Finding Effective Genre and Sub-Genre Tags for Hybrid Tracks

One of the most challenging jobs when tagging music is giving the proper genre tags to tracks that are of mixed styles.

I have run across mixtures of Orchestral, Pop and Rock, Jazz and Electronica, Folk and New Age and the list goes on. There are many strategies behind categorizing these tracks.

The most sensible way would be to have both a Genre and Sub-Genre category/field, or Genre and 2 Sub-Genre fields. These fields can also be labeled as “categories” and “sub-categories” or “Styles”.

When listening to mixed genres, pick out the dominant style.  There are some rare cases where the mix will be at a 50/50 split in style. The examples below are close to this scenario.

Fortunately, all tags and descriptors used for a track of this nature should clarify in more detail how the track can be used on a film spot.  The term hybrid is referring to the merge of many styles, and though it is optional, using the term to describe your music can be helpful.

Here are the sample tracks and tagging examples:
Example 1:

Genre: Rock Hybrid
Sub-Genre: Orchestral Hybrid
Sub-Genre 2: Trailer

I tagged this track as the dominant feature being in the Rock category, mainly because as the music progresses, the dominant force behind it is the driving drums and the underlying gritty electric guitar. The strings and choral elements create an overall epic feel and tagged as Orchestral Hybrid in the Sug-Genre field.  The intensity and energy that builds to the end with the driving drums falls and rises and changes in tempo are elements of a Trailer scene which I tagged as a 2nd Sub-Genre.  The Trailer tag can also be used as a descriptor.

Example 2:  Has both orchestral and electronic elements.

Genre: Orchestral Hybrid
Sub-Genre: Dubstep
Sub-Genre 2: Trailer

The dominant feature of this track is Orchestral with the merging of both electronic and string textures.  There are Dubstep elements featured at 0:36 and 0:53 so I tagged that in the Sub-Genre section.  The track definitely has dramatic builds and driving drums which is taken into account by tagging it as a Trailer in the Sub-Genre.

Below is another another great example of an Orchestral Hybrid with Dubstep elements that is the underscore for a video game trailer from 0:00:14  to 0:02:45.

Some descriptors to use that will offer more specificity when tagging these types of tracks would be:
Cinematic, Action, Adventure, Epic, Underscore, Tension, Panoramic, Flight, Building.

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