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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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:

2 Answers 2


One of the things I like about this site is that we all have different backgrounds. Whereas I'm most comfortable writing answers based in the classical style, I learn a lot (and get a lot of enjoyment!) out of reading what people have to say about the topic in terms of other styles.

All this to say that I actually kind of like the current system, and I worry that, if questions become genre specific, then we run the risk of having as many different versions of the same question as there are genres.

But that's only one opinion, of course!

  • Multiple Answers covering multiple styles!. But since a question must ideally have an "Accepted Answer", It might be worthwhile to discuss here at meta how this and answers with different background can work together. Jun 24, 2020 at 6:49

Adding genre tags would muddy more questions than it would help especially since then you get into the territory of people trying to specify sub genres and if there are examples cross genres you end up with a question tagged with just genres. I also don't know if people vote based on the genres of the answers, but voting on genre should not be a thing in general as what example someone uses should not change the validity and quality of what they are posting.

For those two examples, I do not think genre tags are needed. The first one does not mention genre because they are interested in general song writing concepts nor do either of the answers. It is a more opinionated question so I'd expect answers with several different approaches regardless of genre. The second question while the OP mentioned the Beatles, they are specifically talking about a sus4 chord on the dominant which chord construction and scales is the same across genres. I also think it's unclear exactly what the OP wants to know (work better in what way? They mention tension, but more tension can be desired or not desired depending on what someone is going for even within a genre).

It should also be noted that working musicians typically play in many, many different groups across many different genres and trying to narrow a question to suite only one genre kind of dampers the wide view those musicians have.

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