Genre Wars: the music in the mind

Genres, according to the online dictionary <>:

“gen·re  (zhänr)


1. A type or class: “Emaciated famine victims … on television focused a new genre of attention on the continent” (Helen Kitchen).


a. A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content: “his six String Quartets … the most important works in the genre since Beethoven’s” (Time).
b. A realistic style of painting that depicts scenes from everyday life.
All artistic works have a genre, and thus its own followers and consequently the followers create a culture. This is even more so evident in music, where each genre has its own sub-culture, ranging from language all the way to dress and behaviour. The epitomy of genre culture in music is with the genre of hip hip and rap. Almost anyone with a decent pair of eyes can almost tell the type of music one may listen to based on the way they dress and talk (however this is not set in stone). This shows the power of influence music has on the life of those that live with it.
As a result most societies of the world today are divided through entertainment preferences, and this could also be an indicator that mindsets of the different genre listeners are not the same. And so one may be led to ask whether music has an influence on the mindset of the people and fact is it does. The other would be whether you choose your genre based on the people that listen to it or based on the way it makes you feel.
hip hop culture is expressed in multiple ways from music to sport to dress. image source: <>

The reason this comes up is that, in most places that one may go to or visit, be it social interactions or night clubs you will find that almost all the people will somehow have a division on their musical preferences as a result of the accompanying culture that comes with it. As people we create an image about ourselves and in that image comes maintenance of that image -that may be through associations and maintenance of a physical appearance; and almost all of that is influenced by music and its specific genre.

One famous philosopher once said that division creates conflict. That being the basis of this disucssion we begin to see that some conflicts may arise due to the simple division between musical preferences of people. I remember a time in the late 90’s and the early turn of the century in Gabs city where there were great a many divisions between youths that listened to two different genres and mainly identified themselves through dress. The two main genres being Hip Hop and Kwaito music from South African Artists and influenced. I will not go into the details of these divisions but they were as deeply intrenched in the consciousness of the youth at the time that physical altercation would ensue the moment any of the two groups met. One made assumptions about the other as being soft, weak and lacked originality and didnt really create an identity of themselves. The simple fact of the matter was that they were both right, about each other and all the conflict was based on maintenance of the image they had about themselves.
southport weekender house party
What of this house music? Well, on the surface it may seem that the music has no identifying culture, as it seems that its all about the music and nothing else. That may be so for some that do not associate imagery with the music they listen to but to others there will always be image ry associated with the music they listened to. A case in point takes me back to a sunday chill out gig we used to organise [name not important], walking amogst the crowd which mostly enjoyed hip hop and rap, there was soulful and broken beat house being played by the dj at the time. The set was so good everyone was enjoying the music simply for what it was…it was at the point when someone said: “I dont listen to house music but this is dope!” A thought sprung to mind as to why this is so, and the simplest answer could be ‘the image of the music’ but that is really up to anyone’s opinion.
many genres now enjoy live perfomance setups, picutred here is the southport weekender no48, where house music is played and performed in a wide variety of setups and events. source: <>

One would easily associate house music with parties and sex and alcohol as in the days it first began, but that has changed over the years just like with all genres, as in that is not the only place it exists anymore, as it has many applications and can be listened to in a wide variety of situations by anyone who has less opinions about it or anything. It is at this point when one would realise that if they were to listen to the music for the sake of the music and not the image that you realise that its all music, and this may even open up the mind of the listener to what is true music and such genre wars would not exist.

yours in sound

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