boogie woogie
A blues piano tradition that sprang
up during the early twentieth
century in the “southwest territory”
states of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri,
and Oklahoma. In boogie-woogie
performances, the pianist typically
plays a repeated pattern with his
left hand, down in the low range of
the piano, while improvising
polyrhythmic patterns with his right
A style of singing made possible by
the invention of the microphone. It
involves an intimate approach to
vocal timbre.
A style rooted in the venerable
southern string band tradition. It
combines the banjo, fiddle,
mandolin, dobro, guitar, and
acoustic bass with a vocal style
often dubbed the “high, lonesome
sound.” The pioneer of bluegrass
music was Bill Monroe.
blues crooning
A cool style of rhythm and blues; a
blend of blues and pop singing.
Chicago Electric Blues
A style of postwar urban blues that
was derived directly from the
Mississippi Delta tradition of Charley
Patton and Robert Johnson. It
featured the amplified sound of
instruments such as the electric
guitar and harmonica and reflected
the musical tastes of black
Chicagoans, many of them recent
immigrants from the Deep South.
The music tended toward rougher,
grittier styles, closely linked to
African American folk traditions but
also reflective of an urban
Honky Tonk
A style of postwar country and
western music sometimes called
“hard country” or “beer-drinking
music.” Born in the oil boomtowns
of Texas and Oklahoma, it conveyed
the sound and ethos of the roadside
bar or juke joint.
Jump Blues
The first commercially successful
category of rhythm &
blues, flourished during and just
after World War II. Ensembles were
smaller than the big bands of the
swing era and specialized in hardswinging,
party music, spiced with humorous
lyrics and wild stage performances.
a capella
Vocal singing without instrumental
cover version
A version of a previously recorded
performance; often an adaptation of
the original’s style and sensibility,
and usually aimed at cashing in on
its success.
electric guitar
an electrically amplified guitar
Short for “reverberation”—a
prolongation of sound by virtue of
an ambient acoustical space created
by reflective surfaces. Reverb can
occur naturally or be simulated
either electronically or by digital
sound processors.
Illegal practice, common throughout
the music industry, of paying bribes
to radio disc jockeys to get certain
artists’ records played more
Behind-the-scenes role at a record
company. Can be responsible for
booking time in the recording
studio, hiring backup singers and
instrumentalists, assisting with the
engineering process, and imprinting
the characteristic sound of the
finished record.
R&B (rhythm and blues)
African American musical genre that
emerged after World War II.
Consisted of a loose cluster of styles
derived from black musical
traditions, characterized by
energetic and hard-swinging
rhythms. At first performed
exclusively by black musicians for
black audiences, R&B came to
replace the older category of “race
rock ‘n’ roll
Introduced as a commercial and
marketing term in the mid-1950s
for the purpose of identifying a new
target audience for musical
products. Encompassed a variety of
styles and artists from R&B,
country, and pop music.
Vigorous form of country and
western music informed by the
rhythms of black R&B and electric
blues. Exemplified by artists such as
Carl Perkins and the young Elvis
scat singing
Technique that involves the use of
nonsense syllables as a vehicle for
wordless vocal improvisation.
solid-body electric guitar
Electrically amplified guitar
developed after World War II and
first used in R&B, blues, and country
Song form that employs the same
music for each poetic unit in the
Brill Building
Rock ‘n’ roll’s vertical Tin Pan Alley.
It was home to many pop-rock
songwriting teams during the early
concept album
Album conceived as an integrated
whole, with interrelated songs
arranged in a deliberate sequence
Hitsville, USA
Nickname of Motown Records.
Record company founded by Berry
Gordy Jr. in Detroit.
“The Twist”
Teen-oriented rock ‘n’ roll song
using a twelve-bar blues structure;
it celebrated a simple, hip-swiveling
dance step.
“Wall of Sound”
Term used to describe the studio
production techniques of Phil
Spector. The sound was achieved by
having multiple instruments—
pianos, guitars, and so forth—
doubling each individual part in the
arrangement, and by using a huge
amount of echo, while carefully
controlling the overall balance of the
record so that the vocals were
pushed clearly to the front.
Nashville Sound
Country music style involving
polished arrangements and a
sophisticated approach to vocal
presentation. The recordings of
Patsy Cline were among the most
important manifestations of the
Nashville sound.
Sophisticated approach to the vocal
presentation and instrumental
arrangement of country music; a
fusion of “country” and
psychedelic rock
Music played by San Francisco
bands that encompassed a variety
of styles and musical influences,
including folk rock, blues, “hard
rock,” Latin music, and Indian
classical music.
soul music
African American musical style
rooted in R and gospel that
became popular during the 1960s.
urban folk
Style of folk music that grew in
popularity in the burgeoning New
York folk scene during the 1960s. It
included artists such as Bob Dylan.