Accompaniment

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A waltz melody, which is usually in triple meter, is often supported by an "oom-pah-pah"-style accompaniment, which consists of a bass note in beat one followed by a chord that is played twice in beats two and three.
Play (help*info) Accompainment Waltz.png
A waltz melody, which is usually in triple meter, is often supported by an "oom-pah-pah"-style accompaniment, which consists of a bass note in beat one followed by a chord that is played twice in beats two and three. Loudspeaker.svg Play  
"Walking basslines", so-named because they rise and fall in a regular pattern, are a widely used stylcompaniment bassline in jazz, blues and rockabilly.
Play (help*info) Walking bass.PNG
"Walking basslines", so-named because they rise and fall in a regular pattern, are a widely used stylcompaniment bassline in jazz, blues and rockabilly. Loudspeaker.svg Play  
A guitarist playing the basso continuo accompaniment part for Baroque music composer Antonio Vivaldi's Cello concerto in 2008. Gitarre continuo.JPG
A guitarist playing the basso continuo accompaniment part for Baroque music composer Antonio Vivaldi's Cello concerto in 2008.

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.

Rhythm aspect of music

Rhythm generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds ; to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years.

Melody linear succession of musical tones in the foreground of a work of music

A melody, also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones that the listener perceives as a single entity. In its most literal sense, a melody is a combination of pitch and rhythm, while more figuratively, the term can include successions of other musical elements such as tonal color. It may be considered the foreground to the background accompaniment. A line or part need not be a foreground melody.

Song Composition for voice(s)

A song is a musical composition intended to be sung by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition of sections. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word "song" may refer to instrumentals.

Contents

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).

Piano musical instrument

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori around the year 1700, in which the strings are struck by hammers. It is played using a keyboard, which is a row of keys that the performer presses down or strikes with the fingers and thumbs of both hands to cause the hammers to strike the strings.

Pipe organ wind instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air (called wind) through pipes selected via a keyboard

The pipe organ is a musical instrument that produces sound by driving pressurized air through the organ pipes selected from a keyboard. Because each pipe produces a single pitch, the pipes are provided in sets called ranks, each of which has a common timbre and volume throughout the keyboard compass. Most organs have many ranks of pipes of differing timbre, pitch, and volume that the player can employ singly or in combination through the use of controls called stops.

Guitar Fretted string instrument

The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that usually has six strings. It is typically played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger(s)/fingernails of one hand, while simultaneously fretting with the fingers of the other hand. The sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker.

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.

Musical ensemble group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name

A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.

Synthesizer Electronic instrument capable of producing a wide range of sounds

A synthesizer or synthesiser is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals that may be converted to sound. Synthesizers may imitate traditional musical instruments such as piano, flute, vocals, or natural sounds such as ocean waves; or generate novel electronic timbres. They are often played with a musical keyboard, but they can be controlled via a variety of other devices, including music sequencers, instrument controllers, fingerboards, guitar synthesizers, wind controllers, and electronic drums. Synthesizers without built-in controllers are often called sound modules, and are controlled via USB, MIDI or CV/gate using a controller device, often a MIDI keyboard or other controller.

Power trio

A power trio is a rock and roll band format having a lineup of electric guitar, bass guitar and drum kit, leaving out the second rhythm guitar or keyboard instrument that are used in other rock music bands that are quartets and quintets. Larger rock bands use one or more additional rhythm section to fill out the sound with chords and harmony parts.

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).

In music, a triad is a set of three notes that can be stacked vertically in thirds. The term "harmonic triad" was coined by Johannes Lippius in his Synopsis musicae novae (1612).

Art song vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical art music tradition

An art song is a vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical art music tradition. By extension, the term "art song" is used to refer to the collective genre of such songs. An art song is most often a musical setting of an independent poem or text, "intended for the concert repertory" "as part of a recital or other relatively formal social occasion". While many pieces of vocal music are easily recognized as art songs, others are more difficult to categorize. For example, a wordless vocalise written by a classical composer is sometimes considered an art song and sometimes not.

Renaissance music musical period between the 15th and 17th centuries

Renaissance music is vocal and instrumental music written and performed in Europe during the Renaissance era. Consensus among music historians has been to start the era around 1400, with the end of the medieval era, and to close it around 1600, with the beginning of the Baroque period, therefore commencing the musical Renaissance about a hundred years after the beginning of the Renaissance as it is understood in other disciplines. As in the other arts, the music of the period was significantly influenced by the developments which define the Early Modern period: the rise of humanistic thought; the recovery of the literary and artistic heritage of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome; increased innovation and discovery; the growth of commercial enterprises; the rise of a bourgeois class; and the Protestant Reformation. From this changing society emerged a common, unifying musical language, in particular, the polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, whose greatest master was Josquin des Prez.

