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Transcript
Rock Instrumentation
A number of students have asked for some resources to help them learn the sound of the
common instruments in rock and roll. Most of the following is from a new rock history
textbook called What’s That Sound? By John Covach (W. W. Norton, 2006), for which I
wrote the accompanying on-line anthology. I have added some additional instruments
and examples and provided links and/or unit references to our course web site so you can
easily find the songs under discussion. For aural examples of the musical fundamentals
we’ve been working on in class (style beat, backbeat, forms, texture, etc.) please
reference http://www.people.ku.edu/~rfschwar/rocktermexs.doc.
I.
The rhythm section provides a foundation of rhythm and harmony
A. Drums and percussion—the heart of the rhythm section
1.
Establish the tempo and meter
2.
Establish the "feel" of a song
3.
The drum set:
a.
Snare drum (which sits on a stand between the drummer's
legs)
b.
Bass drum (played by the right foot) usually referred to as
the "kick" drum
c.
High-hat (two cymbals on a foot pedal stand that allows
them to be clamped together)
d.
Tom-toms mounted on the bass drum are called ride toms
“We Got the Beat” (Unit 17) is a good example of the
difference between snare and tom-toms; in the intro and final
verse (only drums), beats one and three are played on the tomtoms; the backbeat is on the snare. The drums solos in
“Wipeout” (Chapter 5) are on the floor tom
4.
e.
A floor tom (not fixed to the drum kit; it is free-standing)
Cymbals mounted on floor stands
a.
Ride cymbal
b.
Crash cymbal
Use Me (Chapter 14): Lots of crash cymbal
5.
6.
The number of tom-toms and cymbals used depends on the
drummer's taste and style of playing
Drummers play rhythmic patterns that incorporate the entire drum
set
a.
High-hat or ride cymbals are used for division of beats and
provide a steady stream of notes
b.
The bass (kick) drum and snare drum play on strong beats
or syncopated points for accents
c.
d.
Drummers usually play one pattern for verses and a
different one for bridges or choruses
Tom-toms break the pattern to lead from one section into
another section
Auxiliary percussion
Maracas: Bo Diddley (Chapter 4), Good Vibrations (5) (D section)
Conga drums: Oye Como Va (chapter 12)
Triangle: Save the Last Dance for Me (chapter 5)
Tambourine: We Can Work It Out (chapter 7); Sledgehammer (17)
Wood block: Uncle John’s Band (chapter 10)
Cow bell! Don’t Bring Me Down (15)
B.
Bass
1.
2.
3.
The role of the bass is to provide the link between rhythm and
harmony
a.
Bass part is derived from kick drum rhythm pattern—
"locking in" with the drummer
b.
Other notes are filled in to create an interesting part
c.
Walking bass line is common: even rhythmic pattern in a
scale-oriented set of pitches
d.
Emphasis is put on the root note of the chord by playing
that note on the first beat of the measure
Early rock music used acoustic bass
From the 1960s on electric bass has been the primary bass
instrument
a.
Jazz and country still continued to use acoustic bass
b.
Electric bass is tuned the same way as acoustic bass
c.
One octave below the four lowest strings of a guitar
Electric Bass examples
`
I Get Around (chapter 5) (verse; lots of reverb)
Dazed and Confused (chapter 11): opening riff
I Can’t Turn You Loose (chapter 6): opening riff
C.
D.
Rhythm guitar
1.
Function is basically to provide full chords in rhythmic alignment
with the drums and bass
a.
Frequently the rhythm guitar enhances the snare beats
while bass locks in with the kick drum
b.
Can be either acoustic or electric guitar
2.
Acoustic rhythm guitar in early rockabilly actually replaced the
drum kit
Keyboards
1.
Keyboard instruments can also be used as rhythm instruments
a.
Acoustic piano
“Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” (Listening
list 1, New Orleans Rock)
Any Little Richard songs (chapter 4) - Lucille, Tutti Frutti
Great Balls of Fire (chapter 4)
Roll ‘Em Pete (chapter 2)
b.
Electric piano
Mother and Child Reunion (chapter 15)
Drive My Car (chapter 7)
c.
Organ (also capable of providing a long sustaining tone if
needed)
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (chapter 7)
I Get Around (chapter 5)
Hammond Organ: I Never Loved A Man (chapter 6)
d.
Synthesizer (capable of an unimaginable array of sounds)
can provide long or short tones
When Doves Cry (chapter 16): all keyboard sounds (several),
weird vocal manipulations
Wanna Be Startin’ Something (16): most of the percussive
sounds, including the “bass,” are synthesized
2.
II.
Their musical function in that case is the same as rhythm guitar
a.
Filling in notes that outline chords with a rhythmic pattern
fitting in with drums and bass (and guitar)
b.
Organ and synthesizers can balance sustaining notes
against rhythm instruments as well
3.
Rhythm instrument players must be careful not to get in each
other's way
Sweetening and soloing instruments
A. Horns and strings
1.
Additional auxiliary instruments add interesting timbral elements
to the music
a.
The term used in recording is "sweetening"
b.
