th centuries. It was strongest in France, where it was associated with the Académie française which held a central role in academic art. The genres in hierarchical order are:

Literature

A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. Genre should not be confused with age category, by which literature may be classified as either adult, young adult, or children's. They also must not be confused with format, such as graphic novel or picture book. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

The most general genres in literature are (in loose chronological order) epic, tragedy,[1] comedy, novel, and short story. They can all be in the genres prose or poetry, which shows best how loosely genres are defined. Additionally, a genre such as satire might appear in any of the above, not only as a subgenre but as a mixture of genres. Finally, they are defined by the general cultural movement of the historical period in which they were composed. In popular fiction, which is especially divided by genres, genre fiction is the more usual term.

In literature, genre has been known as an intangible taxonomy. This taxonomy implies a concept of containment or that an idea will be stable forever.The earliest recorded systems of genre in Western history can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. Gérard Genette, a French literary theorist and author of The Architext, describes Plato as creating three Imitational genres: dramatic dialogue, pure narrative, and epic (a mixture of dialogue and narrative). Lyric poetry, the fourth and final type of Greek literature, was excluded by Plato as a non-mimetic mode. Aristotle later revised Plato's system by eliminating the pure narrative as a viable mode and distinguishing by two additional criteria: the object to be imitated, as objects could be either superior or inferior, and the medium of presentation such as words, gestures or verse. Essentially, the three categories of mode, object, and medium can be visualized along an XYZ axis.

Excluding the criteria of medium, Aristotle's system distinguished four types of classical genres: tragedy (superior-dramatic dialogue), epic (superior-mixed narrative), comedy (inferior-dramatic dialogue), and parody (inferior-mixed narrative). Genette continues by explaining the later integration of lyric poetry into the classical system during the romantic period, replacing the now removed pure narrative mode. Lyric poetry, once considered non-mimetic, was deemed to imitate feelings, becoming the third leg of a new tripartite system: lyrical, epical, and dramatic dialogue. This system, which came to "dominate all the literary theory of German romanticism (and therefore well beyond)…" (38), has seen numerous attempts at expansion or revision. However, more ambitious efforts to expand the tripartite system resulted in new taxonomic systems of increasing scope and complexity.

Genette reflects upon these various systems, comparing them to the original tripartite arrangement: "its structure is somewhat superior to…those that have come after, fundamentally flawed as they are by their inclusive and hierarchical taxonomy, which each time immediately brings the whole game to a standstill and produces an impasse" (74). Taxonomy allows for a structured classification system of genre, as opposed to a more contemporary rhetorical model of genre.

Film

The basic genres of film can be regarded as drama, in the feature film and most cartoons, and documentary. Most dramatic feature films, especially from Hollywood fall fairly comfortably into one of a long list of film genres such as the Western, war film, horror film, romantic comedy film, musical, crime film, and many others. Many of these genres have a number of subgenres, for example by setting or subject, or a distinctive national style, for example in the Indian Bollywood musical.

Music

A music genre is a conventional category that identifies pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions.[2] It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. There are numerous genres in Western classical music and popular music, as well as musical theatre and the music of non-Western cultures. The term is now perhaps over-used to describe relatively small differences in musical style in modern rock music, that also may reflect sociological differences in their audiences. Timothy Laurie suggests that in the context of rock and pop music studies, the "appeal of genre criticism is that it makes narratives out of musical worlds that often seem to lack them".[3]

Music can be divided into different genres in several ways. The artistic nature of music means that these classifications are often arbitrary and controversial, and some genres may overlap. There are several academic approaches to genres. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green lists madrigal, motet, canzona, ricercar, and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. According to Green, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, and the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."[4] Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language".[5]

Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, and that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can also differentiate between genres.[6] A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the styles, the context, and content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will often include a wide variety of subgenres.

Several music scholars have criticised the priority accorded to genre-based communities and listening practices. For example, Laurie argues that "music genres do not belong to isolated, self-sufficient communities. People constantly move between environments where diverse forms of music are heard, advertised and accessorised with distinctive iconographies, narratives and celebrity identities that also touch on non-musical worlds."[3]

Popular culture and other media

The concept of genre is often applied, sometimes rather loosely, to other media with an artistic element, such as video game genres. Genre, and numerous minutely divided subgenres, affect popular culture very significantly, not least as they are used to classify it for publicity purposes. The vastly increased output of popular culture in the age of electronic media encourages dividing cultural products by genre to simplify the search for products by consumers, a trend the Internet has only intensified.

