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Roberto Vidal
Mrs. Paige Blair
ENC 2135
15 September 2015
Love in a Set of Genres
Throughout our daily lives, we use a series of categorizations and platforms to
obtain and impart information to one another. Whether we are able to recognize those
genres or not, they are ever-present. In my personal case, one genre that seems to be
pervasive throughout my day, and more encompassing, my life, is music, particularly,
love songs. I use love songs as a literature digest that aids me to form aspirations as to
what I desire in a relationship, and, more importantly, what expectations I have of people
who love me. Nevertheless, in this composition, I hope to portray the different styles of
music that provide a platform for the consumption of love songs, exhibit how those
distinct platforms affect my consumption of the overarching genre, and demonstrate how
my choice of such platforms describes me as an individual.
To begin, three styles of music that have caught my attention in regards to my
daily consumption of love songs have been: Rhythm and Blues, Contemporary Popular
Music, and Country Western Music. Each of these distinct subgenres help in the
dissemination of the predominant genre that are love songs; however, there are specific
genre conventions within each subgenre that make each of them unique in its purpose of
creating a foundation for said love songs.
In my consumption of the subgenre Rhythm and Blues, which yields to the
classification of the genre of love songs, the treatment of the compositional lyrics are

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more prominent and important than the musical melodic line that is present in the other
genres aforementioned. R&B deviates from the traditional song composition technique
that first prioritizes the melodic line and then the lyrics. Therefore, this technique of
emphasizing the choice of lyrics rather than the melodic line is a genre convention in the
genre of R&B. This convention tends to focus on a more forward, controversial, and
crude aspect of literary composition within music. The specific conventions used within
the genre are colloquial language, implementation of profanity, and the exaltation of very
controversial themes and motifs. These conventions help create a basis in which raw
emotion is expressed. An example of this can be seen in Frank Oceans album, channel
ORANGE, in which the artist uses R&B as a foundation to exploit raw lyrics that subtly
reveal his homosexuality. Without the profanity use in the genre convention, R&B, and
Oceans art, would not be able to overtly convey a message through the realization of
raw, emotional lyrics. Nevertheless, it is through these raw lyrics that I am able to
identify with R&B, and more specifically, love songs. Through the emotion that was
evoked through the revealing of Oceans sexuality in his album, I was able to find
acceptance through the harsh words he presented. I was able to draw a connection
between words of inspiration and the fact that I am a homosexual man. It was only
through the raw lyrics of his songs that I was able to find meaning behind the sentiments
I was having towards life and what it meant to be different. If R&B focused on a pretty
melodic line to convey a superfluous message, the genre would not have the enormous
impact it has on me today. That is why I believe one of the purposes of R&B is to present
matter in a straightforward colloquial way in which everyone is able to understand and
apply to their everyday lives, just as I have done.

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Besides R&B, another subgenre that I consume, that serves as another basis for

the genre that is love songs, is Contemporary Popular Music. Pop is a distinct category on
its own when it comes to love ballads. Pop music tends to emphasize more on the contour
of the melodic line of the music, as well as, pairing lyrics with climatic sections within
the song. While the lyrics in Pop are not so foretelling, through the parallelism of the
dynamics within the music, Pop songs are able to portray emotion through the voice
rather than lavish lyrics. An example of this can be seen in Cline Dions 1996 single
All By Myself, where even though the lyrics are not too profound, the climatic
emphasis of being alone is emphasized in the bridge of the song where the singer holds
and sustains a high belted note, an F#5, on the phrase All by myself, dont want to be all
by myself ANYMORE! Here, we can clearly see the genre convention that Pop
employs: Pop uses word painting through music in order to convey the message that is
love. This genre convention of wording painting just rushes me with emotion because one
of our greatest senses is our auditory sense. Our bodies and minds are capable of relating
an emotion or sentiment with a specific sound or tune. For example, every time we
visualize a sad scene in a film, it is normally accompanied by a minor violin solo passage
in the foreground in order to audiate the emotions that are occurring on the screen. Just as
film scores provide emotion to a moving picture, a contoured melodic line in Pop music
can just as easily express emotions that cannot be related to words. For me, Pop music
usually makes me weep when I reach the bridge of a song. However, unlike R&B, this
flood of emotion is not paralleled by the intense meaning of the lyrics, but, rather by the
mournful and soulful quality of the singers voice. In All By Myself, I find myself
tearing up when the vocalist reaches the aforementioned phrase in the bridge due to the

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pain that is behind that musical passage. By making the peak of the phrase on the extreme
edge of the singers range, the meaning of the song is expressed though the music and her
voice. This surge of emotion caused by the melodic line of Pop music aids me in using
Pop music as a method of catharsis. I use Pop music when having to endure a break up or
even when love is not present in my life. As a musician, I relate to Pop because I can see
how beautiful music is able to have a profound effect on my life and still hold true to its
own.
Nevertheless, the third subgenre in which I consume love songs through would be
Country Western Music. Country Music is divergent from all previous subgenres for
Country Music uses story-telling lyrics to convey a profound love message. Through the
use of a programmatic structure, Country Music seems to deviate from any specific
rhyme scheme or musical melodic form in order to maintain the purity of story telling.
This genre convention can be heard in Willie Nelsons 1982 single Always On My
Mind, where the rhyme scheme is dropped at the cadence of every verse in order to
maintain the wholesomeness that comes from the story-telling aspect of Country Music.
Country Music has a great impact on my life because it gives me a backdrop of
expectation that allows me to create an understanding of what is love and how love is
ever-present in my daily life. Through the story of others, I am able to learn and grow to
not make the same mistakes they did. I am able to use Country music as a moral guide
and compass to point me in the right direction of love. Country music serves as the
foundational storybook for my autobiography, which is my current life. Through the
convention of story-telling, Country music has had an effect on my life that is modeled
by example.

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To conclude, the reasons I use these subgenres in order to consume the genre that

is love songs is because each distinct subgenre creates a discrete set of feelings in my
being. R&B reveals the truth, cruel reality of love, while Pop creates a scheme of hope in
which I can aspire to love, and Country postulates a backdrop of ideas that serve as a
moral telling for me to learn from the past. I use these genres to learn about love, how to
love, and what to expect from love. Through these subgenres I am capable of learning of
what is unknown to me and I can aspire to one day be able to comprehend the idea of
love and what it can do for my life. Without love songs, I would not be able to
comprehend love. I would be lost amongst a society that fails to accept those who are
different and divergent from the norm. Through the individualistic subgenres that are
present in love songs, I am able to learn the different aspects of love through different
mediums, however, they all have one effect on me: they make me a hopeless romantic.
Love songs provide a purpose for me that once seemed to be a complete lost cause.
Without love songs, there would be no me for I would not understand the emotion that all
humans yearn and require, love. I believe in the idea of love, and I hope to one day be
able to love for myself. Nevertheless, through the subgenres that are R&B, Pop, and
Country, and the conventions within each platform, love songs seem to be an integral part
of my every day life. In a world that seems to perpetuate purposelessness, I can only find
meaning through that feeling and passion which unites us all, love.

1585 Words