Call and response (music)

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In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually written in different parts of the music, where the second phrase is heard as a direct commentary on or in response to the first. It corresponds to the call-and-response pattern in human communication and is found as a basic element of musical form, such as verse-chorus form, in many traditions.

Phrase (music) Musical unit

In music theory, a phrase is a unit of musical meter that has a complete musical sense of its own, built from figures, motifs, and cells, and combining to form melodies, periods and larger sections.

A phrase is a substantial musical thought, which ends with a musical punctuation called a cadence. Phrases are created in music through an interaction of melody, harmony, and rhythm.

Communication is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.

Musical form Structure or plan of a piece of music

In music, Form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In "Worlds of Music", Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music, such as "the arrangement of musical units of rhythm, melody, and or/ harmony that show repetition or variation, the arrangement of the instruments, or the way a symphonic piece is orchestrated", among other factors.

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African music

In Sub-Saharan African cultures, call and response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation—in public gatherings in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. [1]

Sub-Saharan Africa Area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara Desert

Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara. It contrasts with North Africa, whose territories are part of the League of Arab states within the Arab world. The states of Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros and the Arabic speaking Mauritania are however geographically in sub-Saharan Africa, although they are members of the Arab League as well. The UN Development Program lists 46 of Africa’s 54 countries as “sub-Saharan,” excluding Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislature. Who people are and how authority is shared among them are core issues for democratic development and constitution. Some cornerstones of these issues are freedom of assembly and speech, inclusiveness and equality, membership, voting, right to life and minority rights.

Ritual set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value

A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized but not defined by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.

African-American music

Enslaved Africans brought call and response music with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various forms of cultural expression—in religious observance, public gatherings, sporting events, even in children's rhymes, and, most notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendants. These include soul, gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk and hip hop. Hear for example the recordings entitled "Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons" collected by Bruce Jackson on Electra Records. Call and response is widely present in parts of the Americas touched by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The tradition of call and response fosters dialogue and its legacy continues on today, as it is an important component of oral traditions. Both African-American women work songs, African American work songs, and the work song in general use the call and response format often. It can also be found in the music of the Afro west indies Caribbean populations of Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize. and many nations of the diaspora especially that of South Americas Brazil.

African-American music Musical traditions of African American people

African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans. Their origins are in musical forms that arose out of the historical condition of slavery that characterized the lives of African Americans prior to the American Civil War.

Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.

Cuban music (Salsa, Son, etc)

Known as Coro-pregón, it is extensively used in Cuban music and derives from African musical elements, both in the secular rumba [2] and in the African religious ceremonies (Santería). [3]

Coro-pregón in Afro-Cuban music and Cuban-based Latin music, most of all salsa, but also in some non-Cuban genres like merengue, refers to a call and response section between the lead singer and the coro (chorus). It is found in most Cuban genres, for example son and son montuno, rumba, cha-cha-chá, timba, and many more.

Rumba is a secular genre of Cuban music involving dance, percussion, and song. It originated in the northern regions of Cuba, mainly in urban Havana and Matanzas, during the late 19th century. It is based on African music and dance traditions, namely Abakuá and yuka, as well as the Spanish-based coros de clave. According to Argeliers León, rumba is one of the major "genre complexes" of Cuban music, and the term rumba complex is now commonly used by musicologists. This complex encompasses the three traditional forms of rumba, as well as their contemporary derivatives and other minor styles.

Santería Afro-American religion of Yoruba origin that developed in Cuba

Santería, also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla de Ifá, or Lucumí, is an Afro-American religion of Yoruba origin that developed in Cuba among West African descendants. Santería is a Spanish word that means the "worship of saints". Santería is influenced by and syncretized with Roman Catholicism. Its sacred language is the Lucumí language, a remnant of Yoruba language composed of a lexicon of words and short phrases that is used in rituals but no longer spoken as a vernacular and mostly not understood by practitioners.

Precedent

In 1644, lining out – where one person sang a solo (a precentor) and others followed – is outlined by the Westminster Assembly for psalm singing in English churches. [4] It has influenced popular music singing styles. [4] Precenting the line was characterised by a slow, drawn-out heterophonic and often profusely ornamented melody, while a clerk or precentor (song leader) chanted the text line by line before it was sung by the congregation. Scottish Gaelic psalm-singing by precenting the line was the earliest form of congregational singing adopted by Africans in America. [5]

Lining out or hymn lining, called precenting the line in Scotland, is a form of a cappella hymn-singing or hymnody in which a leader, often called the clerk or precentor, gives each line of a hymn tune as it is to be sung, usually in a chanted form giving or suggesting the tune. It can be considered a form of call and response. First referred to as "the old way of singing" in eighteenth-century Britain, it has influenced twentieth century popular music singing styles.

