I write a fair bit of music in my spare time but I don't really listen to any all too much, so I'm not very familiar with what falls under what genres. I've starting posting my work, but I dont really know what genre(s) to label my songs. (I use many different styles and blend things as well, so its not all cut and dry) Any suggestions for learning to identify genre types or resources so I can learn to do this quickly? Sorry I know this is a bit vague.

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    If you are comfortable with running neural networks I saw there were some music genre classifiers on github.
    – Emil
    Jul 1, 2023 at 8:17
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    I’m voting to close this question because genera identification is not on-topic. Aug 3, 2023 at 7:40

3 Answers 3


I've been looking at this question for a couple of days and thinking it ought to be closed but having a hard time articulating why. Questions asking for "what genre is this song" are not covered here (here's a bit about what is, as well as how to get food, focused answers), but this is a question about how to identify genres. I think the real problem is that the answer is: Sorry, there's no quick, easy way. You just have to do the research of actually coming to understand each genre—its values, its methods, the people who contribute to it—and in the process you'll learn what it constitutes.

Even the word "genre" is fuzzy. Sometimes we use it to mean various musical forms—symphony vs sonata. More often it denotes what amount to discrete music-cultures—"scenes," in which the musicians and audiences share many cultural markers and aesthetic values. This gets still more problematic, because many acts actively resist categorization, or fall into gray areas in between the large boxes ("a little bit country, a little bit rock'n'roll"). And because human subcultures are nested fractally, and we can easily split hairs over taxonomy (is this indie-pop post-punk, or post-pop indie punk?).

So anyone who promises a list of musical markers to correlate to genres (a strong backbeat = rockabilly, every chord containing a 7th = jazz) is offering only a very blunt instrument to help with the very broadest strokes. Instead, get to know the people and stories behind the music. In this case, you have an advantage: You're the person, and the story is yours. If there are genres that you intend to inhabit, so be it. If there are genres that you may have something in common with without knowing it, explore and you'll find them. But you have the first say in how you want to be described.


Modern music genres like country,jazz,pop, hard/soft rock,metal,blues,hip-hop, disco, electro, funk etc will have certain musical or lyrical features to identify them. Some genres have subgenres eg different types of blues or jazz and some will be a fusion of 2 or 3 genres eg John Denver's Vi ntry Roads is "Country/Pop", Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles and others did "Country Rock" (that traditional country music purists hate, mainly because of the rocky beat and electric guitars). There's other fused styles, too, even "classical pop" heard in 60's type pop classicalinstrumentals.The depressing lyrics will often indicate blues genre. Rock will have its unmistakable driving "back best" and deal with everyday lives subject matter eg love lost/found/courtship etc. Heavy rock will involve "riffs" (repeated musical note motifs). Heavy metal employs many "power chords" to achieve its spooky, dark quality and deals with certain subjects, usually about death,spirituality etc, but not the kind modern gospel or blues explores.Try listening to many styles to pick up their unique "style signature". Classical musical also has this eg Romantic era music CF Baroque or Early Music styles, all with unique features distinguishing each style.


If you don't have the breadth of experience required to categorise your music, you'll have to share it with as many people as possible and get THEIR opinions.

But why are you so bothered about labels? Give a vague description - enough to warn people whether they're getting a love song or a Marvel-style soundtrack - then let them work out their own reasons for not liking it :-)

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    One answer might be metadata and the business of music discovery. Maybe your music is vaguely blues-y; tagging it "blues" will help it show up in searches. (Perhaps inappropriately so; Dave Matthews is "vaguely bluesy" but is in no sense a bluesman.) Jun 30, 2023 at 19:58
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    @AndyBonner You're probably right about metadata: When publishing through digital aggregators/distributors, genre metadata is usually required and the value must be selected from a predefined list.
    – Theodore
    Jul 3, 2023 at 19:18

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