When I first got into music journalism and blogging, I thought that all genres, including jazz, pop, and rock, should be capitalized. I saw people capitalizing the words often on social media and in small music blogs, so I thought it could be an either-or thing.
Turns out, you shouldn't capitalize genres in music or art most of the time. There are a few exceptions that I want to let you know about.
The main genre of music that I love to create is R&B, so you can see why I would get confused about capitalization, especially when listing it along with genres like hip-hop and pop.
Since R&B is short for rhythm and blues, you want to capitalize bother letters.
Writing these letters both in lowercase will obviously be recognizable, and I'm sure you could get away with it, but most professional publications capitalize the letters in this genre.
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It can also get a bit confusing when you combine proper nouns with a genre. For example, what if you have British pop? You still want to capitalize the word British.
Want to know where it gets even more confusing? There's a genre referred to as Britpop, where you should always capitalize the B since it is short for British. The rules get a bit tricky here, I know!
As you probably know, when you're writing a blog or post title, you should still capitalize all of the words.
Don't take the rules so far to the head that you try to avoid capitalizing the genres in your title while keeping everything else capitalized; that would look pretty strange!
And also, just in case you're still overthinking, you still want to capitalize the genre if you're starting the sentence with the word. I know you know this, right? Just making sure!
My mind gets a little funky sometimes, so I won't blame you if you were thinking about starting your sentence with a non-capitalized word. Ok, maybe a little.
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Another exception comes around when you want to write about historical periods throughout music like Baroque and Renaissance music.
These periods often cover a multitude of genres that are not to be capitalized and others that have proper nouns in front of them that you should capitalize.
The one exception within this exception is that you should not capitalize on medieval music, which covers an extremely large amount of genres throughout the Middle Ages.
As you can see from my previous sentence, Middle Ages is capitalized when written, but the medieval period is not.
Ultimately, while capitalization rules provide structure and consistency, the context and intent behind your writing should guide your decision.
Consider the purpose and tone of your piece. If capitalizing a genre enhances clarity or emphasizes a specific aspect of the music, deviating from the general rules may be appropriate.
Always prioritize effective communication and convey your intended message clearly. Remember, the goal is to engage readers and create an enjoyable and informative reading experience.
By understanding the general capitalization guidelines, being aware of exceptions, and adapting to style guides or publication preferences, you can confidently navigate the world of genre capitalization in music writing and produce professional, consistent, and engaging content.
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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