Rhythm section

A rhythm section (also called a backup band) is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band who provide the underlying rhythm, harmony and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest of the band.

Many of the rhythm section instruments, such as keyboard instruments and guitars, are used to play the chord progression upon which the song is based. The bass instrument (either double bass or electric bass, or another low-register instrument, such as synth bass, depending on the group and its style of music) plays the low-pitched bassline that supports the chord progression, typically by emphasizing the roots of the chords (and to a lesser degree the fifths and thirds of the chords).

The term is common in modern small musical ensembles, such as bands that play jazz,[1] country, blues, and rock.

Atlanta-Rhythm-Section-1972
This photo of the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1972 shows some typical rock rhythm section instruments: guitars, piano, drums and electric bass.

Instruments

A typical rhythm section comprises one or more guitars (either electric guitars, in rock music bands; acoustic guitars, in country music, folk music and blues or both electric and acoustic in some bands); and/or a keyboard instrument (piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, synthesizer, etc.) a double bass or electric bass (depending on the style of music), and drums (usually acoustic, but in some post-1980s styles, the drums may be electronic drums).[1]

In some styles of music, there may be additional percussionists playing instruments such as the djembe or shakers. Some styles of music often have two electric guitarists, such as rock genres like heavy metal music and punk rock. Some styles of music use multiple keyboard instrument performers simultaneously (e.g., piano and Hammond organ or electric piano and synthesizer) for a fuller sound. A rhythm section could be as small as two or three instruments (e.g., a guitarist and a bassist or a power trio of bass, drums and guitar) or it may be a fairly large ensemble with several keyboardists, several guitarists, auxiliary string players (mandolin, ukulele, etc.), a drummer and percussionists. The largest rhythm sections may be led by a bandleader or a conductor who indicates the tempo of each song, starts each song, leads slow-downs of the music at cadences (sections of songs where the music comes to rest on a chord), and indicates when to change soloists and how and when the song will end.

The instrumentalists used in a rhythm section vary according to the style of music and era. Modern pop, rock and jazz band rhythm sections typically consist of a drummer, a bass player, and one or more players of chordal instruments (e.g., a pianist, guitarist, etc.).[2] The term rhythm section may also refer to the instruments in this group (named collectively the "rhythm section instruments").

In music industry parlance, the amplifiers and some of the instruments are nicknamed the "backline." Backline instruments are commonly provided for bands at music festivals and other concerts where several bands will play during an event. By providing these backline instruments, this speeds up the changeover process when new bands take the stage. The backline typically includes large and heavy items that are hard to transport, including large bass amplifiers and guitar amplifiers and their speaker cabinets, the drum kit (usually minus the cymbals and the snare drum, which each drummer brings from home), a Hammond organ, stage piano, and a keyboard amplifier.

Even when a venue or festival provides a "backline", musicians must still supply some instruments themselves, such as guitars, an electric bass, and, in some cases, the cymbals and/or the snare drum. The venue informs musicians about which instruments are supplied as the backline for a specific concert or stage and in many cases, the contract signed by the band and the venue/promoter contains an explicit list of the backline gear that will be on stage, even specifying brand names and model numbers.

Roles

In modern rock music, a rhythm guitarist specializes in rhythmic and chordal playing (as opposed to the melodic guitar solos and lead melody lines played by the lead guitar), often repeating quaver (eighth-note), half note or whole note chords. In the louder genres, such as hard rock, heavy metal and punk rock, rhythm guitarists often play power chords with distortion. Rhythm guitarists often strum open chords in pop, rock, country and folk music and play barre chords in many pop and rock styles.

