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The term genre ( listen ? / I ; French for “ genre ”, plural: genres) is understood to mean an expression or classification with which different expressions of art , film , literature and music , but also journalistic forms of representation , according to spatial and temporal Related to artistic or other content. Audio file / audio sample


Genre, genre, style and epoch

Genus refers to the medium of expression, style to the formal language, era on the spatio-temporal allocation, and genre to the thematic-motivic content of art.

  • The genres of art (visual arts, performing arts, music, literature) develop their typical and independent genres, such as still lifes in painting, symphonic poetry in orchestral music or development novels in literature, westerns in film. Many genres run through different genres, such as crime fiction as literature, film or radio play, science fiction as literature, film and visual arts ( space art ), Dadaism in literature and drama, and so on.
  • In a genre there are different styles that are strongly influenced by the respective genre and show the characteristics of individual artists. Conversely, certain genres are style-typical for styles or individual artists.
  • Genres run through many epochs of art , such as landscape painting , or they remain typical of an epoch, such as the heroic epic , or they remain largely unaffected by the epochs, such as the icon .


Often genres are further specified in subgenres ("Untergenres", Latin sub "under"). This often leads to extensive ramifications:

Fine arts genres


A hierarchy of genres or genres of painting (genre hierarchy) was established in 1667 by the French architect and historiographer André Félibien . This took into account the degree of difficulty of the execution and remained an important component in the training and evaluation of the students of the Académie royale des beaux-arts in France until the end of the Ancien Régimes . According to Félibien, the genres were arranged from the “noblest” to the “simplest” as follows (in brackets: the corresponding genre):

History painting includes all the themes of history (history of mythology , antiquity , Christianity and other religions , history of the Middle Ages and modern times ) as well as the representation of literary motifs, and in some sources also allegorical painting.


Genres of literature

The concept of the genre does not exist in classical literary studies, one speaks of literary genres there . In addition to factual texts, a basic distinction is made between three main genres of aesthetic literature : epic , drama and lyric . In media studies, a distinction also genres in literature, in the Fiction z. B. Fantasy fiction , historical novel , crime fiction or horror fiction . Literature largely determined by the styles and topoi of a genre is also referred to disparagingly as " genre literature ". In non-fiction, for example, reports , popular scientific literature or specialist books . These classifications are not based solely on literary criteria, but also on market aspects, reader groups and consumption habits. Drama genres such as boulevard theater , studio theater or music theater correspond to those of the performing arts; In poetry, for example , a distinction can be made between occasional poems , song books and anthologies .

In literature marketing and in the publishing industry, genre literature is understood to mean works by authors who have specialized in a certain genre in order to be able to optimally and commercially successfully serve the needs of a certain, relatively narrow group of interested parties.


For European music , details are given under Form Theory (Music) and Genre (Music) . The music of other cultures can also be structured accordingly (e.g. for the Afro-American music blues , jazz , gospel or rhythm and blues ).

For a list of music genres, see the Music Genre category page .

Performing arts genres


For example, in the world of theater there are the following theater genres:


In films there are a variety of genres, which largely coincide with genres of literature (crime, horror, science fiction, erotica, satire). Here are just a few examples:

radio play

Radio play has also developed a large number of genres, including a .:

  • Detective radio play
  • Children's radio play
  • Documentary radio play
  • Original audio play

The radio feature , although related to the documentary and original audio play, is an independent radio genre.



In journalism today one speaks of forms of representation . The journalism of the German Democratic Republic had developed a sophisticated genre theory of journalistic forms. They differentiated according to the model of Soviet journalism

  • Informational modes of communication / genres
  • Analytical modes of communication / genres
  • Concrete forms of communication / genres

Computer and video games

In contrast to literature and film, computer games are assigned to different genres on the basis of game mechanics - and not thematically. They are presented with their mixed forms under genre (computer games) . Some examples are:

Textile industry

For the genres of clothing manufacturers, see Genre (textile industry) .


  • Red. D. Bib. Inst .: Meyer's little lexicon. Art. Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim 1986, ISBN 3-411-02655-3 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Genre  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • MusicMap : Genealogy and history of popular music genres from origin to the present (1870–2016).

Individual evidence

  1. Genre (Art) | Meaning, overview and examples. Accessed July 31, 2019 .
  2. Literature journal website , accessed on March 13, 2016.