Musicians who want to share their music find themselves compelled at some point to describe the music they make, to locate themselves or their music in a genre.
The market and search engines require categorization.
Genre by definition is exclusive-a division between what belongs and what does not.
What if you don’t fit in a genre? What if you don’t want to be pigeon holed or beholden to a genre?
Sure, being able to describe your music as this or that genre gives people a sense of what to expect, a sense of anticipation for loving, hating, or tolerating. It may even determine whether people will give it a listen. It also allows people to find you.
It might even begin to limit what kind of music you allow yourself to create…
Yes, this is an argument for challenging the limits of musical genres.
When we listen to music, do we really hear the music itself? Or is it tempered by the conversation we are having with ourselves?
“This is good.”
“This is bad.”
“Is it as good as that last record or song I loved?”
“This isn’t country.”
“It’s too pop.”
“This is like X.”
Our analytical brains are forever classifying, comparing, contrasting, naming, seeking the familiar and predictable, the known, the answer. It’s by design, It ensures our survival.
This brilliant design costs us something.
We lose something of the pure experience of life.
We interact with our ideas versus the actual thing itself.
Imagine a world without musical genres for just a moment.
Someone somewhere pushes play, or lowers the needle into the shiny black grooves of the record and music fills your ears. You feel it moving through your body. The music is in you. You are the music.