Although rhythm sections spend much of the time providing accompaniment (backing parts) for songs, in some cases, they provide other musical roles. In some songs or styles of music, instruments from the rhythm section may play soloistic roles on occasion (e.g., improvised guitar solos or solo breaks) or play a melodic role (e.g., a rhythm guitarist may play a lyrical countermelody behind a singer or a melodic intro line before the lead vocalist starts to sing). Since rhythm sections generally provide the background music for lead instruments and solo singers, rhythm sections are typically not as prominent as a singer or soloist. However, since rhythm sections provide the underpinning for a good performance by the lead instruments and vocalists, good rhythm sections are valued in the music industry. Some of the most accomplished rhythm sections have become famous, such as The Band, the E Street Band and Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare (the latter in reggae). In some popular bands, all of the band members, including rhythm section members, have become famous as individuals (e.g., the rhythm section members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, etc.).

In almost all genres of popular music and traditional music that use rhythm sections, ranging from rock to country to jazz, the rhythm section members are expected to be able to improvise (make up) their parts or prepare their own parts for a given song by listening to the CD at home. Once the bassist and chord-playing instruments are provided with the chord progression on a lead sheet (in which chords are typically named using the root note of the chord and its quality; e.g., C Major, d minor, G7, etc.), they are expected to be able to improvise or prepare a bass line and chord voicings, respectively, that suit the style of the song.

In each style of music, there are different musical approaches and styles that rhythm section members are expected to use. For example, in a country music song, the guitarist will be expected to be able to perform a chord progression using an intricate fingerpicking style; in a heavy metal song, the guitarist will be expected to play power chords and complex, precise rhythmic patterns; in a jazz song, a guitarist will be expected to be able to play "jazz voicings" of the chords, which emphasize the third, seventh and often the sixth or ninth chord tones (this contrasts with the barre chord voicings used in pop and rock, which emphasize the root, fifth, and to a lesser degree, the third of the chord). Drummers and percussionists are expected to be able to improvise or prepare rhythm parts that suit the style of a given song. In some cases, an arranger, orchestrator or composer will provide a written-out bass part or drum part written in music notation (the five-line staff in which the notes are round symbols with or without stems). It is rare in jazz or rock for chords to be written out in music notation; the arranger or songwriter typically writes the chord symbol and expects the guitarist to improvise the appropriate chord voicing.

Other roles

Rhythm section members may be expected to sing backup vocals or harmony parts in some styles of music. In some styles of music, notably 2010s-era pop, hip hop music and funk, rhythm section members may be required to perform a rhythmic dance routine, which may range from a simple body movement to a complex dance choreography that requires significant dance skills. In some types of heavy metal music, rhythm section members (guitar, bass, drums) may be expected to be able to "headbang" (move their head in an up and down fashion in time with the beat) while performing. Less commonly, some rhythm section members may sing lead vocals (e.g., Phil Collins or Sting). In some groups, one rhythm section member may have other roles, such as bandleader (e.g., jazz bassist Charles Mingus), conductor (often the case in 2010s-era musical theatre shows), songwriter, composer or arranger.

Components

Jazz

Duke Ellington - Hurricane Ballroom - rhythm section
Two members of Duke Ellington's rhythm section at the Hurricane Ballroom: a jazz guitarist and an upright bass player.

In the case of swing bands, the classic rhythm section comprises a quartet of electric guitar, piano, double bass, and drums; a noted example is that of the Count Basie Orchestra with Freddie Green, the Count, Walter Page, and Jo Jones. Earlier jazz bands had used banjo in place of guitar, and other bass instruments such as the tuba for recording purposes prior to the advent of microphone technology in studios.

As bebop evolved, smaller jazz groups dropped the guitar, and many free jazz ensembles dropped the piano as well. Auxiliary percussion such as claves, bongos or maracas can also be used, especially in music influenced by strains from Latin America such as salsa and samba. In theory any instrument or instruments can provide a steady rhythm: for example, in the trio led by Jimmy Giuffre the late 1950s, the clarinet, valve trombone and guitar all switched between lead and supporting roles.

In the 1950s, some jazz bandleaders began to replace the double bass with the then-newly invented electric bass. However, the electric bass really made a big impact on jazz in the 1970s, with the advent of jazz rock and jazz fusion. The electric bass was much easier to amplify to stadium-filling volumes using large bass speaker cabinets and amplifiers than an upright bass. The electric bass also began to be used as an expressive solo instrument, as exemplified by the performances of Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke.

