Power Metal

The latest issue of Guitar World finally told me what the musical genre that I listen to most is called: Power Metal. I picked up the magazine on a whim, just for the fun of it and an opportunity to drool over nice guitars and various gadgets. The history of Power Metal was just an article that might be worth reading.

It’s odd how my musical taste has remained in the same genre for so long. Even though I listen to a fairly varying playlist (I blame my dear wife Anna for Enrique Iglesias and Sarah Brightman), it’s mostly some classics and modern power metal. When talking about classics, I know I’m odd. I’ll gladly ignore and forget the Beatles, Doors, Rolling Stones, etc. But give me Queen, Alice Cooper, Bruce Springsteen, and Eppu Normaali anytime. They’re my classics.

While the list of Power Metal bands in Wikipedia has just a few of my favorites, the GW article listed even more of my long-time favorites. I guess I’ve always been a fan of a heavier guitar sound and clean vocals. Most metal genres feature vocals that are far from clean and clear, death metal is something I can’t even stand. But I was surprised to see Dream Theater in the list of Power Metal bands in GW.

But now I know: I listen to Power Metal and am proud of it. Let Nightwish, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, and the lot play often and loud on my playlist.

On a semantic web and knowledge representation vein of thought: how do you define what bands belong into which music categories. One of my largest challenges lately has been in defining what is blues and what’s rock. The same problem lies behind many other categorizations. After all, books are sorted into thrillers, romance, fiction, non-fiction, children, and a whole list of categories. A mortar-and-bricks store can store each title (be it an album, book, or movie) in one category which makes finding the product quite hard at times.

But web-based system have a much easier time, after all, we can have a blog entry in multiple categories and it can be found through each of them. But why do many applications still insist that only one category can be set for a title? Or why do all photogallery applications only allow a picture to belong to one category (more on this sometime later)?

Using multiple categories can be helpful when looking for related material, but pre-defined categories are always limiting and problematic for everyone, including the person creating the categories. Ready made categories should offer guidelines on deciding which categories are appropriate for an entry, but there is always room for interpretation. And how about situations where a title has multiple layers which can differ significantly? I presume this is one of the reasons that folksonomies, or tags and keywords, have become so popular lately. They are not bound by an ontology (or vocabulary) that someone else has defined.

I really should start getting my thoughts in order on semantics, folksonomies, and galleries before I start rambling too much here…

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