Linguistics

In philosophy of language, genre figures prominently in the works of philosopher and literary scholar Mikhail Bakhtin. Bakhtin's basic observations were of "speech genres" (the idea of heteroglossia), modes of speaking or writing that people learn to mimic, weave together, and manipulate (such as "formal letter" and "grocery list", or "university lecture" and "personal anecdote"). In this sense, genres are socially specified: recognized and defined (often informally) by a particular culture or community. The work of Georg Lukács also touches on the nature of literary genres, appearing separately but around the same time (1920s–1930s) as Bakhtin. Norman Fairclough has a similar concept of genre that emphasizes the social context of the text: Genres are "different ways of (inter)acting discoursally" (Fairclough, 2003: 26).

A text's genre may be determined by its:

  1. Linguistic function.
  2. Formal traits.
  3. Textual organization.
  4. Relation of communicative situation to formal and organizational traits of the text (Charaudeau and Maingueneau, 2002:278–280).

Rhetoric

In the field of rhetoric, genre theorists usually understand genres as types of actions rather than types or forms of texts.[7] On this perspective, texts are channels through which genres are enacted. Carolyn Miller's[8] work has been especially important for this perspective. Drawing on Lloyd Bitzer's concept of rhetorical situation,[9] Miller reasons that recurring rhetorical problems tend to elicit recurring responses; drawing on Alfred Schütz,[10] she reasons that these recurring responses become "typified" – that is, socially constructed as recognizable types. Miller argues that these "typified rhetorical actions" (p. 151) are properly understood as genres.

Building off of Miller, Charles Bazerman and Clay Spinuzzi have argued that genres understood as actions derive their meaning from other genres – that is, other actions. Bazerman therefore proposes that we analyze genres in terms of "genre systems",[11] while Spinuzzi prefers the closely related concept of "genre ecologies".[12]

This tradition has had implications for the teaching of writing in American colleges and universities. Combining rhetorical genre theory with activity theory, David Russell has proposed that standard English composition courses are ill-suited to teach the genres that students will write in other contexts across the university and beyond.[13] Elizabeth Wardle contends that standard composition courses do teach genres, but that these are inauthentic "mutt genres" that are often of little use outside of composition courses.[14]

History

This concept of genre originated from the classification systems created by Plato. Plato divided literature into the three classic genres accepted in Ancient Greece: poetry, drama, and prose. Poetry is further subdivided into epic, lyric, and drama. The divisions are recognized as being set by Aristotle and Plato; however, they were not the only ones. Many genre theorists added to these accepted forms of poetry.

Classical and Romance genre theory

The earliest recorded systems of genre in Western history can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. Gérard Genette explains his interpretation of the history of genre in "The Architext". He described Plato as the creator of three imitational, mimetic genres distinguished by mode of imitation rather than content. These three imitational genres include dramatic dialogue, the drama; pure narrative, the dithyramb; and a mixture of the two, the epic. Plato excluded lyric poetry as a non-mimetic, imitational mode. Genette further discussed how Aristotle revised Plato's system by first eliminating the pure narrative as a viable mode. He then uses two additional criteria to distinguish the system. The first of the criteria is the object to be imitated, whether superior or inferior. The second criterion is the medium of presentation: words, gestures, or verse. Essentially, the three categories of mode, object, and medium can be visualized along an XYZ axis. Excluding the criteria of medium, Aristotle's system distinguished four types of classical genres: tragedy, epic, comedy, and parody.

Genette explained the integration of lyric poetry into the classical system by replacing the removed pure narrative mode. Lyric poetry, once considered non-mimetic, was deemed to imitate feelings, becoming the third "Architext", a term coined by Gennette, of a new long-enduring tripartite system: lyrical; epical, the mixed narrative; and dramatic, the dialogue. This new system that came to "dominate all the literary theory of German romanticism" (Genette 38) has seen numerous attempts at expansion and revision. Such attempts include Friedrich Schlegel's triad of subjective form, the lyric; objective form, the dramatic; and subjective-objective form, the epic. However, more ambitious efforts to expand the tripartite system resulted in new taxonomic systems of increasing complexity. Gennette reflected upon these various systems, comparing them to the original tripartite arrangement: "its structure is somewhat superior to most of those that have come after, fundamentally flawed as they are by their inclusive and hierarchical taxonomy, which each time immediately brings the whole game to a standstill and produces an impasse".

