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

Board games might be divided into genres by usage or by a main mechanic. In the first approach you have a few categories, like: "abstract games"/"war games" etc. The second approach gives us many genres with new appearing all the time and much potential for "crossover" (a term used also in music). Knowledge in both these topic might be useful for game designers when additional inspiration is needed.
See also: Board game mechanics for music

There is more chaos with computer games genres. Luckily, this topic, although can also provide some inspiration, is much less useful for music games design than board game genres.

Music mess

Criteria for inclusion into a musical genre are all over the place. Even factors like employed instruments, era of popularity, forms used or even themes described (if 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 "classical 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 music and music games

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

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 distances itself from limitations of established genres and to look for more freedom in music.

Music games as a genre

From board games perspective music-making as a specific element of a game may lead to 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 treating music game as a specific genre is acceptable.

Music games as genres

Every game might be played in many ways, but all realisations will belong to a same category (a genre?). This might again be a common understanding some time in the future and it 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 genre as rulesets to follow can be done in such diverse areas as bebop jam session or Turkish makam. New 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 theme as a different genre might be incorporated into many full-fledged games. Such an activity of genre-swapping was famously used by Frank Zappa. Here is a list of selected genres that you may use for a lottery for example.

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

This example will probably need to be adapted to your intended players. Unfortunately U-Z genres are obscure…

Music games played in genres

Games may stay in specific genres 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 a tag that groups them:

Djent game is an interesting example, because it takes it's name from a genre. It used a characteristic element of the genre (polyrhythm over 4/4), and can be played in most genres of music if they use a 4/4 rhythms.

Mark for clarification

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