In the 1970s, the main chordal rhythm instruments were often electric instruments such as the Rhodes electric piano or electric clavinet, often run through effects units such as fuzz, phasers, or wah-wah pedals and amplified through loud keyboard amplifiers. The jazz fusion rhythm section followed the lead of the rock rhythm sections of the era, and used banks of speakers and powerful amplifiers to create a massive sound large enough for stadium concerts. In the later 1980s and subsequent decades, jazz fusion bands such as the Chick Corea Elektric Band used synthesizers in the rhythm section, both for chordal accompaniment and for synth bass parts.

R&B, rock and pop

Dni Mikołowa - Organy Hammonda1
This Polish group's rhythm section consists of a Hammond organist, an electric bassist, and a drummer.

R&B and rock and roll groups in the 1950s emphasized rhythm, so their backup bands generally consisted only of the standard swing band rhythm section of guitar, piano, bass, and drums supporting a vocalist, and in some cases omitting the keyboards. The bass guitar took over from the double bass in the 1950s, and had almost completely taken over the bass role in the 1960s. As the 1960s progressed the term "rhythm section" as used in a pop music context sometimes came to refer to just the bass and drums. For example, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of the Beatles were referred to as the band's rhythm section.

In the 1970s, chordal instruments such as the electric and/or acoustic guitar and various keyboards (piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, clavinet) continued to be used to augment the bass and drums in soul, funk, and reggae groups. The sound of late 1960s and 1970s rhythm sections was often given a unique tone and sound due to the use of effects units. Funk bass players would play through auto-wah or envelope follower pedals. Reggae guitarists would plug into echo pedals. Rock guitarists would run their electric guitars through distortion and wah pedals. Electric piano or clavinet players also used effects.

In the 1980s, many rock and pop bands continued to be based around the basic rock rhythm section established by 1960s and 1970s bands: electric bass, drums, and electric guitar or keyboards. In the 1980s, the first widely-affordable digital synthesizer, Yamaha's DX7, was released. The distinctive FM synthesis tone of the DX7 is a key part of the sound of many 1980s pop and dance singles.

As electronic effects became more sophisticated, with the development of digital signal processing, during the 1980s, there was some crossover between the roles played by electronic keyboards and electric guitar. Even though electronic keyboards or organs were the standard instruments used to create sustained "pads" of sound (e.g., held backing chords) for ballads, with the introduction of digital delay pedals and other modern effects, electric guitars could produce similar "pads" or "walls of sound". The Edge, the guitarist from the rock band U2, often used digital delay and reverb-drenched electric guitar arpeggios (chords played one note after the other) to create a shimmering, sustained "pad" for the group. These arpeggio pads created a sustained sound that was similar to the sound of an electronic keyboard. By the late 1980s, the price of digital effects pedals dropped, making these effects units available to the general public.

During the 1980s era, rhythm sections in some styles of pop took an increasing turn towards electronic instruments. A 1980s-era dance pop band might be backed up by a rhythm section of a synth bass, electronic drums (or drum machine) and various synthesizer keyboards. In some 1980s and 1990s bands, live human rhythm sections were sometimes replaced by sequenced MIDI synthesizer rhythm tracks made in the studio. In the 1980s and 1990s, the roots rock scene went in the opposite direction from dance pop; roots rock favoured traditional instruments in the rhythm section such as acoustic piano, acoustic guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, acoustic bass guitar and upright bass. Another 1980s-era trend that helped revive interest in acoustic instruments was the "MTV Unplugged" style of performances, in which a rock band performs with acoustic instruments, including acoustic guitars and an acoustic bass guitar.

