Genre is a useful technical term in discussing all forms of art. Like many technical terms, it is useful, much used, and can be hard to understand or use properly, although it is easy to define.
- Many native English-speakers find it hard to pronounce, as it is a French word. This involves a soft French '-g-' sound which is rare in English (old-fashioned speakers sometimes use it at the end of 'garage') and a French nasal vowel which is not native to English either (although you can hear it in the middle of 'canyon'). Say the French male forename Jean (NOT the same as the English female name 'Jean': the French version sounds like English 'John' without the '-D-' sound at the start) followed by a '-ruh', with as lttle vowel sound as you can manage: IPA: /ˈʒɒn rə or (more French) ˈʒɑ̃ʁ(ə)/.
Genre is simply the French word for 'sort' or 'kind'. It is applied in the study of various arts to different 'families' or kinds of productions in the art concerned. I film, for example, 'Westerns' form a recognisable genre, and in literature as in film, 'crime stories' form another. Both of thewe have sub-genres: 'cop movies' and 'film noir' in the former, 'locked door stories' and 'police procedurals' in the latter. 'Chick-Lit' and 'Revenge Tragedy' are (very different) genres in English literature. In the visual arts, genre-painting is "A style of painting in which scenes and subjects of ordinary life are depicted" (OED).