Definition

Mozart's Piano Sonata, K 545 opening. The right hand plays the melody, which is in the top stave. The left hand plays the accompaniment part, which is in the lower stave. In the first bar of the accompaniment part, the pianist plays a C Major chord in the left hand; this chord is arpeggiated (i.e., a chord in which the notes are played one after the other, rather than simultaneously).
Play (help*info) Mozart k545 opening.svg
Mozart's Piano Sonata, K 545 opening. The right hand plays the melody, which is in the top stave. The left hand plays the accompaniment part, which is in the lower stave. In the first bar of the accompaniment part, the pianist plays a C Major chord in the left hand; this chord is arpeggiated (i.e., a chord in which the notes are played one after the other, rather than simultaneously). Loudspeaker.svg Play  

An accompanist is a musician who plays an accompaniment part. Accompanists often play keyboard instruments (e.g., piano, pipe organ, synthesizer) or, in folk music and traditional styles, a guitar. While sight-reading (the ability to play a notated piece of music without preparing it) is important for many types of musicians, it is essential for professional accompanists. In auditions for musical theater and orchestras, an accompanist will often have to sight read music.

Keyboard instrument class of musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard

A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument played using a keyboard, a row of levers which are pressed by the fingers. The most common of these are the piano, organ, and various electronic keyboards, including synthesizers and digital pianos. Other keyboard instruments include celestas, which are struck idiophones operated by a keyboard, and carillons, which are usually housed in bell towers or belfries of churches or municipal buildings.

Sight-reading

Sight-reading, also called a prima vista, is the reading and performing of a piece of music or song in music notation that the performer has not seen before. Sight-singing is used to describe a singer who is sight-reading. Both activities require the musician to play or sing the notated rhythms and pitches. Many believe that sight-singing is the more challenging of the two, because singers do not have any keys, frets or valves to help them obtain the correct pitches . Singers must also read and sing the correct lyrics, which adds another layer beyond pitch and dynamics. However, difficulty is related both to the instrument and the difficulty of the piece itself. For instance, sight-reading on a polyphonic instrument, such as the classical guitar, can be more challenging due to the fact that the guitarist has to read polyrhythms and polyphonic passages that can often be played in different positions using different frets.

A number of classical pianists have found success as accompanists rather than soloists; arguably the best known example is Gerald Moore, well known as a Lieder accompanist. In some American schools, the term collaborative piano is used, and hence, the title "collaborative pianist" (or collaborative artist) is replacing the title accompanist, because in many art songs and contemporary classical music songs, the piano part is complex and demands an advanced level of musicianship and technique. The term accompanist also refers to a musician (typically a pianist) who plays for singers, dancers, and other performers at an audition or rehearsal—but who does not necessarily participate in the ensemble that plays for the final performance (which might be an orchestra or a big band).

Pianist musician who plays the piano

A pianist is an individual musician who plays the piano. Since most forms of Western music can make use of the piano, pianists have a wide repertoire and a wide variety of styles to choose from, among them traditional classical music, jazz, blues, and all sorts of popular music, including rock and roll. Most pianists can, to an extent, easily play other keyboard-related instruments such as the synthesizer, harpsichord, celesta, and the organ.

Gerald Moore English pianist

Gerald Moore CBE was an English classical pianist best known for his career as an accompanist for many famous musicians. Among those with whom he was closely associated were Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schumann, Hans Hotter, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Victoria de los Ángeles and Pablo Casals.

Lied musical form

The lied is a term in the German vernacular to describe setting poetry to classical music to create a piece of polyphonic music. The term is used for songs from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth centuries or even to refer to Minnesang from as early as the 12th and 13th centuries. It later came especially to refer to settings of Romantic poetry during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and into the early twentieth century. Examples include settings by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf or Richard Strauss. Among English speakers, however, "lied" is often used interchangeably with "art song" to encompass works that the tradition has inspired in other languages. The poems that have been made into lieder often center on pastoral themes or themes of romantic love.