In rock and pop, rhythm sections range in size from the barest, stripped-down size of the "power trio" (guitarist, bassist, and drummer) and the organ trio (Hammond organist, drummer, and a third instrument) to large rhythm sections with several stringed instrument players (mandolin, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, etc.), multiple keyboard players (e.g., piano, Hammond organ, electric piano, synth), two instruments playing a bass role (e.g., bass guitar and synth bass) and a group of auxiliary percussionists (congas, shakers, etc.) to fill out (or "sweeten") the sound. Some rhythm sections combine electronic/digital instruments that are sequenced, pre-recorded backup tracks and live instruments (including electric, electronic and acoustic instruments).

Musical roles

William Parker & Rashid Bakr
Jazz is one of the styles that often features rhythm section members on solos.

The drums and bass both supply a rhythmic pulse for the music, and the bass instrument supplies a harmonic foundation with a bassline. The types of basslines performed by the bass guitarist vary widely from one style of music to another. Despite all of the differences in the styles of bassline in most styles of popular music, the bass guitarist fulfills a similar role: anchoring the harmonic framework (often by emphasizing the roots of the chord progression) and laying down the beat (in collaboration with the drummer). The importance of the bass guitarist and the bass line varies in different styles of music. In some pop styles, such as 1980s-era pop and musical theater, the bass sometimes plays a relatively simple part, and the music forefronts the vocals and melody instruments. In contrast, in reggae or funk, entire songs may be centered around the bass groove, and the bassline is very prominent in the mix.

Similarly, the role of the drummer varies a great deal from one style of music to another. In some types of music, such as traditional 1950s-style country music, the drummer has a rudimentary "timekeeping" role, and the drums are placed low in the mix by the sound engineers. In styles such as progressive rock, metal, and jazz fusion, the drummers often perform complex, challenging parts, and the drums may be given a prominent placement in the mix; as well, the drummer may be often given prominent solo breaks, fills, or introductions that put the spotlight on their technical skills and musicality. In the more experimental forms of free jazz and jazz fusion, the drummer may not play the strict "timekeeping" role that is associated with drums in pop music. Instead, the drums may be used more to create textured polyrhythmic soundscapes. In this type of situation, the main pulse is often provided by the bass player rather than the drummer.

The rhythm section members sometimes break out of their accompaniment role when they are asked to perform keyboard solos, bass breaks, or drum solos. In genres such as progressive rock, art rock, or progressive metal, the rhythm section members may play complicated parts along with the lead guitar (or vocalist) and perform extended solos. In jazz groups and jazz fusion bands, the rhythm section members are often called on to perform improvised solos. In jazz, the drummer may "trade" short solo sections with a saxophone player or trumpet player; this practice, nicknamed "trading fours", typically involves the drummer and the horn player alternating four bar solo sections during a jazz tune. They can also trade eights, twos, ones, or other numbers depending on the musical context.

Variants

Organ trios

In organ trios, the lower octaves of a Hammond organ or electronic keyboard are used as a substitute for bass guitar or double bass. The organist can play the bassline using the bass pedal keyboard or using the lower manual. As well, the organist could play right-hand chords and melodies. Organ trios were a widely used type of jazz ensemble in the 1950s and 1960s to play hard bop.

Organ trios are sometimes used in rock as well. The Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek used a keyboard bass to play the bass lines. Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore would act as an organ trio with the addition of singer Jim Morrison.

Dixieland bands

PalmCourt15Sept07RhythmSectionB
Dixieland band rhythm sections sometimes use a tuba for the bassline.

New Orleans or Dixieland jazz bands occasionally use tuba, sousaphone, or bass saxophone in place of the double bass that was common in 1920s-era jazz bands. This tradition developed from the origins of New Orleans music in marching bands, which used instruments that could be carried on harnesses or with straps. Marching bands use a mixture of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, because all of these instruments can be played while marching.

Other variants

Not all rhythm sections follow the standard model of drummer-bassist-chordal instrument. Some bands have no drummer. In bands without a drummer, one or more instruments from the rhythm section often play in styles that replace the drum kit role—that is laying down the beat and backbeat. Traditional bluegrass bands typically do not have a drummer. In bluegrass bands, the timekeeping role is shared between several instruments: the upright bass generally plays the on-beats while the mandolin plays chop chords on the off-beats, with the banjo also keeping a steady eighth note rhythm.