Culture

Genre is embedded in culture but may clash with it at times. There are occasions in which a cultural group may not be inclined to keep within the set structures of a genre. Anthony Pare's studied Inuit social workers in "Genre and Identity: Individuals, Institutions and Ideology". In this study, Pare described the conflict between the genre of Inuit social workers' record keeping forms and the cultural values that prohibited them from fully being able to fulfill the expectations of this genre. Amy Devitt further expands on the concept of culture in her 2004 essay, "A Theory of Genre" by adding "culture defines what situations and genres are likely or possible" (Devitt 24).

Genre not only coexists with culture but also defines its very components. Genres abound in daily life and people often work within them unconsciously; people often take for granted their prominence and ever present residence in society. Devitt touches on Miller's idea of situation, but expands on it and adds that the relationship with genre and situation is reciprocal. Individuals may find themselves shaping the rhetorical situations, which in turn affect the rhetorical responses that arise out of the situation. Because the social workers worked closely with different families, they did not want to disclose many of the details that are standard in the genre of record keeping related to this field. Giving out such information would violate close cultural ties with the members of their community.

Audiences

Although genres are not always precisely definable, genre considerations are one of the most important factors in determining what a person will see or read. The classification properties of genre can attract or repel potential users depending on the individual's understanding of a genre.

Genre creates an expectation in that expectation is met or not. Many genres have built-in audiences and corresponding publications that support them, such as magazines and websites. Inversely, audiences may call out for change in an antecedent genre and create an entirely new genre.

The term may be used in categorizing web pages, like "news page" and "fan page", with both very different layout, audience, and intention (Rosso, 2008). Some search engines like Vivísimo try to group found web pages into automated categories in an attempt to show various genres the search hits might fit.

Subgenre

A subgenre is a subordinate within a genre.[15][16] Two stories being the same genre can still sometimes differ in subgenre. For example, if a fantasy story has darker and more frightening elements of fantasy, it would belong in the subgenre of dark fantasy; whereas another fantasy story that features magic swords and wizards would belong to the subgenre of sword and sorcery.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Bakhtin 1983, p. 3.
  2. ^ Samson, Jim. "Genre". In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Accessed March 4, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Laurie, Timothy (2014). "Music Genre As Method". Cultural Studies Review. 20 (2), pp. 283-292.
  4. ^ Green, Douglass M. (1965). Form in Tonal Music. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. p. 1. ISBN 0-03-020286-8.
  5. ^ van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-19-316121-4.
  6. ^ Moore, Allan F. "Categorical Conventions in Music Discourse: Style and Genre". Music & Letters, Vol. 82, No. 3 (Aug. 2001), pp. 432–442.
  7. ^ Bawarshi, A. S., & Mary Jo Reiff. (2010). Genre: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research, and Pedagogy. chs. 5 and 6
  8. ^ Miller, C. R. (1984). Genre as social action. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 70(2), 151–167.
  9. ^ Bitzer, L. F. (1968). The Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy and Rhetoric, 1(1), 1–14.
  10. ^ Schutz, A., & Luckmann, T. (1973). The Structures of the Life-World. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
  11. ^ Bazerman, C. (1994). Systems of Genre and the Enactment of Social Intentions. In Genre and the New Rhetoric (pp. 79–101). London/Bristol: Taylor & Francis.
  12. ^ Spinuzzi, C., & Zachry, M. (2000). Genre Ecologies : An Open-System Approach to Understanding and Constructing Documentation. ACM Journal of Computer Documentation, 24(3), 169–181.
  13. ^ Russell, D. R. (1995). Activity theory and its implications for writing instruction. In J. Petraglia (Ed.), Reconceiving writing, rethinking writing instruction (pp. 51–78). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  14. ^ Wardle, E. (2009). "Mutt Genres" and the Goal of FYC: Can we Help Students Write the Genres of the University? College Composition and Communication, 60(4), 765–789.
  15. ^ "subgenre". dictionary.com.
  16. ^ "Subgenre". The Free Dictionary. Farlex.

