I have noticed a few questions where the answer will depend heavily on which genre the original poster is asking about. In some cases, the question is simple enough that a good answer could say,
The correct vocal placement depends on the genre. Classical singers generally …, while in popular music it's common to … .
covering the most salient examples.
But other questions are too involved to give an answer covering every genre, so people will often respond like this:
I will confine my answer to classical functional harmony. Usually, the leading tone resolves upward ….
The problem with this, in my opinion, is that instead of generating several competing answers to the same question, we get competing answers to competing questions:
- What is the function of the leading tone in jazz?
- What is the function of the leading tone in classical music?
- What is the function of the leading tone in the blues?
Often the top answer is the one that speaks to the most popular genre, not the highest-quality answer. Or, someone will respond to a question with a very detailed answer about (say) jazz theory, attracting many upvotes, but then the OP will clarify that they were asking about classical and pick an answer that reflects that, which I imagine is a bit disappointing to the person who wrote about jazz.
What should be done about questions whose answers depend on the genre? Broadly speaking, I think there are two approaches we could take:
- Encourage genre specificity by commenting on/closing questions that don't name a genre in the body or tags (note that this wouldn't apply to questions like "How do I tune a guitar?" that don't depend on genre)
- Allow "open genre" questions, but encourage voters (how?) to vote for answers based on their quality instead of their interest in the genre
Here are a few examples:
- When playing piano and singing is it better to voice the chords out of the way of the vocal? In some genres it's desirable to double the melody on the piano; in others (jazz) it's considered obtrusive.
- Does the sus4 work better on a dominant chord? Most answers focus on classical, but OP mentioned the Beatles.