Accompaniment figure

An accompaniment figure is a musical gesture used repeatedly in an accompaniment, such as:

Notated accompaniment may be indicated obbligato (obliged) or ad libitum (at one's pleasure).

Dialogue accompaniment

Dialogue accompaniment is a form of call and response in which the lead and accompaniment alternate, the accompaniment playing during the rests of the lead and providing a drone or silence during the main melody or vocal. [1]

Notation and improvisation

The accompaniment instrumentalists and/or singers can be provided with a fully notated accompaniment part written or printed on sheet music. This is the norm in Classical music and in most large ensemble writing (e.g., orchestra, pit orchestra, choir). In popular music and traditional music, the accompaniment instrumentalists often improvise their accompaniment, either based on a lead sheet or chord chart which indicates the chords used in the song or piece (e.g., C Major, d minor, G7, or Nashville Numbers or Roman numerals, such as I, ii, V7, etc.) or by "playing by ear".

Chord-playing musicians (e.g., those playing guitar, piano, Hammond organ, etc.) can improvise chords, "fill-in" melodic lines and solos from the chord chart. It is rare for chords to be fully written out in music notation in pop and traditional music. Some guitarists, bassists and other stringed instrumentalists read accompaniment parts using tabulature (or "tab"), a notation system which shows the musician where on the instrument to play the notes. Drummers can play accompaniment by following the lead sheet, a sheet music part in music notation, or by playing by ear.

In pop and traditional music, bass players, which may be upright bass or electric bass, or another instrument, such as bass synth, depending on the style of music, are usually expected to be able to improvise a bassline from a chord chart or learn the song from a recording. In some cases, an arranger or composer may give a bassist a bass part that is fully written out in music notation. In. some arranged music parts, there is a mix of written-out accompaniment and improvisation. For example, in a big band bass part, the introduction and melody ("head") to a tune may have a fully notated bassline, but then for the improvised solos, the arranger may just write out chord symbols (e.g., Bb G7/c min F7), with the expectation that the bassist improvise her own walking bass part.

See also

Related Research Articles

Classical period (music) genre of Western music (c.1730-1820)

The Classical period was an era of classical music between roughly 1730 and 1820.

Figured bass kind of musical notation

Figured bass, or thoroughbass, is a kind of musical notation in which numerals and symbols indicate intervals, chords, and non-chord tones that a musician playing piano, harpsichord, organ, lute play in relation to the bass note that these numbers and symbols appear above or below. Figured bass is closely associated with basso continuo, a historically improvised accompaniment used in almost all genres of music in the Baroque period of Classical music (c.1600–1750), though rarely in modern music.

Jazz guitar Jazz instrument and associated playing style

The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of guitar or to the variety of guitar playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed "jazz". The jazz-type guitar was born as a result of using electric amplification to increase the volume of conventional acoustic guitars.

Musical composition aesthetic ordering and disposing of musical information

Musical composition, or simply composition, can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece, or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of primarily songs are usually called songwriters; with songs, the person who writes lyrics for a song is the lyricist. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing typically includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score," which is then performed by the composer or by other instrumental musicians or singers. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is typically done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all, and instead compose the song in their mind and then play, sing and/or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music.

Sheet music is a handwritten or printed form of musical notation that uses musical symbols to indicate the pitches (melodies), rhythms or chords of a song or instrumental musical piece. Like its analogs – printed books or pamphlets in English, Arabic or other languages – the medium of sheet music typically is paper, although the access to musical notation since the 1980s has included the presentation of musical notation on computer screens and the development of scorewriter computer programs that can notate a song or piece electronically, and, in some cases, "play back" the notated music using a synthesizer or virtual instruments.

In music, an ostinato[ostiˈnaːto] is a motif or phrase that persistently repeats in the same musical voice, frequently in the same pitch. Well-known ostinato-based pieces include both classical compositions such as Ravel's Boléro and the Carol of the Bells, and popular songs such as Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's "I Feel Love" (1977), Henry Mancini's theme from Peter Gunn (1959), The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (1997), and April Ivy's "Be Ok" (1997).

This is a list of musical terms that are likely to be encountered in printed scores, music reviews, and program notes. Most of the terms are Italian, in accordance with the Italian origins of many European musical conventions. Sometimes, the special musical meanings of these phrases differ from the original or current Italian meanings. Most of the other terms are taken from French and German, indicated by "Fr." and "Ger.", respectively.

Bassline

A bassline 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 by a rhythm section instrument such as the electric bass, double bass, cello, tuba or keyboard. 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.