Sources

  • Bakhtin, Mikhail M. (1983). "Epic and Novel". In Holquist, Michael. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-71527-7.
  • Charaudeau, P.; Maingueneau, D. and Adam, J. Dictionnaire d'analyse du discours Seuil, 2002.
  • Devitt, Amy J. "A Theory of Genre". Writing Genres. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004. 1–32.
  • Fairclough, Norman. Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research Routledge, 2003.
  • Genette, Gérard. The Architext: An Introduction. 1979. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
  • Jamieson, Kathleen M. "Antecedent Genre as Rhetorical Constraint". Quarterly Journal of Speech 61 (1975): 406–415.
  • Killoran, John B. "The Gnome In The Front Yard and Other Public Figurations: Genres of Self-Presentation on Personal Home Pages". Biography 26.1 (2003): 66–83.
  • Коробова А.Г. Теория жанров в музыкальной науке: история и современность. Москва: Московская гос. консерватория, 2007
  • LaCapra, Dominick. "History and Genre: Comment". New Literary History 17.2 (1986): 219–221.
  • Miller, Carolyn. "Genre as Social Action". Quarterly Journal of Speech. 70 (1984): 151–67.
  • Rosso, Mark. "User-based Identification of Web Genres". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59 (2008): 1053–1072.

Further reading

  • Pare, Anthony. "Genre and Identity". The Rhetoric and Ideology of Genre: Strategies for Stability and Change. Eds. Richard M. Coe, Lorelei Lingard, and Tatiana Teslenko. Creskill, N.J. Hampton Press, 2002.
  • Sullivan, Ceri (2007) "Disposable elements? Indications of genre in early modern titles", Modern Language Review 102.3, pp. 641–53

External links

Action film

Action film is a film genre in which the protagonist or protagonists are thrust into a series of challenges that typically include violence, extended fighting, physical feats, and frantic chases. Action films tend to feature a resourceful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a villain, or a pursuit which generally concludes in victory for the hero (though a small number of films in this genre have ended in victory for the villain instead). Advancements in CGI have made it cheaper and easier to create action sequences and other visual effects that required the efforts of professional stunt crews in the past. However, reactions to action films containing significant amounts of CGI have been mixed, as films that use computer animations to create unrealistic, highly unbelievable events are often met with criticism. While action has long been a recurring component in films, the "action film" genre began to develop in the 1970s along with the increase of stunts and special effects. Common action scenes in films are generally, but not limited to, car chases, fighting and gunplay or shootouts.

This genre is closely associated with the thriller and adventure genres, and they may also contain elements of spy fiction.

Adventure fiction

Adventure fiction is fiction that usually presents danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement.

Alternative rock

Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock or simply alternative) is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock (including some examples of punk itself, as well as new wave, and post-punk).

Alternative rock broadly consists of music that differs greatly in terms of its sound, social context and regional roots. By the end of the 1980s, magazines and zines, college radio airplay, and word of mouth had increased the prominence and highlighted the diversity of alternative rock, helping to define a number of distinct styles (and music scenes) such as noise pop, indie rock, grunge, and shoegaze. Most of these subgenres had achieved minor mainstream notice and a few bands representing them, such as Hüsker Dü and R.E.M., had even signed to major labels. But most alternative bands' commercial success was limited in comparison to other genres of rock and pop music at the time, and most acts remained signed to independent labels and received relatively little attention from mainstream radio, television, or newspapers. With the breakthrough of Nirvana and the popularity of the grunge and Britpop movements in the 1990s, alternative rock entered the musical mainstream and many alternative bands became successful.

Country music

Country music, also known as country and western (or simply country), and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music (especially Appalachian folk and Western music) and blues.

Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms, folk lyrics, and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitars (such as pedal steels and dobros), and fiddles as well as harmonicas. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history.According to Lindsey Starnes, the term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music; it came to encompass Western music, which evolved parallel to hillbilly music from similar roots, in the mid-20th century. In 2009 in the United States, country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, and second most popular in the morning commute.The term country music is used today to describe many styles and subgenres. The origins of country music are the folk music of working class Americans, who blended popular songs, Irish and Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional English ballads, cowboy songs, and various musical traditions from European immigrants.

Drama (film and television)

In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction (or semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.

All forms of cinema or television that involve fictional stories are forms of drama in the broader sense if their storytelling is achieved by means of actors who represent (mimesis) characters. In this broader sense, drama is a mode distinct from novels, short stories, and narrative poetry or songs. In the modern era before the birth of cinema or television, "drama" within theatre was a type of play that was neither a comedy nor a tragedy. It is this narrower sense that the film and television industries, along with film studies, adopted. "Radio drama" has been used in both senses—originally transmitted in a live performance, it has also been used to describe the more high-brow and serious end of the dramatic output of radio.