This distributed nature allows for rhythmic continuity while players take turns highlighting the melody. In funk-oriented groups that do not have a drummer, the electric bass player may take over some of the drummer's role by using slap bass. With slap bass, the bassist slaps the low strings to create a strong "thump" (similar to the bass drum's role) and "snaps" or "pops" the high strings to create a percussive effect (the latter takes over some of the role played by the hi-hat cymbals). In some bands, there may be no bass player—the basslines may be played by the piano player, synth player, or guitarist. Using a guitar player to provide basslines is particularly effective if a guitar player has a seven-string guitar with a low "B" string.

Some jazz duos consist of a singer accompanied by a single piano player. In these duos, the jazz piano player has a challenging task; they have to provide all of the rhythmic and harmonic foundation that would normally be provided by a full rhythm section. A jazz pianist accompanying a singer in a duo needs to play a deep bassline, chords, and fill-in melody lines while the singer is performing. The pianist often improvises an instrumental solo in between vocal melodies.

References

  1. ^ a b Randel, Don Michael (1999). "Rhythm section" in The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians; p. 560. ISBN 0-674-00978-9
  2. ^ Jazz Drum Lessons Archived 2010-10-27 at the Wayback Machine - Drumbook.org
Accompaniment

Accompaniment is the musical part which provides the rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the melody or main themes of a song or instrumental piece. There are many different styles and types of accompaniment in different genres and styles of music. In homophonic music, the main accompaniment approach used in popular music, a clear vocal melody is supported by subordinate chords. In popular music and traditional music, the accompaniment parts typically provide the "beat" for the music and outline the chord progression of the song or instrumental piece.

The accompaniment for a vocal melody or instrumental solo can be played by a single musician playing an instrument such as piano, pipe organ, or guitar. While any instrument can in theory be used as an accompaniment instrument, keyboard and guitar-family instruments tend to be used if there is only a single instrument, as these instruments can play chords and basslines simultaneously (chords and a bassline are easier to play simultaneously on keyboard instruments, but a fingerpicking guitarist can play chords and a bassline simultaneously on guitar). A solo singer can accompany herself by playing guitar or piano while she sings, and in some rare cases, a solo singer can even accompany himself or herself just using his or her voice and body (e.g., Bobby McFerrin).

Alternatively, the accompaniment to a vocal melody or instrumental solo can be provided by a musical ensemble, ranging in size from a duo (e.g., cello and piano; guitar and double bass; synthesizer and percussion); a trio (e.g., a rock power trio of electric guitar, electric bass and drum kit; an organ trio); a quartet (e.g., a string quartet in Classical music can accompany a solo singer; a rock band or rhythm section in rock and pop; a jazz quartet in jazz); all the way to larger ensembles, such as concert bands, Big Bands (in jazz), pit orchestras in musical theatre; and orchestras, which, in addition to playing symphonies, can also provide accompaniment to a concerto solo instrumentalist or to solo singers in opera. With choral music, the accompaniment to a vocal solo can be provided by other singers in the choir, who sing harmony parts or countermelodies.

Accompaniment parts range from so simple that a beginner can play them (e.g., simple three-note triad chords in a traditional folk song) to so complex that only an advanced player or singer can perform them (e.g., the piano parts in Schubert's Lieder art songs from the 19th century or vocal parts from a Renaissance music motet).

Acoustic guitar

An acoustic guitar is a guitar that produces sound acoustically by transmitting the vibration of the strings to the air—as opposed to relying on electronic amplification (see electric guitar). The sound waves from the strings of an acoustic guitar resonate through the guitar's body, creating sound. This typically involves the use of a sound board and a sound box to strengthen the vibrations of the strings. In standard tuning the guitar's six strings are tuned (low to high) E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4.

