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Interlude B
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  • Instrumentation in rock
    • How the instruments function in a rock context
      1. The ways in which instruments are combined are the essence of how stylistic textures are created
      2. Distinguishing one instrument from another is easy for most listeners
      3. It is important also to understand how instruments used in rock are used with each other
  • The rhythm section provides a foundation of rhythm and harmony
    • 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:
        • Snare drum (which sits on a stand between the drummer's legs)
        • Bass drum (played by the right foot) usually referred to as the "kick" drum
        • High-hat (two cymbals on a foot pedal stand that allows them to be clamped together)
        • Tom-toms mounted on the bass drum are called ride toms
        • A floor tom (not fixed to the drum kit; it is free-standing)
      4. Cymbals mounted on floor stands
        • Ride cymbal
        • Crash cymbal
      5. The number of tom-toms and cymbals used depends on the drummer's taste and style of playing
      6. Drummers play rhythmic patterns that incorporate the entire drum set
        • High-hat or ride cymbals are used for division of beats and provide a steady stream of notes
        • The bass (kick) drum and snare drum play on strong beats or syncopated points for accents
        • 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
    • Bass
      1. The role of the bass is to provide the link between rhythm and harmony
        • Bass part is derived from kick drum rhythm pattern—"locking in" with the drummer
        • Other notes are filled in to create an interesting part
        • Walking bass line is common: even rhythmic pattern in a scale-oriented set of pitches
        • Emphasis is put on the root note of the chord by playing that note on the first beat of the measure
      2. Early rock music used acoustic bass
      3. From the 1960s on electric bass has been the primary bass instrument
        • Jazz and country still continued to use acoustic bass
        • Electric bass is tuned the same way as acoustic bass
        • One octave below the four lowest strings of a guitar
    • Rhythm guitar
      1. Function is basically to provide full chords in rhythmic alignment with the drums and bass
        • Frequently the rhythm guitar enhances the snare beats while bass locks in with the kick drum
        • 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
        • Acoustic piano
        • Electric piano
        • Organ (also capable of providing a long sustaining tone if needed)
        • Synthesizer (capable of an unimaginable array of sounds) can provide long or short tones
      2. Their musical function in that case is the same as rhythm guitar
        • Filling in notes that outline chords with a rhythmic pattern fitting in with drums and bass (and guitar)
        • 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
    • Horns and strings
      1. Additional auxiliary instruments add interesting timbral elements to the music
        • The term used in recording is "sweetening"
        • 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
        • Trumpets
        • Trombones
        • Saxophones (commonly alto and tenor)
      4. Horns add punctuation accents to the music—"punch"
      5. They are also used to emphasize chords
      6. Strings fulfill the same roles as horns, with less emphasis on "punch"
        • Violins
        • Celli
        • Viola (though not as common as the violin or cello)
    • The instrumental solos
      1. Any instrument can have a solo in a song, but certain instruments are used more than others
        • Saxophone solo (as in the Coasters' "Yakety Yak")
        • Guitar solo (Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze")
        • A piano solo (Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire")
      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
    • 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
        • Provide the main melody to the song
        • Convey the lyrics in a convincing and effective way
      3. Singers can be relatively free in relationship to the rhythm parts
        • That can either be successful or not—depending on the song
        • 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
        • The additional singers sing the "backup" vocal parts
        • This is usually a combination of harmonic pitches and melodic material
        • 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," "doo-wop") or both
        • They can accompany the lead vocal at the same time the lead vocal is being sung
        • An example of this would be the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl"
        • They can function as responses to the lead vocal
        • As in the Beatles' "Twist and Shout!"
  • How it all fits together
    • "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple
      1. Form: verse-chorus pattern:
      2. Introduction, four verse-chorus pairs (the third of which is instrumental) with a coda to end the song
      3. Introduction
        • Four-measure blues-inflected riff on electric guitar with overdriven amplifier distortion
        • That is repeated
        • On the third pass the drums enter, beginning with high-hat
        • Snare is added on the fourth time through along with distorted organ doubling the guitar part
        • Bass guitar is added on the fifth occurrence of the riff
        • Bass drum (kick) is added on the sixth time through the riff
      4. Verse begins with the entrance of the vocal
        • Drummer plays regular rapid notes on the high-hat with snare and kick on strong beats
        • Cymbals crash at the beginnings and ends of phrases
        • Guitar and bass play very similar parts
        • Organ takes the role of rhythm instrument playing chords against drums and bass
      5. Chorus has changes in what the instruments are playing
        • Organ, guitar, and bass play more sustained notes
        • More cymbal crashes on the drums
        • 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
        • Bass is more active during the solo
        • Snare becomes the busiest part of the drums—reversing the role with the high-hat
        • The chorus is more dynamic than in previous vocalized choruses
        • 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
      1. Begins with acoustic guitar without distortion
        • Dual acoustic guitars playing rhythm strumming
        • 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
        • Duo vocals are the Everly Brothers' trademark
        • Both sing lyrics together in rhythm
        • 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
  • Comparison between the two songs
    • There are obvious differences between the styles of these two songs but they also share common aspects
      1. Singing is placed in front and in the center of the mix
      2. Rhythm instruments combine to form a coordinated accompaniment, though in different ways
        • Deep Purple use more forceful playing on all instruments
        • Deep Purple use distortion on guitar and organ
      3. Everly Brothers use their acoustic guitars to drive the rhythm
      4. Both examples use solo vocals in the verses and duets in the choruses
      5. "Smoke on the Water" features an instrumental solo; "Bye Bye Love" does not
    • The combinations of musical elements played in the songs cause the difference between the songs
      1. When examining rock songs, it is important to listen to individual aspects as well as the overall sound
      2. It must be understood that each song has many layers that contribute to the final product
      3. The accompaniment parts must all combine to form a tapestry that supports the vocal melody


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