Fantasy

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.

Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes respectively, though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, however, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works.

Film genre

A film genre is a motion-picture category based (for example) on similarities either in the narrative elements or in the emotional response to the film (namely: serious, comic, etc.). Most theories of film genre are borrowed from literary-genre criticism. Each film genre is associated with "conventions, iconography, settings, narratives, characters and actors".

Standard genre characters vary according to the film genre; for film noir, standard characters are the femme fatale and the "hardboiled" detective; a Western film may portray the schoolmarm and the gunfighter. Some actors acquire a reputation linked to a single genre, such as John Wayne (the Western) or Fred Astaire (the musical). A film's genre will influence the use of filmmaking styles and techniques, such as the use of flashbacks and low-key lighting in film noir, tight framing in horror films, fonts that look like rough-hewn logs for the titles of Western films, or the "scrawled" title-font and credits of Se7en (1995), a film about a serial killer. As well, genres have associated film-scoring conventions, such as lush string orchestras for romantic melodramas or electronic music for science-fiction films.The basic genres include fiction and documentary, from which subgenres have emerged, such as docufiction and docudrama. Other examples of subgenres include the courtroom- and trial-focused drama known as the legal drama, which is a subtype of drama. Types of fiction which may seem unrelated can also be combined to form hybrid subgenres, such as the melding of horror and comedy in the Evil Dead films. Other popular combinations include the romantic comedy and the action comedy film. Alan Williams distinguishes three main genre categories: narrative, avant-garde and documentary. Genre movies are "commercial feature films which, through repetition and variation, tell familiar stories with familiar characters and familiar situations". Genre affects how films are broadcast on television, advertised, and organized in video rental stores.Films can also be classified by the setting, theme, topic, mood, format, target audience or budget. The setting is the environment where the story and action take place (e.g., a war film, a Western film, or a space-opera film). The theme or topic refers to the issues or concepts that the film revolves around (e.g., science-fiction film, sports film, or crime film). The mood is the emotional tone of the film (e.g., comedy film, horror film, or tearjerker film). Format refers to the way the film was shot (e.g., 35 mm, 16 mm or 8 mm) or the manner of presentation (e.g.: anamorphic widescreen). Additional ways of categorizing film genres may involve the target audience (e.g., children's film, teen film or women's film) or by type of production (e.g., B movie, big-budget blockbuster or low-budget film). Genre does not just refer to the type of film or its category; spectator expectations about a film, and institutional discourses that create generic structures also play a key role.

Genres are not fixed; they change and evolve over time, and some genres may largely disappear (for example, the melodrama).

Heavy metal music

Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.In 1968, three of the genre's most famous pioneers, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple were founded. Though they came to attract wide audiences, they were often derided by critics. During the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Beginning in the late 1970s, bands in the new wave of British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as "metalheads" or "headbangers".

During the 1980s, glam metal became popular with groups such as Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. Underground scenes produced an array of more aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, while other extreme subgenres of heavy metal such as death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s popular styles have further expanded the definition of the genre. These include groove metal and nu metal, the latter of which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop.

Horror fiction

Horror is a genre of speculative fiction which is intended to frighten, scare, disgust, or startle its readers by inducing feelings of horror and terror. Literary historian J. A. Cuddon defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks, or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing". It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere. Horror is frequently supernatural, though it can be non-supernatural. Often the central menace of a work of horror fiction can be interpreted as a metaphor for the larger fears of a society.

House music

House music is a genre of electronic dance music created by club DJs and music producers in Chicago in the early 1980s. Early house music was generally characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, which preceded and influenced it, as both were DJ and record producer-created dance music, house was more electronic and minimalistic. The mechanical, repetitive rhythm of house was one of its main components. Many house compositions were instrumental, with no vocals; some had singing throughout the song with lyrics; and some had singing but no actual words.