The main source of sound in an acoustic guitar is the string, which or strummed with the finger or with a pick. The string vibrates at a necessary frequency and creates many harmonics at different frequencies. It produces different frequencies based on the string length, mass, and tension. The string causes the soundboard and sound box to vibrate, and as these have their own resonances at certain frequencies, they amplify string harmonics more strongly than others, hence affecting the timbre produced by the instrument.

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is a 1957 jazz album by saxophonist Art Pepper with Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones, who at the time were the rhythm section for Miles Davis's quintet. The album is considered a milestone in Pepper's career.

Atlanta Rhythm Section

Atlanta Rhythm Section (or ARS) is an American Southern rock band, formed in 1970 by Rodney Justo (singer), Barry Bailey (guitar), Paul Goddard (bass), Dean Daughtry (keyboards), Robert Nix (drums) and J.R. Cobb (guitar). The band's current lineup consists of Daughtry and Justo, along with guitarists David Anderson and Steve Stone, bassist Justin Senker and drummer Rodger Stephan.

Barry Beckett

Barry Edward Beckett (February 4, 1943 – June 10, 2009) was a keyboardist, session musician, record producer, and studio founder. He is best known for his work with David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, and Roger Hawkins, his bandmates in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which performed with numerous notable artists on their studio albums and helped define the "Muscle Shoals sound".

Among the artists Beckett recorded with were Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, Duane Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dire Straits, The Proclaimers and Phish. He was also briefly a member of the band Traffic.

Bassline

A bassline (also known as a bass line or bass part) is the term used in many styles of music, such as jazz, blues, funk, dub and electronic, traditional music, or classical music for the low-pitched instrumental part or line played (in jazz and some forms of popular music) by a rhythm section instrument such as the electric bass, double bass, cello, tuba or keyboard (piano, Hammond organ, electric organ, or synthesizer). In unaccompanied solo performance, basslines may simply be played in the lower register of any instrument such as guitar or piano while melody and/or further accompaniment is provided in the middle or upper register. In solo music for piano and pipe organ, these instruments have an excellent lower register that can be used to play a deep bassline. On organs, the bass line is typically played using the pedal keyboard and massive 16' and 32' bass pipes.

Big band

A big band is a type of musical ensemble that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term "big band" is also used to describe a genre of music. One problem with this usage is that it overlooks the variety of music played by these bands.

Big bands started as accompaniment for dancing. In contrast with the emphasis on improvisation, big bands relied on written compositions and arrangements. They gave a greater role to bandleaders, arrangers, and sections of instruments rather than soloists.

Bob Brookmeyer and Friends

Bob Brookmeyer and Friends is a 1964 jazz album released on Columbia Records by valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and featuring tenor saxophonist Stan Getz.

Reviewer Scott Yanow said that "the young rhythm section (pianist Herbie Hancock, vibraphonist Gary Burton, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Elvin Jones) uplifts what would have been a fairly conventional (although high quality) bop date".The "all-star" rhythm section included Miles Davis' piano and bass players, Stan Getz's vibraphonist, and John Coltrane's drummer.

The album was recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studio, on May 26 and 27, 1964, and was issued on vinyl later the same year. It was reissued on vinyl LP in 1980 and on CD in 2005. Burton was a partial contributor and is heard only on some tracks.

Drum kit

A drum kit — also called a drum set, trap set (a term using a contraction of the word, "contraption"), or simply drums — is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments, typically cymbals, which are set up on stands to be played by a single player, with drumsticks held in both hands, and the feet operating pedals that control the hi-hat cymbal and the beater for the bass drum. A drum kit consists of a mix of drums (categorized classically as membranophones, Hornbostel-Sachs high-level classification 2) and idiophones – most significantly cymbals, but can also include the woodblock and cowbell (classified as Hornbostel-Sachs high-level classification 1). In the 2000s, some kits also include electronic instruments (Hornbostel-Sachs classification 53). Also, both hybrid (mixing acoustic instruments and electronic drums) and entirely electronic kits are used.

