Soul Music

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  • Soul
    • Motown
      • Commercially viable music for all audiences
      • Tame lyrical content
      • Easier to listen to with softer timbres and vocals
      • Wall of sound
        • Live recordings of lots of players
        • Doubling instrumentation such as guitars and bass
        • Creating a reverberant echoed sound by using reverb chambers
        • Stereo mixes with extreme panning this is unconventional by today's standards e.g. all drums and bass on the left and other instruments on the right
      • Distanced from civil rights movement
    • Stax
      • Less interested in creating music for mass appeal
      • Harder edge with more prominent and syncopated rhythm sections
      • Vocal styles was more aggressive with gospel influenced vocals
      • In house band Booker T and the MGs characterised by the Hammond Organ
      • Supported civil rights movement
    • Technology and Production
      • Early adoption of multi-track tape machines, 4-track then 8-track
      • Live recording of a whole band in a single room with acoustic screens to provide sections
      • Use of DI guitars and basses
      • Close mic recording of drums
      • Vocal overdubbing
      • High quality recordings with clear vocals
      • Use of electric instruments, organs and synthesizers
    • Characteristic of soul
      • Vocals, backing vocals, electric guitar, piano/organs, bass, percussion, drum kit, prominent horn section and string section
      • Large ensembles with a lot of instrumentation doubled up
      • Emotional vocal delivery. this ranged from forceful and high energy to sad, reflective and passionate
      • Driving rhythm with drums and percussion giving a steady backbeat on beats 2 and 4
      • Rhythmic chordal parts of piano and guitar,
      • Typically brisk tempo around 120bpm or faster, some slower tempo ballads
      • Strong use of vocal and instrumental hooks
      • Use of call and response
      • Melodies often using a pentatonic scale with additional blues notes
      • Rhythmic, riff based bass line
      • Influences: R&B, Gospel, Jazz


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