The Library of Congress > National Jukebox > Genres

Every recording in the National Jukebox is described by one or more Genre terms. The terms have been assigned from a pre-defined small group. Each term is described below. Genre terms describe a broad category or form of music, a type of spoken recording, or another feature of the content of the recording.

Indented terms below are sub-genres. Selection of one of the broad terms (for example, "Popular music") will return a list of all recordings to which Popular has been assigned, as well as all recordings to which a Popular sub-genre term has been assigned. The latter group includes blues, ethnic music, humorous songs, and other sub-genres listed below.

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Classical music

Classical, or concert, music of any form or instrumentation. Popular pieces interpreted by musicians best known for performing classical music may also be found here.

  • Opera
    Selections assigned this sub-genre include excerpts from operas and similar works such as operettas and oratorios.

Find Classical music recordings

Ethnic characterizations

This heading is used for works that incorporate ethnic or regional groups as subject matter. Text and music may involve characters and/or musical elements that reflect attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs associated with ethnic and regional groups at the time the selections were written and performed. These characterizations may utilize outmoded and offensive stereotypes of nationalities, religions, or races.

Find Ethnic characterizations recordings

Popular music

This heading encompasses popular music of any form or instrumentation. All selections assigned the sub-genres listed below (Blues through Yodeling) will also appear under this heading.

  • Blues
    Blues and blues-like works and performances.
  • Ethnic music
    Selections that incorporate traditional music associated with various ethnic groups, nationalities, and regional cultures.
  • Humorous songs
    Songs of a humorous or comic nature. Note that use of the term "humorous" indicates only the intention of the work at the time the recording was made.
  • Musical theater
    Works originally introduced in poplar musical theater productions.
  • Ragtime, jazz, and more
    Jazz and musical forms that are considered to be among the roots of jazz, including ragtime
  • Whistling
    Musical recordings that include whistling
  • Yodeling
    Musical recordings that include yodeling.

Find Popular music recordings


A musical or spoken word selection of a religious theme

Find Religious recordings

Spoken word

This heading encompasses all spoken word selections, including works to which the sub-genres below have been assigned

  • Comedies
    Comedic spoken word selections. Use of the term indicates only the intention of the work at the time the recording was made.
  • Speeches
    Political addresses and readings of pre-existing texts

Find Spoken word recordings