During the short life of this SE, there have been several different lists of what is on and off-topic (which probably isn't unusual for a SE trying to find its identity). So this post is to make a canonical list of what is on-topic as of May 2016. Make each possible topic a separate answer, and upvote or downvote each one based on your own point of view.

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    I, personally, have been a little lax on what is acceptable. Basically, if we close everything immediately, people are going to stop coming. Everything you have here should be on-topic. If someone asks a question and it may be off-topic but you know the answer, I'd encourage you to answer it. Make this a valuable resource. Otherwise, we'll end up looking "exclusionary" and people will just stop asking questions. Once we get off the ground, I'm sure plenty of people will go back and clean up the older questions. – Johnny Bones Jun 3 '16 at 12:34
  • Why don't have one, but community-wiki answer? It would be better in terms of readability. – RudolfJelin Nov 4 '16 at 19:11

Technical questions about music appreciation equipment (turntables, records, CDs, etc).


Questions about the history of a (named, identified) piece of music or a musical genre or musician(s)


Questions about recording technology which relate to a music fan's enjoyment of music, and are not too purely technical.


Questions about meaning or interpretation of lyrics of (named/identified) song.

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    We would probably need to restrict this to questions and answers about documented, canonical interpretations --i.e. based on interviews with the songwriter & etc. – Chris Sunami May 25 '16 at 18:27
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    @ChrisSunami, I agree - should be reference to documented interpretations if they exist, but what about obscure/new artists, where there may be nothing out there ? – Angst May 25 '16 at 18:31
  • I think a SE-like format could work for that, but I don't think questions that subjective are generally welcome on SE sites. I'm all in favor of making our scope broader, but some things will have to stay off topic, even if they are of general interest to music fans. – Chris Sunami May 25 '16 at 18:34
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    The English and French language SE sites both have tags for meaning/interpretation of song lyrics. Many of these posts could be redirected there but I feel that many posts about lyrics are also of interest to other music fans. And questions about lyrics are very much part of being a music fan. So it's a tricky line we have to walk as a site, as many first posts are about lyrics. – Angst Jun 11 '16 at 8:10
  • @Angst Poetry and song interpretation is off-topic at ELU. – curiousdannii Oct 9 '16 at 4:01
  • ah ok, I see the "lyrics" tag on ELU is "Questions about the words used in a song", so song is just where the words happen to be. thanks. – Angst Oct 9 '16 at 18:05

Questions about the characteristics of specific musical genres.


Music-related questions that can be answered with some amount of objectivity, even if there isn't a single, provable, correct answer, and even if the questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience.

Examples of what I think qualifies here:

Why is the length of a song in much modern music between 3 and 4 minutes?

Why do guitarists use different gear in the studio than when playing live?

Is there still any potential for a major new popular music genre to appear?

reasons behind K - pop success

This answer is not intended to include questions entirely based on opinions, like:



Questions asking for help categorising a (named) piece of music, with identifying details


"Identify this song" or "identify this video" questions including specific details, such as identifiable lyrics, genre, time-period, instrumentation. A link should be provided if possible, but the description should also be contained in the text of the question.

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    + "identify this sample" provided context given for example "It starts at 00:43 in this recording" and some description "sounds like country singer with a lot of echo" – Angst May 25 '16 at 18:23
  • Personally, I think this one is the most in danger of pushing us off-kilter. We have a heck of a lot of 'whut's dis link?' & 'i herd a tune in the 90's. It had drums' type of ultra-low-quality non-question. – Tetsujin Aug 21 '16 at 12:48
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    I think the real problem is that apparently people don't have (comparatively) a lot of other "music fan" type questions versus "what is this?" questions. It's not that we're getting so many identify questions, it's that we're getting so little of anything else.... – Chris Sunami Aug 22 '16 at 12:55

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