House music developed in Chicago's underground dance club culture in the early 1980s, as DJs from the subculture began altering the pop-like disco dance tracks to give them a more mechanical beat and deeper basslines. As well, these DJs began to mix synth pop, rap, Latin, and even jazz into their tracks. Latin music, particularly salsa clave rhythm, became a dominating riff of house music. It was pioneered by Chicago DJs such as Chip E., and Steve Hurley. It was influenced by Chicago DJ and record producer Frankie Knuckles, the Chicago acid-house electronic music group Phuture, and the Tennessee DJ/producer Mr. Fingers. The genre was originally associated with the Black American LGBT subculture but has since spread to the mainstream. From its beginnings in the Chicago club and local radio scene, the genre spread internationally to London, then to American cities such as New York City and Detroit, and eventually globally.Chicago house music acts from the early to mid-1980s found success on the US dance charts on various Chicago independent record labels that were more open to sign local house music artists. These same acts also experienced some success in the United Kingdom, garnering hits in that country. Due to this success, by the late 1980s, Chicago house music acts suddenly found themselves being offered major label deals. House music proved to be a commercially successful genre and a more mainstream pop-based variation grew increasingly popular. Since the early to mid-1990s, house music has been infused into mainstream pop and dance music worldwide. In the 2010s, the genre, while keeping several of its core elements, notably the prominent kick drum on most beats, varies widely in style and influence, ranging from soulful and atmospheric to the more minimalistic microhouse. House music has also fused with several other genres creating fusion subgenres, such as euro house, tech house, electro house and jump house. One subgenre, acid house, was based around the squelchy, deep electronic tones created by Roland's TB-303 bass synthesizer.

Major acts such as Madonna, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Martha Wash, CeCe Peniston, Bananarama, Robin S., Steps, Kylie Minogue, Björk, and C+C Music Factory to name a few, were all influenced by House Music in the 1990s and beyond. After enjoying significant success which started in the late 1980s, house music grew even larger during the second wave of progressive house (1999–2001). The genre has remained popular and fused into other popular subgenres, notably ghetto house, deep house, future house and tech house. As of today, house music remains popular on radio and in clubs while retaining a foothold on the underground scenes across the globe.

Music genre

A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Recently, academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated.Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways. The artistic nature of music means that these classifications are often subjective and controversial, and some genres may overlap. There are even varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between genre and form. He lists madrigal, motet, canzona, ricercar, and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, and the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form." Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, and that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can also differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may also be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, and the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will often include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an almost ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects".Among the criteria often used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art, popular, and traditional musics.

Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal, valence, and depth. Arousal reflects the energy level of the music; valence reflects the scale from sad to happy emotions, and depth reflects the level of emotional depth in the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres.

Pop music

Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many diverse styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.

Although much of the music that appears on record charts is seen as pop music, the genre is distinguished from chart music. Pop music is eclectic, and often borrows elements from other styles such as urban, dance, rock, Latin, and country; nonetheless, there are core elements that define pop music. Identifying factors include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), as well as common use of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks.

Science fiction film

Science fiction film (or sci-fi film) is a genre that uses speculative, fictional science-based depictions of phenomena that are not fully accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial lifeforms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception and time travel, along with futuristic elements such as spacecraft, robots, cyborgs, interstellar travel or other technologies. Science fiction films have often been used to focus on political or social issues, and to explore philosophical issues like the human condition. In many cases, tropes derived from written science fiction may be used by filmmakers ignorant of or at best indifferent to the standards of scientific plausibility and plot logic to which written science fiction is traditionally held.The genre has existed since the early years of silent cinema, when Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon (1902) employed trick photography effects. The next major example in the genre was the film Metropolis (1927) - being the first feature length science fiction movie. From the 1930s to the 1950s, the genre consisted mainly of low-budget B movies. After Stanley Kubrick's landmark 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the science fiction film genre was taken more seriously. In the late 1970s, big-budget science fiction films filled with special effects became popular with audiences after the success of Star Wars and paved the way for the blockbuster hits of subsequent decades.

Software categories

Software categories are groups of software. They allow software to be understood in terms of those categories instead of the particularities of each package. Different classification schemes consider different aspects of software.

Soul music

Soul music (often referred to simply as soul) is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying". Catchy rhythms, stressed by handclaps and extemporaneous body moves, are an important feature of soul music. Other characteristics are a call and response between the lead vocalist and the chorus and an especially tense vocal sound. The style also occasionally uses improvisational additions, twirls and auxiliary sounds. Soul music reflected the African-American identity and it stressed the importance of an African-American culture. The new-found African-American consciousness led to new styles of music, which boasted pride in being black.Soul music dominated the U.S. R&B chart in the 1960s, and many recordings crossed over into the pop charts in the U.S., Britain and elsewhere. By 1968, the soul music genre had begun to splinter. Some soul artists developed funk music, while other singers and groups developed slicker, more sophisticated, and in some cases more politically conscious varieties. By the early 1970s, soul music had been influenced by psychedelic rock and other genres, leading to psychedelic soul. The United States saw the development of neo soul around 1994. There are also several other subgenres and offshoots of soul music.