Westminster Assembly seventeenth-century council for English church reform

The Westminster Assembly of Divines was a council of divines (theologians) and members of the English Parliament appointed from 1643 to 1653 to restructure the Church of England. Several Scots also attended, and the Assembly's work was adopted by the Church of Scotland. As many as 121 ministers were called to the Assembly, with nineteen others added later to replace those who did not attend or could no longer attend. It produced a new Form of Church Government, a Confession of Faith or statement of belief, two catechisms or manuals for religious instruction, and a liturgical manual, the Directory for Public Worship, for the Churches of England and Scotland. The Confession and catechisms were adopted as doctrinal standards in the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches, where they remain normative. Amended versions of the Confession were also adopted in Congregational and Baptist churches in England and New England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Confession became influential throughout the English-speaking world, but especially in American Protestant theology.

Heterophony

In music, heterophony is a type of texture characterized by the simultaneous variation of a single melodic line. Such a texture can be regarded as a kind of complex monophony in which there is only one basic melody, but realized at the same time in multiple voices, each of which plays the melody differently, either in a different rhythm or tempo, or with various embellishments and elaborations. The term was initially introduced into systematic musicology to denote a subcategory of polyphonic music, though is now regarded as a textural category in its own right.

Folk music

It is common in folk traditions of choral singing of many people, especially in African musical cultures.[ citation needed ] In the West, it is most readily seen in the sea shanty, African-American work songs, African-American Women Work Songs, military cadences, Québecois folk songs, and the dance-songs of various European countries including France (particularly Brittany) and the Faroe Islands, and in Finnish folk poetry, as in the songs of the Kalevala.

Folk music Music of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.

Sea shanty work song sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels

A sea shanty, chantey, or chanty is a type of work song that was once commonly sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels. The term shanty most accurately refers to a specific style of work song belonging to this historical repertoire. However, in recent, popular usage, the scope of its definition is sometimes expanded to admit a wider range of repertoire and characteristics, or to refer to a "maritime work song" in general.

In Cuban music and other Latin music genres such as salsa, call and response between the lead singer and the coro (chorus) is termed coro-pregón.

The form is found in the military cadence or "Jody" which is used as an a cappella work song or to keep time when marching or running in formation.

Call and response is also a common structure of songs and carols originating in the middle ages, for example All In the Morning and Down In Yon Forest, both Traditional Derbyshire carols [6] , as well as the Lyke Wake Dirge, though in some recordings of these the call and response element has been removed (as in recordings by The Voice Squad and The Young Tradition).

Classical music

In Western classical music, call and response is known as antiphony. The New Grove Dictionary defines antiphony as "music in which an ensemble is divided in to distinct groups, used in opposition, often spatial, and using contrasts of volume, pitch, timbre, etc." [7]

Early examples can be found in the music of Giovanni Gabrieli, one of the renowned practitioners of the Venetian polychoral style:

Giovanni Gabrieli in Ecclesiis. Listen Giovanni Gabrieli in Ecclesiis.png
Giovanni Gabrieli in Ecclesiis. Listen

Gabrieli also contributed many instrumental canzonas, composed for contrasting groups of players:

Gabrieli Canzon Septimi Toni
Gabrieli Canzon Septimi Toni Gabrieli Canzon Septimi Toni 01.png
Gabrieli Canzon Septimi Toni

Heinrich Schutz was one of the first composers to realise the expressive potential of the polychoral style in his "Little Sacred Concertos". The best known of these works is Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich? a vivid setting of the narrative of the Conversion of Paul as told in Acts 9 verses 3-4: "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"

"The musical phrase on which most of the concerto is built is sounded immediately by a pair of basses": [8]

Schutz, Saul Saul. Schutz, Saul bars 1-2.png
Schutz, Saul Saul.

This idea is "then taken up by the alto and tenor, then by the sopranos, and finally by the pair of violins as transition to the explosive tutti": [8]

Schutz, Saul, entry of two choirs. Listen Schutz, Saul.png
Schutz, Saul, entry of two choirs. Listen

"The syncopated repetitions of the name Saul are strategically planted so that, when the whole ensemble takes them up, they can be augmented into hockets resounding back and forth between the choirs, adding to the impression of an enveloping space And achieving in sound something like the effect of the surrounding light described by the Apostle." [9]

In the following century, J.S. Bach featured antiphonal exchanges in his St Matthew Passion and the motets, such as Singet dem Herrn, BWV225. The New Grove Dictionary says that there are "genuine spatial effects in these works, but in general he used these divisions more because they made for increased sonority". [7] The development of the classical orchestra in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries exploited the dramatic potential of antiphonal exchanges between groups of instruments. An example can be found in the development section of the finale of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41:

Mozart, Symphony 41, finale, bars 190-199Mozart, Symphony 41, finale, bars 190-199
Mozart Jupiter Finale development Mozart Jupiter Finale development.png
Mozart Jupiter Finale development

