Genre

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A conventional category that identifies some work (piece of music, game, etc.) as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions.

Genres of games

If you want to distinguish between video games and tabletop games, you would call them (e.g.) "types" of games rather than genres. Regardless of how we classify the family relations of RPGs, app-assisted games or parlor games etc., some knowledge of genres might be useful for game designers when additional inspiration is needed.

Mechanic — A subsystem of the game that regulates interaction with a game state.

Board games might be divided into genres by their (1) traditional usage, or by (2) the main mechanic they employ. In (1) you may end up with just a few categories, like: "abstract games"/"war games" etc. each very broadly applying to many games with strongest focus on the cultural context of the game. The (2) option gives us much more genres with new constantly appearing while new mechanics are invented. This approach gives also lot of potential for a "crossover" (connecting different genres), because in many games it's hard to distinguish a single central mechanic.
See also: Board game mechanics for music

Music mess

Constellation — A line-up for a single performance of improvised music.

Criteria for inclusion into a musical genre are all over the place. Even factors like employed instruments (possible constellations), era of popularity, forms used or even themes described (if a genre is based on singing) do matter.

Within all musical traditions together there are hundreds if not thousands of genres treated at different level of detail depending on a context. For example, Wikipedia has rock music defined as a genre of popular music, it sees heavy metal as a genre of rock music and then provides a long list of heavy metal genres. With even less of consistency, whole area of "art music" can surprisingly be treated as a one single genre in some contexts.

Maybe useful to consider are some more general categories that may guide the sorting of musical pieces. It can be done (again according to Wikipedia) in a few ways, for example by forming general groups: folk / art / pop or by estimating the music within three spectra: arousal / valence / depth.

Relations between musical genres and music games

Generally, game pieces are most often considered a broad type of experimental music pieces, where experimental music is considered a broad genre. Never-the-less genres might play many different functions in music games. Here is an overview.

Non-idiomatic music — The genre of "no genre", also known as free music.

Music games against genres: Many game pieces are loose concepts for improvisation, which usually takes the form of non-idiomatic music. The approach of non-idiomatic playing is to distance itself from limitations of established genres and to look for more freedom in music.

Music game as a genre: Music-making might be considered a mechanic, distinguishing music games as a genre of games (especially if this activity will get more popular). In the field of music, game pieces are forms of music-making that might be appreciated in general and on their own, and genre terms are applied very loosely anyway, so maybe it can be a genre of music too, but rather music games are too diverse for this usage (too much of a "crossover").

Music games as genres: Every game might be played in many ways, but all realizations will belong to a same category (a genre?). This usage is left for the future and would fit only to some of the games — those that leave a considerable level of freedom.

Genres as music games: Improvisational genres might be imagined as music games (sometimes there are rules and sometimes they are "fun" to play). Treating musical genres as rulesets to follow can be done in such diverse areas as bebop jam session or Turkish makam. Music is played out within these constraints, often resulting from interaction between musicians. Some traditional music has been already considered a 'game-like' activity, for example Inuit (or also Ainu) throat singing in pairs.

Music games with genres: A fun activity of playing same material as a different genre might be incorporated into many full-fledged games. Such an activity of genre-swapping was used by Frank Zappa in improvisation, and by John Zorn, for example in Bezique. Here is a small list of selected genres that you may use for a lottery for example.

  • Ambient /
  • Blues /
  • Country /
  • Disco /
  • Electronica /
  • Flamenco /
  • Gospel /
  • Hip-hop music /
  • Industrial /
  • Jazz /
  • K-Pop /
  • Latin /
  • Metal /
  • Noise /
  • Opera /
  • Punk /
  • Reggae /
  • Ska /
  • Trance /

This example will probably need to be adapted to contexts other than "pop perspective", unfortunately U-Z genres are obscure…
Get it as a printable deck

Music games on genres: Games may be targeted for the specific genre or let you choose one and let the game be played in its context. As many of today's music is done idiomatically, the demand for such games might be high. The games that can be played in genre have the in-genre tag that groups them. Djent game even takes it's name from a genre, using the most characteristic element of it (polyrhythms over 4/4) and generating a simple in genre piece, when instrumented fittingly.

Insert game — A game easy to be made a part of other musical structures.

Genre-fitting music games: Insert games can be played within another piece of music. That piece might be in genre and naturally some genres are more encompassing than other towards inserting a game during a genred piece, attitute towards improvisation being the most important factor.


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