These tracks must be written carefully not to detract from
the vocal tracks
2.
These parts usually center on harmonic or melodic concepts
3.
Horn sections consist of brass instruments and/or saxophones
a.
Trumpets
b.
Trombones
“On Broadway” (chapter 5) : Interlude – exchanges between trumpet
and electric guitar
“Pharoah’s Dance” (chapter 12): trumpet lead
“Soul Man” (6): trumpet riff in intro, chorus, punctuation in verse)
“I Can’t Turn You Loose” (8): horn riff – trumpets and trombones
c.
Saxophones (commonly alto and tenor)
I Got You (6) – alto sax solo
Respect (6) – alto sax solo
Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (5): tenor sax –
punctuation and solo
Young Blood (3): tenor sax
4.
Horns add punctuation accents to the music—"punch"
Respect (6)
Higher Love (17)
5.
6.
They are also used to emphasize chords
Strings fulfill the same roles as horns, with less emphasis on
"punch"
a.
Violins
b.
Celli
c.
Viola (though not as common as the violin or cello)
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (5): violins and violas
Eleanor Rigby (7): violins, viola, and cello
Save the Last Dance for Me (5): interlude – violins, viola, cello
B.
III.
The instrumental solos
1.
Any instrument can have a solo in a song, but certain instruments
are used more than others
a.
Saxophone solo - The Coasters' "Yakety Yak" (4)
b.
Guitar solo - Jimi Hendrix, "Purple Haze" (10)
c.
A piano solo - Jerry Lee Lewis, "Great Balls of Fire" (5)
2.
Usually occurs past the midpoint of the song
3.
This is the focus of the song when it is happening
4.
Rhythm instruments maintain their same supporting role
5.
Solos can add excitement to the return of the vocals, making them
sound fresh again
The singers
A. The vocals
1.
The sung parts of a song are either the lead vocal or backup vocals
2.
The lead vocal part has two functions
IV.
a.
Provide the main melody to the song
b.
Convey the lyrics in a convincing and effective way
3.
Singers can be relatively free in relationship to the rhythm parts
a.
That can either be successful or not—depending on the
song
b.
The highly structured aspects of the rhythm parts can
present a need for contrast from the vocalist
4.
Some songs have only one singer
5.
Some songs have a lead singer providing all of the lyrics and main
melody and additional singers as well
a.
The additional singers sing the "backup" vocal parts
b.
This is usually a combination of harmonic pitches and
melodic material
c.
Backup vocal parts can also be similar to the "sweetening"
aspects provided by strings and horns
6.
Backup vocals can have lyrics or neutral syllables ("ooh," "doowop") or both
a.
They can accompany the lead vocal at the same time the
lead vocal is being sung
b.
An example of this would be the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl"
c.
They can function as responses to the lead vocal
d.
As in the Beatles' "Twist and Shout!"
How it all fits together
A. "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple (chapter 11)
1.
Form: verse-chorus
2.
Introduction, four verse-chorus pairs (the third of which is
instrumental) with a coda to end the song
3.
Introduction
a.
Four-measure blues-inflected riff on electric guitar with
overdriven amplifier distortion
b.
That is repeated
c.
On the third pass the drums enter, beginning with high-hat
d.
Snare is added on the fourth time through along with
distorted organ doubling the guitar part
e.
Bass guitar is added on the fifth occurrence of the riff
f.
Bass drum (kick) is added on the sixth time through the riff
4.
Verse begins with the entrance of the vocal
a.
Drummer plays regular rapid notes on the high-hat with
snare and kick on strong beats
b.
Cymbals crash at the beginnings and ends of phrases
c.
Guitar and bass play very similar parts
d.
Organ takes the role of rhythm instrument playing chords
against drums and bass
5.
Chorus has changes in what the instruments are playing
a.
Organ, guitar, and bass play more sustained notes
b.
More cymbal crashes on the drums
B.
c.
Vocal harmony parts are added
6.
The next verse and chorus are very similar to the first verse-chorus
section
7.
The third verse-chorus section is a guitar solo
a.
Bass is more active during the solo
b.
Snare becomes the busiest part of the drums—reversing the
role with the high-hat
c.
The chorus is more dynamic than in previous vocalized
choruses
d.
The guitar introduction material returns at the end of the
chorus section to link back to the verse
"Bye Bye Love" by the Everly Brothers (chapter 4)
1.
Begins with acoustic guitar without distortion
a.
Dual acoustic guitars playing rhythm strumming
b.
The acoustic guitars set the rhythmic pace for the song
2.
Drums are light: brushes on the snare drum—no other drums or
cymbals are used
3.
The song begins with the chorus
a.
Duo vocals are the Everly Brothers' trademark
b.
Both sing lyrics together in rhythm
c.
Vocals are high with little or no vibrato
4.
Electric guitar is present, but subtle—providing only accents with a
lick between chord changes
5.
Bass is played on an acoustic bass
6.
Vocals are accompanied by rhythm guitars, electric guitar, snare,
and acoustic bass for the whole song
7.
Verses are sung by a solo vocalist, choruses are sung by both
singers