AS Music Tech 2013 Special focus style revision notes (Rock and Roll, Rap and Hip Hop)

Some revision notes for the 2013 AS Music Tech exam, for the special focus styles

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Rock and Roll
Instrumentation includes ­ male vocals, backing vocals, electric guitars, double bass, drums, piano, harmonica,
saxophone and other brass
Small ensembles, typically one or two guitars, vocals, bass and drums.
Fast Tempo ­ 140bpm or faster
Energetic delivery of vocals (screaming and shouting)
Often based on 12-bar chord structure
Predominantly uses major keys but with blues scale for vocals, lead parts and solos
Strong back beat on beats 2 and 4
Often uses a shuffle rhythm ­ slightly swung quavers
Walking bass line, four to a bar, often based on ascending and descending patterns of root-3rd-5th-6th-flat
Quite often this line is doubled by electric guitar
Second guitar plays rhythmic patterns of chords ­ use of 6th and 7th extensions of chords
Use of `stop time' where instruments play only on beat 1 then leave space for vocals or instruments
Use of flamboyant guitar solos
Call and response ­ often between vocal and guitar
Derived from Rhythm and Blues of the 1940s as well as gospel, country and western, blues and gospel.
Simple backing vox, often unison
Piano shares guitar chordal chops, triplet quavers, soloing, left hand mimics bass line
Produced in 1950's, popular in USA and UK
Developed in Southern States of the USA (Memphis)
Music began to be for young people.
Increased availability and promotion of music through TV, radio, vinyl at the time
Black origin but adopted by white performers
Amplified guitar became central
Rebel image from some artists, (Elvis)
Rockabilly was rock n roll performed by white singers with a more country influence
Lyrics about youth culture, teen life, love, money, having a good time, more celebratory than blues.
Technology and Production:
Live recording, direct to tape and mixing is done on the fly
Poor quality of instrument capture due to mic positioning and spill. Usually one mic for drums.
Loud guitars and drums, driving pre amps hard leading to tape saturation
Vocals overdubbed later to improve clarity
3 track recorders in 1950s or overdubbed using 2 tape recorders and mixing the backing track with the vocals
Music released on vinyl, 78rpm, good dynamic range and wide frequency production
Use of slap-back delay on vocals and guitars, short delay time (50-80ms) Sent the signal from the desk to a spare
tape machine, the distance between the record and playback heads causes the delay, it is the fed back to the
Use of echo chambers added to the backing mix
The sound of the electric guitar is crucial in the music ­ use of overdriven valve amplifiers hinting at full-blown
distorted sound of rock guitar that would soon become popular
Bill Haley and His Comets: `Rock around the clock - 1954' `See you later alligator ­ 1956)
Buddy Holly: `That'll be the Day ­ 1957'
Chuck Berry: `Mayvellene - 1955' `Roll over Beethoven - 1956' `Rock N Roll Music - 1957' `Johnny B Goode -
Eddie Cochran: `C'mon everybody ­ 1958'
Elvis Presley: `Hound Dog - 1956' `All shook up - 1957' `Jailhouse Rock - 1957'

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Gene Vincent: `Be-Bop-a lula ­ 1956'
Jerry Lee Lewis: `Whole lotta shakin going on ­ 1957' `Great balls of fire ­ 1957'
Little Richard: `Tutti Frutti - 1957' `Lucille - 1958'
Bo Diddley: `Bo Diddley ­ 1956' `I'm a man ­ 1956' `Diddy wah Diddy ­ 1957'
Cliff Richard: `Move it ­ 1958'
Roy Orbison `Oh, Pretty Woman ­ 1964'
Duane Eddy: `Rebel Rouser ­ 1958'
Carl Perkins: `Blue Suede Shoes ­ 1957'
The Everly Brothers: `Wake up Little Susie ­ 1957'
The first…read more

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Elton John took elements of his flamboyant
appearance and piano playing to his own shows, as did Freddie Mercury
Gene Vincent
A pioneer of rockabilly who was covered by mnay bands such as queen and John Lennon. He influenced Elvis and Roy
Orbinson. He realsed a total of 24 albums.…read more

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Sam Phillips is particularly associated with the use of slap-back tape echo as part of the rock and roll sounds, this
technique, along with the choice of placing vocals lower in the mix distinguished Sun's sound. A unique sound was
important to him so he encourages singers and musicians to have some creative freedom.
Chess Records: Based in Chicago and set up by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess at the start of the 1950s.…read more

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Technology and Production:
Later styles also use samplers to create loops
DJ scratching creates unique sounds including reversing, pitch-shifting and filtering
Special effects from synthesizers / non-pitched sound effects
Drum machines used instead of or alongside loops
Original hip-hop artists used two or more record decks to play instrumental grooves ­ often drum and bass
breaks ­ while mixing in other patterns or short hits from other records
Music often has a lo-fi quality, noisy recordings with poor frequency range
Deep bass frequencies ­ often…read more

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Ice T
50 Cent
Tupac Shakur
Wu-tang Clan
Lil wayne
The Black Eyed Peas
Kanye West
Public Enemy
Public Enemy introduced a hard hip-hop sound that changed the rules of hip-hop. PE's production team, the Bomb
Squad, created a unique, noisy, layered avant-garde-inspired sound that incorporated sirens, skittering turntable
scratches, and cleverly opposing musical and spoken samples The production team used cut and paste techniques to
create the best samples and to create totally unique sounds.…read more

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MC Hammer
Widely considered the first "mainstream" rapper. Hammer's clothing-lines, one later called J Slick, and flashy
wardrobes also led to other performers being more conscientious about video outfits, "shiny suits" and baggie
pants. Prior to Hammer, it was virtually unheard of for a hip-hop artist to be seen in a major commercial spot. Hammer
appeared in major marketing campaigns for companies such as Pepsi, KFC, Toshiba and Taco Bell.…read more

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Modulation Effects
Rap generally refers to the music whereas hip hop refers to the culture around the music
Started in the mid 1970s, New York block parties part of the culture of young black people in areas like the Bronx
with big speaker stacks and amps to play loud dance music. DJs played stripped down music with MC's on the mic.
Rap didn't have much commercial success but some songs became international hits.…read more


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