Comping is the chords, rhythms, and countermelodies that keyboard players, guitar players, or drummers use to support a jazz musician's improvised solo or melody lines. It is also the action of accompanying, and the left-hand part of a solo pianist.

Rhythm section group of musicians within a music ensemble or band who provide the underlying rhythm, harmony and beat for the rest of the band

A rhythm section 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. The rhythm section is often contrasted with the roles of other musicians in the band, such as the lead guitarist or lead vocals whose primary job is to carry the main melody of the song.

In music, transcription can mean notating a piece or a sound which was previously unnotated, as, for example, an improvised jazz solo. When a musician is tasked with creating sheet music from a recording and they write down the notes that make up the piece in music notation, it is said that they created a musical transcription of that recording. Transcription may also mean rewriting a piece of music, either solo or ensemble, for another instrument or other instruments than which it was originally intended. The Beethoven Symphonies by Franz Liszt are a good example. Transcription in this sense is sometimes called arrangement, although strictly speaking transcriptions are faithful adaptations, whereas arrangements change significant aspects of the original piece.

Lead sheet

A lead sheet or fake sheet is a form of musical notation that specifies the essential elements of a popular song: the melody, lyrics and harmony. The melody is written in modern Western music notation, the lyric is written as text below the staff and the harmony is specified with chord symbols above the staff.

Chord chart form of sheet music

A chord chart is a form of musical notation that describes the basic harmonic and rhythmic information for a song or tune. It is the most common form of notation used by professional session musicians playing jazz or popular music. It is intended primarily for a rhythm section. In these genres the musicians are expected to be able to improvise the individual notes used for the chords and the appropriate ornamentation, counter melody or bassline.

Jazz improvisation spontaneous composition in jazz

Jazz improvisation is the spontaneous invention of melodic solo lines or accompaniment parts. It is one of the defining elements of jazz. Improvisation is composing on the spot, when a singer or instrumentalist invents melodies and lines over a chord progression played by rhythm section instruments and accompanied by drums. Although blues, rock, and other genres use improvisation, it is done over relatively simple chord progressions which often remain in one key.

Music session

A music session is a social gathering of musicians and singers who perform music in a relatively informal context. Much of the music performed at such events is traditional music for the area, popular songs and other well-known tunes. In sessions, the participants typically improvise the accompaniment, song arrangements and musical ornaments to the melodies of songs or tunes. The venue may be a public bar, tavern, village hall or a private home.

Baroque music Style of Western art music

Baroque music is a period or style of Western art music composed from approximately 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, and was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, and is now widely studied, performed, and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Dieterich Buxtehude, and Johann Pachelbel.

Glossary of jazz and popular music

This is a list of jazz and popular music terms that are likely to be encountered in printed popular music songbooks, fake books and vocal scores, big band scores, jazz, and rock concert reviews, and album liner notes. This glossary includes terms for musical instruments, playing or singing techniques, amplifiers, effects units, sound reinforcement equipment, and recording gear and techniques which are widely used in jazz and popular music. Most of the terms are in English, but in some cases, terms from other languages are encountered.

Faking (Western classical music)

In instrumental music performances in Western classical music, "faking" is the process by which a musician gives the "...impression of playing every note as written" in the printed music part, typically for a very challenging passage that is very high in pitch and/or very rapid, while not actually playing all of the notes in the part. Faking may be done by an orchestra musician, a concerto soloist or a chamber musician; however, faking tends to be more associated with orchestra playing, because the presence of such a large music ensemble makes it easier for musicians who "fake" to do so without being detected. A concerto soloist or chamber musician who faked passages would be much easier for audience members and other musicians to detect. Orchestra musicians at every level, from amateur orchestras and youth orchestras to professional orchestra players will occasionally "fake" a hard passage.

In jazz, the term "faking" means to improvise accompaniment parts. The term "faking" in jazz does not have the same meaning as in faking in Classical music, where faking is seen as a controversial activity. In jazz, when a jazz quartet "fakes" accompaniment parts to a song with a singer, this is a synonym for improvising their backup parts. Improvising backup lines is an essential skill for jazz musicians. The use of the term "fake" in the jazz scene is illustrated by the expression "fake book", a collection of lead sheets and chord progressions for jazz standards. The reason the book is called a "fake book" is because trained jazz performers are able to improvise accompaniment parts and solos from the chord charts contained therein.

References

  1. van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music, p.320. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN   0-19-316121-4.