Differentiating The Singer-Songwriter Genre From Others

The concept of genre is an important point of distinction between different forms of music, although artists have increasingly been mixing genres, making it difficult to differentiate among them at times.

The music industry is a sea of different sounds all playing to different musical tastes. The concept of genre is an important point of distinction between different forms of music, although artists have increasingly been mixing genres, making it difficult to differentiate among them at times. Among those that have become somewhat ambiguous over time is the singer-songwriter genre.

In addition to the fact that many people are not sure as to whether it is an actual genre, or a classification, the term can take on several different meanings, resulting in confusion. However, there are a number of fundamental differences which set it apart.

 

History

To begin with, the singer-songwriter genre was identified in the 1960s and flourished into the 1970s. It is believed to have been coined in North America but has been attached to pop stars in European countries such as France and Britain.

A number of music history authorities indicate that it arose from the folk-acoustic traditional form, which was popular in the 1950s and gave rise to rock music. Based on this association, singer-songwriters are defined as musical artists who not only write the words for their songs, but also compose the melodies, musical arrangement and ultimately perform their own songs. This is in contrast to earlier Tin Pan Alley songwriters who only created material for other performers.

 

Instruments

Evident with many early singer-songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, the instruments of choice for practitioners of the genre were the acoustic guitar and piano. That of course does not mean that other instruments were never used; for example, in a band setting but, the two play an integral role, often during the writing process as well as in live performances. Later singer-songwriters that have carried on the tradition include Tracy Chapman and Sheryl Crow, who are associated with playing the guitar.

 

Content

The content produced by singer-songwriters is often of a very intimate, real-world nature. Many songs in the genre are built on personal experiences or life situations, resulting in singer-songwriters often connecting with audiences on a more relatable level.

Although not as popular as before, the singer-songwriter genre still has its place in popular music. With history having a way of repeating itself, it’s left to see whether it will rule the music scene once more.

The SongCat Team
About the Author
The SongCat Team

We believe in supporting artists of all levels of their musical journey, from the 40-year music business veteran, to the burgeoning songwriter who are looking to polish their craft. We also believe that creating professional, high quality, and expertly mixed recordings shouldn’t be limited to high budget record deals.

Popular Posts
Join our Newsletter

You can opt out any time.
You should receive an
automatic welcome email –
if not already subscribed.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Follow Us
Want to Guest Post?

We're always open to guest writers on SongCat Blog, as long as the writing is high quality and a good fit with our style. All content must be original and between 1000 and 2000 words long. We don't guarantee to publish your submission, but we will review it and make a decision if it meets our requirements. We don’t pay for guest blogs. However, every guest author can submit a short bio with the article (about two sentences) they can link to their company, Twitter, blog, etc. By submitting a post to us, you are affirming that you are the author, and that the content has not appeared elsewhere in print or online.