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The music page is desperately in need of refactoring and organizing. I'd do it now but I don't have time. Someone recently posted a very tendentious large category scheme including many different musical types--not too useful. But some kinds of categorizations can be perfectly useful and I think we should use them.


Actually, Larry, the listing of genres has been at the top of the page, growing capriciously for some time. I recently alphabetized it and considered reorganizing it according to major genres, with subcategories, but I didn't have enough knowledge or patience to do it, and also many of the categories overlapped. I don't know who reformatted it from the original paragraph after I alphabetized it, but it looks like the same information--I think that its need of organization is just more obvious now.

Plainly, I will have to go to work on it soon, then. --LMS

I changed the list of guitars on the main page from Guitar/Bass, Guitar/Classical etc. to their standard names, e.g. "Bass guitar, classical guitar" etc. because the notation seemed awkward, ungrammatical ("Paul McCartney is probably the most famous Guitar/Bass player in the world") and also inconsistent (why not Drums/timpani, drums/bongos etc.) I do think this is reasonable, but maybe it's not.

I did maintain the "guitar" part of the name because I think it's important to distinguish, say, "classical guitar" from "classical," which would likely be taken to mean "classical music." The same, of course, goes for "bass," "steel," and "slide."

This is a vast topic (music in general). There's little doubt why the page is as disordered as it is right now; the subject is exceptionally broad and the current page is trying to work with too much at one time.

I wonder if one might consider refactoring music in the following way:

  • Music Theory, to include a definition, terms in current use, various musical notations, etc.
  • Music History, to include musical eras like Classical and Baroque, within which music composers may be found (like Bach), cross-sectioned with certain influential musical works (like Handel's Messiah).
  • Music Instruments, to include strings, brass, woodwinds, non-western instruments, etc.
  • Musical Performers, which may include some historical elements (e.g. Rachmoninov was quite the pianist), but would also include popular performers and groups (Pink Floyd, Beatles, Sam Cooke), as well as non-western performers.
  • Musicology, to include etho-musicology, western musical history (mostly notable because it's written down), some of the down-n-dirty history (did Tchaikovsky really die of an illness, or kill himself by drinking water he knew was contaminated... and what about that gay angle?), and perhaps other things I'm not thinking of.

There's probably some other vast topics, and even these will mix into each other to some degree (there's quite a history to western musical notation, for example), but this might at least work for a start.

-- Fleeb

An excellent suggestion, I think. --KQ

I moved this text, taken from the music article, together with the comment about it. Perhaps the author of these sentences, or someone else, could put them back into the text with some allusion to the required supporting evidence.

The earliest forms of music were vocal, typically chanting. By varying the pitch of consecutive sounds this early music came upon the first notions of melody. From there came the first notion of scales, notes which sound pleasing (in some sense) when played sequentially.

[Interesting theory. Where did it come from? What archaelogical evidence that I have read about seems to indicate that percussive music dates back at least to the last Ice Age.--buzco]

I think Fleeb's suggestion is the best, but in my opinion we have to add the directory

  • Music genres.

(Cherubino) ---

African American music

What on earth does that mean? Music created by African-Americans? If so, do you mean rock and roll, blues, jazz, R&B, or hip-hop? If you mean one of those, why not say so? Else you sound like one of those record stores that uses "Urban" as as a catchall for R&B and hip hop, as if 1) all music in urban environments fit under one of those two categories and 2) those two genres of music didn't exist anywhere except in an urban environment. Alternatively, I suppose you might mean music created by Americans who emigrated from Africa. (I doubt that's it). --KQ

Yeah, that's a tough one. I've always thought of Jazz as the music of Americans emigrated from Africa. This covers music by such notables as Miles Davis, Scott Joplin (who tried to create an opera based on the Ragtime style of Jazz, but failed miserably), and so on. --Fleeb

There are separate Wikipedia pages with lists of novelists, poets, painters... even pianists. How about a separate page of composers? I'd like to get started on some composer biographies in the near future, and there are enough around that they deserve their own page. --Claudine

"A more formal definition is organized sounds and silences temporal in nature, able to be reproduced." Interesting, but open to question. Reproducibility is completely impossible with live performance, even of classical music; nor are "organised sounds and silences temporal in nature" necessary: improvisational jazz for example is dependant upon organisational fluidity. This needs a caveat wrapped around it. sjc

Any music can be reproduced if you use a tape recorder or other means. This includes simply recording street sounds, and replaying them. This is how my theory teacher explained his definition to me anyway. The sounds and silences are organized because they are not completely random, even in improvisation. The jazz players know their theory (hopefully! :)) and play with it in mind. But I suppose the street sounds would be random...I'll have to ask him about that. dreamyshade

Small problem with the tape-recorder principle: it depends upon where the tape recorder is located. A recording from the back of the hall is going to give a substantially different recording from one at the front for example... sjc

I'll have to disagree on that improvisation part; I know very little of jazz theory - that cannot mean that I couldn't improvise, because I do feel that I can improvise. It can be argued that improvisation without education is less intellectual but art does not have to be intellectual... Tbackstr

Ok then, but the improvisation is still not completely random. You are probably playing what sounds good to you in the context of the rest of the sounds. The two different tape recordings are two different pieces of music. They might have the same notes, but the way you hear it is different. This also goes for recordings on different nights. dreamyshade

If the same piece of music is two different pieces of music dependant on where the recording is made, then reproducibility disappears out of the window... I think you are quietly losing this one: there's nothing seriously wrong with what you're saying, it just needs a little more qualification, that's all... sjc

Yes, actually, I think I'm losing this too. It's probably because I didn't think up this definition: my theory teacher told it to me (as I said before). It works for most things, though. Maybe it would be better as "organized sounds and silences temporal in nature, able to be reproduced, with some degree of harmony, melody, and rhythm"? Or maybe that has way too many commas...:) dreamyshade

There may be a war on but rationing of commas hasn't started yet...:-) sjc

We already have a discussion about a definition of music page. --Fleeb