A Thesis by Professor Chris Kemp

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the classification of popular music genre  using musical, paramusical and perceptual factors and is specifically focussed on the music industry through music managers, the media, the artist and the audience. A successful holistic interpretation of music genre identification would make a substantial contribution to the work in this field. However, this study not only explores genre but also its sub divisions, as genre can be divided into many sub units which often describe major or minor similarities or differences between two or more artists or musical episodes. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies are applied, enabling the articulation of different discourses in relation to music genre identification. This process utilises combinational methodologies to compare and contrast scientific and perceptual exploration. A qualitative approach is utilised to collect information from the industry, the media, the artist, and the consumer in relation to their perceptions of creation, identification and development of music. A quantitative approach is utilised to compare and contrast a finite number of musical and paramusical variables inherent in two musical genres-punk and nu punk. The resulting study explores the integration of musical and paramusical factors with the perceptions of the industry, the media, the artist and the consumer, and thus examines the possibility of the development of a holistic approach to genre identification and classification.

The objective of such an exploration is to ascertain the present means of genre, identification and to determine whether a more informed, structured and holistic approach has any inherent benefits for the industry, the media, the artist who are all integral to the genre identification process. During this study, the exploration of the dichotomy between defining specifically created genre frameworks and arbitrary genre definitions is undertaken. The aims of the study are further discussed in the methodology section of the study.

Read the full thesis below.

Towards a Holistic Interpretation of Musical Genre Analysis Thesis