The key subgenres of soul include the Detroit (Motown) style, a rhythmic music influenced by gospel; deep soul and southern soul, driving, energetic soul styles combining R&B with southern gospel music sounds; Memphis soul, a shimmering, sultry style; New Orleans soul, which came out of the rhythm and blues style; Chicago soul, a lighter gospel-influenced sound; Philadelphia soul, a lush orchestral sound with doo-wop-inspired vocals; psychedelic soul, a blend of psychedelic rock and soul music; as well as categories such as blue-eyed soul, which is soul music performed by white artists; British soul; and Northern soul, rare soul music played by DJs at nightclubs in Northern England.

Thrash metal

Thrash metal (or simply thrash) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

The genre evolved in the early 1980s from combining the fast drum beats and attitude of hardcore with the double bass drumming and heavy, complex guitar style of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM). It emerged partially as a reaction to the more conventional and widely acceptable glam metal, a less aggressive, pop music–infused heavy metal subgenre which appeared simultaneously. Thrash metal was an inspiration for subsequent extreme genres such as death metal and black metal.

Thriller (genre)

Thriller is a broad genre of literature, film and television, having numerous, often overlapping subgenres. Thrillers are characterized and defined by the moods they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. Successful examples of thrillers are the films of Alfred Hitchcock.Thrillers generally keep the audience on the "edge of their seats" as the plot builds towards a climax. The cover-up of important information is a common element. Literary devices such as red herrings, plot twists, and cliffhangers are used extensively. A thriller is usually a villain-driven plot, whereby he or she presents obstacles that the protagonist must overcome.

Homer's Odyssey is one of the oldest stories in the Western world and is regarded as an early prototype of the genre.

Video game genre

A video game genre is a classification assigned to a video game based on its gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences. A video game genre is defined by a set of gameplay challenges and are classified independently of their setting or game-world content, unlike other works of fiction such as films or books. For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of where or when it takes place.As with nearly all varieties of genre classification, the matter of any individual video game's specific genre is open to personal interpretation. Moreover, each individual game may belong to several genres at once.

Western (genre)

Western is a genre of various arts which tell stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter armed with a revolver and a rifle who rides a horse. Cowboys and gunslingers typically wear Stetson hats, neckerchief bandannas, vests, spurs, cowboy boots and buckskins (alternatively dusters). Recurring characters include the aforementioned cowboys, Native Americans, bandits, lawmen, bounty hunters, outlaws, gamblers, soldiers (especially mounted cavalry, such as buffalo soldiers), and settlers (farmers, ranchers, and townsfolk). The ambience is usually punctuated with a Western music score, including American and Mexican folk music such as country, Native American music, New Mexico music, and rancheras.

Westerns often stress the harshness of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape of deserts and mountains. Often, the vast landscape plays an important role, presenting a "...mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West". Specific settings include ranches, small frontier towns, saloons, railways and isolated military forts of the Wild West.

Common plots include:

The construction of a railroad or a telegraph line on the wild frontier.

Ranchers protecting their family ranch from rustlers or large landowners or who build a ranch empire.

Revenge stories, which hinge on the chase and pursuit by someone who has been wronged.

Stories about cavalry fighting Native Americans.

Outlaw gang plots.

Stories about a lawman or bounty hunter tracking down his quarry.Many Westerns use a stock plot of depicting a crime, then showing the pursuit of the wrongdoer, ending in revenge and retribution, which is often dispensed through a shootout or quick-draw duel.The Western was the most popular Hollywood genre from the early 20th century to the 1960s.

Western films first became well-attended in the 1930s. John Ford's landmark Western adventure Stagecoach became one of the biggest hits in 1939 and it made John Wayne a mainstream screen star. Westerns were very popular throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the most acclaimed Westerns were released during this time, including High Noon (1952), Shane (1953), The Searchers (1956), and The Wild Bunch (1969). Classic Westerns such as these have been the inspiration for various films about Western-type characters in contemporary settings, such as Junior Bonner (1972), set in the 1970s, and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), set in the 21st century.

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