This book is about the work of genre categories in American popular music. It investigates the diversity of musics subsumed under the category of popular music and deals with its boundary areas with folk music, art jazz, and world music. Genre is a fundamental structuring force in musical life. Discourse plays a major role in genre making. This chapter presents a discussion of terminological issues and outlines a general framework for understanding genre formation in popular music. The framework is an account of important mechanisms in a number of existing popular music genres in the United States. This introductory chapter is followed by a series of case studies that investigate a range of popular musics and share a commitment to understanding musical genre differences in relation to cultural difference and cultural diversity. Finally, an overview of the chapters included in this book is given.
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