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Music {{#invoke:main|main}} A music genre is a conventional category that identifies pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions.<ref>Samson, Jim. "Genre". In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Accessed March 4, 2012.</ref> It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} There are numerous genres in Western classical music and popular music, as well as musical theatre and the music of non-Western cultures. The term is now perhaps over-used to describe relatively small differences in musical style in modern rock music, that also may reflect sociological differences in their audiences.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} Timothy Laurie suggests that in the context of rock and pop music studies, the "appeal of genre criticism is that it makes narratives out of musical worlds that often seem to lack them."<ref name="Laurie 2014">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }} 20 (2), pp. 283-292.</ref>

Music can be divided into different genres in several ways. The artistic nature of music means that these classifications are often arbitrary and controversial, and some genres may overlap. There are several academic approaches to genres. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green lists madrigal, motet, canzona, ricercar, and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. According to Green, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, and the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language".<ref name=Pete>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, and that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can also differentiate between genres.<ref name=Moore>Moore, Allan F. "Categorical Conventions in Music Discourse: Style and Genre". Music & Letters, Vol. 82, No. 3 (Aug. 2001), pp. 432–442.</ref> A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the styles, the context, and content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will often include a wide variety of subgenres.

Several music scholars have criticised the priority accorded to genre-based communities and listening practices. For example, Laurie argues that "music genres do not belong to isolated, self-sufficient communities. People constantly move between environments where diverse forms of music are heard, advertised and accessorised with distinctive iconographies, narratives and celebrity identities that also touch on non-musical worlds." <ref name="Laurie 2014"/>

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