Ever thought tacking “dark” or “deep” as a prefix onto a designated genre was a bit stupid and misses the point? If yes, well, researchers at a number of prestigious universities around the world agree with you.
In a new study published in the journal Social Psychological And Personality Science, music psychologists and researchers argue that categorizing music according to traditional genre forms only reflects “social connotations” rather than specific listener’s tastes. It also fails to explain how diversity in listening habits speaks more to subtle commonalities spread beyond vastly different genres. They propose three new ways of categorizing music: arousal, valence and depth.
As Digital Music News explain, “Arousal describes intensity and energy in music; Valence describes the spectrum of emotions in music (from sad to happy) and Depth describes intellect and sophistication in music.” So, rather than someone being inexplicably both a Beyonce and a tech-house fan, their taste for a combination of Valence, Arousal and Depth is what traverses genre all together.
All of this is very interesting, but we don’t think cafe bookstores need any more encouragement to make low-arousal mixtapes. Playlisting killed the genre star.