A standard modern kit (for a right-handed player), as used in popular music and taught in music schools, contains:

A snare drum, mounted on a stand, placed between the player's knees and played with drum sticks (which may include rutes or brushes)

A bass drum, played by a pedal operated by the right foot, which moves a felt-covered beater

One or more toms, played with sticks or brushes (usually three toms: rack tom 1 and 2, and floor tom)

A hi-hat (two cymbals mounted on a stand), played with the sticks, opened and closed with left foot pedal (it can also produce sound with the foot alone)

One or more cymbals, mounted on stands, played with the sticksAll of these are classified as non-pitched percussion, allowing the music to be scored using percussion notation, for which a loose semi-standardized form exists for both the drum kit and electronic drums. The drum kit is usually played while seated on a stool known as a throne. While many instruments like the guitar or piano are capable of performing melodies and chords, most drum kits are unable to achieve this as they produce sounds of indeterminate pitch. The drum kit is a part of the standard rhythm section, used in many types of popular and traditional music styles, ranging from rock and pop to blues and jazz. Other standard instruments used in the rhythm section include the piano, electric guitar, electric bass, and keyboards.

Many drummers extend their kits from this basic configuration, adding more drums, more cymbals, and many other instruments including pitched percussion. In some styles of music, particular extensions are normal. For example, some rock and heavy metal drummers make use of double bass drums, which can be achieved with either a second bass drum or a remote double foot pedal. Some progressive drummers may include orchestral percussion such as gongs and tubular bells in their rig. Some performers, such as some rockabilly drummers, play small kits that omit elements from the basic setup.

Jazz band

A jazz band (jazz ensemble or jazz combo) is a musical ensemble that plays jazz music. Jazz bands vary in the quantity of its members and the style of jazz that they play but it is common to find a jazz band made up of a rhythm section and a horn section.

The size of a jazz band is closely related to the style of jazz they play as well as the type of venues in which they play. Smaller jazz bands, also known as combos, are common in night clubs and other small venues and will be made up of three to seven musicians; whereas big bands are found in dance halls and other larger venues.Jazz bands can vary in size from a big band, to a smaller trio or quartet. The term jazz trio can refer to a three piece band with a pianist, double bass player and a drummer. Some bands use vocalists, while others are purely instrumental groups. Jazz bands usually have a bandleader. In a big band setting, there is usually more than one player for a type of instrument.

Jazz bands and their composition have changed many times throughout the years just as the music itself changes with each performers personal interpretation and improvisation which is one of the greatest appeals of going to see a jazz band.

Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section

The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, also known as the Swampers, is a group of American studio musicians playing soul, R&B, rock and roll and country, based in the city of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. They have appeared on more than 500 recordings, including 75 gold and platinum hits. Originally the house band at Rick Hall's FAME Studios, the group went on to found their own competing business, the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. The group was inducted into the Nashville-based Musicians Hall of Fame in 2008 and into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1995, "as four of the finest studio musicians in the world", also receiving the Lifework Award in 2008.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio at 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, Alabama was formed in 1969 by four session musicians called The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (and affectionately called The Swampers) who had left Rick Hall's nearby FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to create their own recording facility. The group closed the Jackson Highway studio in 1979, moving the operation to 1000 Alabama Avenue. The old studio has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since June 2006. It was partly restored in the early 2000s and was sold to the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation in 2013. This group completed a major restoration and the location reopened on January 9, 2017. The Alabama Avenue location ceased operations in 2005 when it was sold to a record label.

Record producer

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

A producer may also:

Select session musicians to play rhythm section accompaniment parts or solos

Co-write

Propose changes to the song arrangements

Coach the singers and musicians in the studioThe producer typically supervises the entire process from preproduction, through to the sound recording and mixing stages, and, in some cases, all the way to the audio mastering stage. The producer may perform these roles themselves, or help select the engineer, and provide suggestions to the engineer. The producer may also pay session musicians and engineers and ensure that the entire project is completed within the record label's budget.

Rhythm guitar

In music performances, rhythm guitar is a technique and role that performs a combination of two functions: to provide all or part of the rhythmic pulse in conjunction with other instruments from the rhythm section (e.g., drumkit, bass guitar); and to provide all or part of the harmony, i.e. the chords from a song's chord progression, where a chord is a group of notes played together. Therefore, the basic technique of rhythm guitar is to hold down a series of chords with the fretting hand while strumming or fingerpicking rhythmically with the other hand. More developed rhythm techniques include arpeggios, damping, riffs, chord solos, and complex strums.

In ensembles or bands playing within the acoustic, country, blues, rock or metal genres (among others), a guitarist playing the rhythm part of a composition plays the role of supporting the melodic lines and improvised solos played on the lead instrument or instruments, be they strings, wind, brass, keyboard or even percussion instruments, or simply the human voice, in the sense of playing steadily throughout the piece, whereas lead instruments and singers switch between carrying the main or countermelody and falling silent. In big band music, the guitarist is considered part of the rhythm section, alongside bass and drums.

In some musical situations, such as a solo singer-guitarist, the guitar accompaniment provides all the rhythmic drive; in large ensembles it may be only a small part (perhaps one element in a polyrhythm). Likewise, rhythm guitar can supply all of the harmonic input to a singer-guitarist or small band, but in ensembles that have other harmony instruments (such as keyboards) or vocal harmonists, its harmonic input will be less important.

In the most commercially available and consumed genres, electric guitars tend to dominate their acoustic cousins in both the recording studio and live venues. However the acoustic guitar remains a popular choice in country, western and especially bluegrass music, and almost exclusively in folk music.

Roger Hawkins (drummer)

Roger Hawkins (born October 16, 1945) is an American drummer best known for playing as part of the studio backing band known as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as the Swampers) of Alabama.

Spooky (Classics IV song)

"Spooky" was originally an instrumental song performed by saxophonist Mike Sharpe (Shapiro), written by Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks, Jr., which first charted in 1967 hitting #57 on the US pop charts. Its best-known version was created by James Cobb and producer Buddy Buie for the group Classics IV when they added lyrics about a "spooky little girl". The vocalist was Dennis Yost. The song is noted for its eerie whistling sound effect depicting the spooky little girl. It has become a Halloween favorite. In 1968, the vocal version of the song reached #3 in the U.S. (Billboard Hot 100) and #46 in the UK.

Spooner Oldham

Dewey Lindon "Spooner" Oldham (born June 14, 1943) is an American songwriter and session musician. An organist, he recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at FAME Studios as part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section on such hit R&B songs as Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman", Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally", and Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man".

As a songwriter, Oldham teamed with Dan Penn to write such hits as "Cry Like a Baby" (the Box Tops), "I'm Your Puppet" (James and Bobby Purify), and "A Woman Left Lonely" and "It Tears Me Up" (Percy Sledge).

Steel-string acoustic guitar

The steel-string acoustic guitar is a modern form of guitar that descends from the nylon-strung classical guitar, but is strung with steel strings for a brighter, louder sound. Like the classical guitar, it is often referred to simply as an acoustic guitar.

The most common type is often called a flat top guitar, to distinguish it from the more specialized archtop guitar and other variations.

The standard tuning for an acoustic guitar is E-A-D-G-B-E (low to high), although many players, particularly fingerpickers, use alternate tunings (scordatura), such as open G (D-G-D-G-B-D), open D (D-A-D-F♯-A-D), or drop D (D-A-D-G-B-E).

Tambourine

The tambourine is a musical instrument in the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zills". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all. Tambourines are often used with regular percussion sets. They can be mounted, for example on a stand as part of a drum kit (and played with drum sticks), or they can be held in the hands and played by tapping or hitting the instrument.

Tambourines come in many shapes with the most common being circular. It is found in many forms of music: Turkish folk music, Greek folk music, Italian folk music, classical music, Persian music, samba, gospel music, pop music, country music, and rock music.

Musical instruments
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