Wikipedia:WikiProject Musicians/Categorization

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The Musicians WikiProject aims to organize and categorize the articles about musicians within Category:Musicians and its many, many sub categories.


You can check on or update the progress at /Progress

Category structure[edit]

Please use the following guidelines when organizing articles. To discuss these guidelines, please use the talk page.


The subcategories of Category:Musicians have been divided into three "orders" based on amount of information encapsulated by the category. The three pieces of information are the genre, nationality, and instrument. Categories that encapsulate only one of these bits of information (e.g., Category:British musicians and Category:Punk rock musicians) are first order, two pieces of information are second order, and so on.

Order naming[edit]

All categories should be named using the following order:

  1. Nationality
  2. Genre
  3. Instrument

Pieces of information not included in lower-order categories (1 and 2) should simply be skipped. In the absence of the instrument, the term "musicians" should be used. Otherwise, the word for someone who plays that instrument should be used (e.g., "guitarists"), and should always be plural. Examples:


To separate categories of different orders, we use pre-order categories. These group similar higher order subcategories within their parent category. In general, Category:<N> <G> musicians is a sub category of Category:<N> musicians, but so is Category:<N> <I>ists, which is true for all genres "G" and all instruments "I". Therefore, to keep them separate, we introduce two pre-second order sub-categories of <N> musicians, which are: Category:<N> musicians by genre and Category:<N> musicians by instrument. Category:<N> <G> musicians is now a sub category of the former, and Category:<N> <I>ists is a subcategory of the latter, and neither is placed directly into Category:<N> musicians. Similarly, pre-third order categories might be of the form Category:<N> <I>ists by genre as a subcategory of Category:<N> <I>ists and Category:<G> <I>ists by nationality is a subcat of Category:<G> <I>ists.

Note that each first order category can have 2 pre-second order sub cats, but each second order category has one pre-third order sub cat, because the second-order category itself is only missing one piece of information.


There are also three pre-first categories, which are subcategories of Category:Musicians itself. These are simply Category:Musicians by nationality,Category:Musicians by genre, and Category:Musicians by instrument.

Placing pre-order categories[edit]

All pre-order categories should be placed into the parent category using piped links to specify the sorting order. The sorting word should start with a space so that the pre-order categories show up first in the sub-categories listing. Following the space should be simply the name of the page, for which you can use {{subst:PAGENAME}}.

Category:<N> <G> musicians by instrument should be placed in the parent category with:

[[Category:<N> <G>|{{subst:PAGENAME}}]]

Placing order-categories[edit]

Every order category should be in one lower-pre-order category for each piece of information in the category. In other words, second-order categories should be sub categories of two different pre-second categories, and third-order cats should be sub-cats of three different pre-third categories. For consistency, parent categories should be listed in the following order:

  • For third order:
  1. NG by instrument
  2. NI by genre
  3. GI by nationality
  • For second order:
  1. N by genre or N by instrument
  2. G by nationality or G by instrument
  3. I by nationality or I by genre

When placing order-categories into pre-order categories, use piped links to specify the sorting on the category page. The piped text (i.e., the sorting key) should be the piece of information offered by the new sub-cat. For instance, if placing Category:<N> <G> musicians into Category:<N> musicians by genre, the sorting should be <G>, so the category link would look like this:

[[Category:<N> musicians by genre|<G>]]

Always start the sorting word with a capital letter, mediawiki knows the difference and sorts capital letters and lower case letter separately. When sorting by nationality, use the nationality, not the country. When sorting by instrument, use the instrument, not the term for someone who plays the instrument, e.g., Guitar not Guitarist.


Category:American rock drummers:

[[Category:American rock musicians by instrument|Drums]]
[[Category:American drummers by genre|Rock]]
[[Category:Rock drummers by nationality|American]]

Category:British guitarists:

[[Category:British musicians by instrument|Guitar]]
[[Category:Guitarists by nationality|British]]

Note about singers[edit]

Singers should be considered musicians who use a specific instrument, that instrument being Vocals. The term for a person who "plays the vocals" so to speak is a singer. Therefore, in category names, use the term "singer" but when sorting by instrument, use "Vocals" as the instrument.

The previous method of sorting singers by "style" rather than "genre" (e.g. Category:Singers by style and Category:American singers by style) has been changed: all musicians, including singers, should be sorted "by genre", rather than "by style".

Placing articles in the structure[edit]

Articles should be placed into as specific of a category as possible, always favor third-order over second, and second over first whenever the information is available. They should not be placed in a parent category and also one of it's sub categories, e.g., no placing an article in both Category:<N> <G>musicians and Category:<N> musicians, it's redundant. And remember, you should only have to place each article into one category using this scheme because each third order category is a sub-cat of all the appropriate second order and first order categories, so if you put your article into Category:<N> <G> <I>ists, it automatically falls under Category:<N> <G> musicians, Category:<N> <I>ists, and Category:<G> <I>ists, not to mention Category:<N> musicians, Category:<G> musicians and Category:<I>ists.

Other things that come up[edit]

Category overlap[edit]

What about things like Category:Heavy metal musicians and Category:Rock musicians. Clearly Heavy metal musicians are a sub-set of Rock musicians, so Category:Heavy metal musicians should be a sub-category of Category:Rock musicians. That's fine, no problem, make it a sub cat of Category:Rock musicians the same way you normally would. This also applies to Category:Scottish musicians, which is a sub cat of Category:British musicians and Category:Bass guitarists, which is a sub category of Category:Guitarists. The question is whether the sub categories should also be built into the structure. Generally, the answer can be yes, in addition to being a sub cat of Category:American rock musicians, Category:American heavy metal musicians should also be a sub cat of Category:American musicians by genre and Category:Heavy metal musicians by nationality. The applicability of this is a matter of opinion, but generally, unless the over lap is very strong and very obvious (e.g., Category:Six string guitarists as a subset of Category:Guitarists), the more-specific subcategory can be placed in the structure. Otherwise, you can simply leave it as a sub-category of the category already in the structure (Category:Guitarists in the previous example).

{{Fooian fooers}}[edit]

This is a template used to add a classification box to the top of a page based on the subject's nationality and profession. It shows up quite a bit on musician pages and even musician categories. The template itself is fine, but one of the arguments, Supercategory, tends to conflict with the guidelines for third-order categories because the template automatically puts pages directly into second order NI categories, instead of NI by genre. Therefore, on category pages where this causes a conflict, please simply remove the (optional) Supercategory argument to resolve the conflict.


Once again, these types of categories are common and don't conflict with the guidelines. Don't try to fit them in the structure, just leave them as a sub-category of the appropriate Singer category.

Other pre-order categories[edit]

There's a lot of categories that look like a pre-order category, for instance Category:American musicians by ethnicity. These are not officially maintained by this project at this point, but where such categories do exist, feel free to work them into the structure the same way you would with the others.

Hip hop categories[edit]

There are some special considerations concerning hip hop categorization: