Rhythm Section


A fixture in popular music since the twenties, is a heterogeneous grupo of instruments that includes at least one chord instruments, one bass instruments and one percussion instruments.


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Riff—A short (two to seven pitches), rhythmically interesting melodic idea.








The sonic distance between two pitches.







Chord—Three or more notes (built in thirds), sounded at the same time. A group of pitches considered as a

single unit. The notes of a chord may be played simultaneously, or they may be played in a series as an arpeggio.



chord progression


A sequence of chords. Many of the chord progressions in popular music follow well-used

patterns, such as the chord progressions for “Heart and Soul” and “La Bamba.”




The three types of instruments found in a Rhythm section



One chord instrument (Ex.: Piano)

One Bass instrument (Ex.: Electric Bass)

One percussion instrument (Ex.: Drums)



Two types of Chord instruments, give examples (name of instruments)


Strummed instruments (ex. Guitar, banjo)

Keyboard instruments  (ex. Piano, organ)



The two most widely used families of scales in popular music



Diatonic Scales

Pentatonic scales



Two types of Diatonic Scales and what is the difference between them


Diatonic Scale—Major scale and the minor scale

The difference between them is the patterns of half and whole steps



Two types of Pentatonic Scales



Two pentatonic 1) Anglo-American pentatonic scale,

2)African American pentatonic scale



In a verse/chorus form, identify the difference between verse and chorus in relation to the lyric and melody.





The most popular song form of the late nineteenth century. The verse tells a story in several stages (this section is

strophic, i.e., different words are set to the same melody), whereas the chorus, which comes at the end of each verse, repeats both words and

melody to reinforce the main message of the song. In early verse/chorus songs, the chorus was often sung by a small group, usually a quartet.



Know the chord progression for a 12-bar blues form



The most widely used form for one chorus of a blues song. It is defined

principally by its chord progression, which features I, IV, and V in a consistent pattern over twelve bars: I(1), I(3) / IV(5), I (7) / V(9), I(11). 



Call and Response


The regular alternation of two contrasting sound colors or densities



field recording


is the term used for an audio recording produced outside of a recording studio.





In twentieth-century popular music, a popular song performed at a slow tempo.






—An independent vocal solo that is part of a larger work, such as an opera or oratorio. A part of an opera featuring a solo singer.



Parlor song



A song for home entertainment. Slow tempo w/simple piano accompaniment (English Middle class).




minstrel show 

 The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the Civil War, black people in blackface.



Century in which American popular music began


 19th century


The most popular dances brought from the British Isles.


Jig—A dance from the British Isles. Reel—A dance from the British Isles.


The two terms used to identify different social classes (high and lower class) in the US



Highbrow and Lowbrow









The beginning of the American popular mainstream starts with the songs of which songwriter?




Stephen Foster

“Oh Susanna and Camptown Ladies”



Group name of the performers in the first Minstrel Show


Virgina Minstrels

Christy Minstrels


The typical instrumentation for the early minstrel shows


Instruments :Fiddle , Banjo, Tambourine  and bones


The Minstrel shows grew out of a popular type of entertainment, which one?


blackface characters


The first persistent use of syncopation in popular music was found in a popular dance, which one?


Short long-short rhythm was the first persistent  use of syncopation in popular music .In the cakewalk


What is the Stage Entertainment form that marked the beginning of American popular music?





Musical Ensemble that was the primary source of musical entertainment when there was no TV, Radio, etc.
Concert Band
Name the three instrument families that make up the Concert Band

1) woodwind instrument

2) brass instrument 

3)percussion instrument

Most prominent concert band leader & composer of his era
John Philip Sousa: Most prominent Band Leader and Composer of Marches.
Two most significant developments in to 19th century popular music

1)The birth of a recognizably america popular music 

 2)growth of the popular music industry

Know that these songwriters/composers are associated with these styles/genres:

? Parlor Song

Stephen Foster

Minstrel Shows
Dan Emmett
Stephen Forster


Patriotic Songs
George Cohan



: A popular style at the turn of the twentieth century that mixed European forms, harmony, and textures with African-inspired syncopation


 piano rag

: A march like, syncopated composition for the piano.


animal dances

: A popular dance, which emerged in the early 1900s which was adapted or borrowed from a black folk dance.


commercial blues.

: Blues which is performed by professional musicians , is published , an d recorded


 classic blues

: The popular blues style of the 1920s, which typically featured a woman singing the blues (e.g., Bessie Smith) accompanied by one or more jazz musicians.


collective improvisation

: Improvisation by the Front Line. An improvisational context in which more than one performer is

improvising a melody-like line. Collective improvisation is standard practice in New Orleans Jazz, free Jazz, and much rock-era jazz fusion.



– The classic piano rags of this composer are the most durable music of the ragtime era (which composer?)

 Scott Joplin

 One important composer who transformed the march into ragtime


Scott Joplin


– The classic ragtime style of this composer and his students was the most conservative or European of the ragtime piano styles around 1900

(Scott Joplin)


– How was black folk music passed down from generation to generation?



 oral tradition  



– After Joplin’s works, how was music preserved and recreated in a more exact way?

he mark the beginning of a moment among historically conscious black musicians to preserve their musical heritage . That is true but It was recreated in a more exact way and preserved by writing it down on paper and publishing it (instead of oral tradition as before)


One of the popular animal dances which permitted close body contact between couples and scandalized the more conservative American?

turkey trot


– For the first time social dancing to a clearly black beat became acceptable to a significant portion of the population, from all levels of society



– The “blues” songs convey what kind of mood?

 Sadness, heartache, longing… (remember “Blue” mood)


– What is the importance of black music sheet being published?

That any competent musician, white or black who was able to read music could perform these songs in an authentic manner  (this also goes with the question above, That they would be preserved and recreated in a more exact way)


– The most popular female blues singer in the 1920s and 1930s

Bessie Smith


– With this style of music “real” begins (which one?)


Classic blues


– The place regarded as the birthplace of Jazz



New Orleans


– In which century does the history of Jazz begins?


20th century


The two parts of a Jazz Band and the job of each section (not necessarily each instrument)

The front line . Job:  play the melody

rhythm section . Job: Mark the beat and Supply the harmony


– A type of improvisation that was common in the New Orleans Jazz style  

(in this case if you know that the type of improvisation was collective, it will be enough)


– Two key elements of Jazz

Improvisation and Swing


– The important jazz trumpeter and singer that shifted music’s focus from collective improvisation to solo performance


Louis Armstrong


– The first great soloist in Jazz

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: First great jazz soloist, Choice of notes, Quality of tone, Sense of swing,


– The hot spots for Jazz during the 1920s

Chicago and New York became the hot spots.



– Characteristics of Jazz during the 1920s (the four mentioned in class)


 * exuberant                * fast paced

        * optimistic                * spontaneous


Know that these composers are associated with these styles/genres:




? Ragtime

Scott Joplin


Classic Blues :

Bessie Smith


 ?New Orleans Jazz style

 King Oliver

? 1920s Jazz


Louis Armstrong


Study Guide for the listening portion of the exam (Songs will be played in the exam and you will be asked questions about them, you will not be asked about the tittles):

You may be asked the styles (underlined) they belong to and/or the name of the composers and/or singer/band (only for those songs indicated).




Song: “Maple Leaf Rag” ()Scott Joplin

Classic Blues

Song: “Empty Bed Blues” (Bessie Smith)

New Orleans Jazz

Song: “Dippermouth Blues” (King oliver)

1920s Jazz

Song: “Hotter than that” (Louis Amrstrong)


: sound technology by Warner brother

Torch song:

 A song about unrequited or lost love.

Crooner :

 A male singer who sings with a sweet sound in a conversational, low-key manner. Amplification made crooning possible. Bing Crosby was the most successful of the early crooners.


 The text for a sung stage production, from opera to musical comedy.


 The stereotypical new woman of the 1920s-bobbed hair, short dresses and frenetically dancing.

– In what year did the first commercial radio (KDKA) began broadcasting?


First commercial radio station (1920) KDKA Pittsburgh. Within 2 years there were over 200 Network

radio broadcasting. Development of microphones, amplifiers and speakers gave greater volume and clarity

Amplification became an essential part of pop music.

– Name two important technological advances



– In what year did the recording industry converted from acoustic to electric recording?

In 1925

– What is one benefit of amplification during performances (whether live or recorded)?

It first enabling small  voiced singers to record and perform and then by boosting and transforming

the sound of existing.

Name of the first talking picture (movie) and year it was premiered


The Jazz Singer ( 1927)

– One of the most popular of the new dances (in the second wave of dance crazes) that was danced to a song with the same name, from 1920s



– What was the foundation of the dance orchestras during the 1920s?


Rhythm section

– The wind instrument that became an integral part of the sound of popular music in the 1920?


– In the early 1920s popular songs were either for dancing or music for listening depending on the way they were performed, which ways are these?

Dancing (when it was performed by a dance orchestra) and music for listening (when it was sung)

– What made possible the merge of song and dance?

The Electrical Revolution

– The first of the African rhythms to reshape popular music

Foxtrot beat (which is also the 2-beat rhythm)

– The two most influential new singing styles after 1930

crooning  and jazz singing

What made crooning possible?

he had a impeccable public persona affable . good humored , easygoing ; it was a perfect complement to and an intimate , pleasant singing style. (all this is true, but  Amplification made this possible)

– The first of the great modern musicals

Jerome Kern (that’s the composer) and the title of the musical is : Showboat

Study Guide for the listening portion of the exam (Songs will be played in the exam and you will be asked questions about them, you will not be asked about the tittles):

You may be asked the styles (underlined) they belong to and/or the name of the composers and/or singer/band (only for those songs indicated).

Foxtrot Dance

Song: “Charleston” (james p. johnson)

Rhythm Song

Song: “Fascinating Rhythm” (george gershwin)

Blues-influenced modern-era song

Song: “Am I Blue? (singer: Ethel Waters)

Song: “I’ve Got the World on a String” (singer: Bing Crosby)

Modern-Era Foxtrot

Song: “Check to Check” (singer: Fred)