Even terser are the exchanges between wind and strings in the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Here, the development culminates in a "singularly dramatic passage" [10] consisting of a "strange sequence of block harmonies": [11]

Beethoven 5 first movement development
Beethoven 5 first movement development Beethoven 5 first movement development.png
Beethoven 5 first movement development

Twentieth century works that feature antiphonal exchanges include the second movement of Bartók's Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta (1936) and Michael Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1938). One spectacular example from the 1950s is Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen for Three Orchestras (1955–1957), which culminates in a "synchronized build-up of brass 'points' in the three orchestras ... leading to a climax of chord exchanges from orchestra to orchestra". [12] When heard live, this piece creates a genuine sensation of music moving in space. "The combination of the three orchestras leads to great climaxes: long percussion solos, concertante trumpet solos, powerful brass sections, alternating and interpenetrating." [13]

Call and response is common in modern Western popular music. Cross-over rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll and rock music exhibit call-and-response characteristics, as well. The Who's song "My Generation" is an example: [14]

"My Generation" vocal melody with response.
Play (help*info) My Generation vocal melody with response.PNG
"My Generation" vocal melody with response. Loudspeaker.svg Play  

Where call and response is most apparent in the secular music arena is in traditional and electric blues, where the most common 12-bar form is an AA'B pattern where the AA' is the call (repeated once with slight variation), and B is the response. But, each A and B part may itself consist of a short call and a short response, and those 2-bar calls and response may also be divided into 1-bar-each call-response pairs:[ citation needed ]

Note that each turnaround can be considered a call which the next A section is the response to.

Leader/chorus call and response

A single leader makes a musical statement, and then the chorus responds together. American bluesman Muddy Waters utilizes call and response in one of his signature songs, "Mannish Boy" which is almost entirely leader/chorus call and response.

CALL: Waters' vocal: "Now when I was a young boy"
RESPONSE: (Harmonica/rhythm section riff)
CALL: Waters': "At the age of 5"
RESPONSE: (Harmonica/rhythm section riff)

Another example is from Chuck Berry's "School Day (Ring Ring Goes the Bell)".

CALL: Drop the coin right into the slot.
RESPONSE: (Guitar riff)
CALL: You gotta get something that's really hot.
RESPONSE: (Guitar riff)

A contemporary example is from Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe".

CALL: Hey, I just met you
RESPONSE: (Violins)
CALL: And this is crazy
RESPONSE: (Violins)

This technique is utilized in Jepsen's song several times. While mostly in the chorus, it can also be heard in the breakdown (approximately 2:25) between the vocals ("It's hard to look right") and distorted guitar.

Question/answer call and response

Part of the band poses a musical "question", or a phrase that feels unfinished, and another part of the band "answers" (finishes) it. In the blues, the B section often has a question-and-answer pattern (dominant-to-tonic).

An example of this is the Christmas song "Must Be Santa":

CALL: Who laughs this way, ho ho ho?
RESPONSE: Santa laughs this way, ho ho ho!

A similar question-and-answer exchange occurs in the movie Casablanca between Sam and the band in the song "Knock On Wood":

CALL: Who's got trouble?
RESPONSE: We've got trouble!
CALL: How much trouble?
RESPONSE: Too much trouble!

See also

Related Research Articles

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African-Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Funk genre of music

Funk is a music genre that originated in African-American communities in the mid-1960s when African-American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bassline played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer, often at slower tempos than other popular music. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that created a "hypnotic" and "danceable feel". Funk uses the same richly colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths and thirteenths.

Antiphon short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle; call and response, especially in Christian music and ritual

An antiphon is a short chant in Christian ritual, sung as a refrain. The texts of antiphons are the Psalms. Their form was favored by St Ambrose and they feature prominently in Ambrosian chant, but they are used widely in Gregorian chant as well. They may be used during Mass, for the Introit, the Offertory or the Communion. They may also be used in the Liturgy of the Hours, typically for Lauds or Vespers.

The 13th Annual Grammy Awards were held on 16 March 1971, on ABC American Broadcasting Company, and marked the ceremony's first Live telecast. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1970. The ceremony was hosted for the first time by Andy Williams.

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), and The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony" (1997).

The 4th Annual Grammy Awards were held on May 29, 1962, at Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1961. Henry Mancini won 5 awards.

The 12th Annual Grammy Awards were held on March 11, 1970. They recognized accomplishments of musicians for the year 1969.

Henry Brant American composer

Henry Dreyfuss Brant was a Canadian-born American composer. An expert orchestrator with a flair for experimentation, many of Brant's works featured spatialization techniques.

Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements ("calls") are punctuated by responses from the listeners. This form is also used in music, in which it falls in the general category of antiphony.

A work song is a piece of music closely connected to a form of work, either sung while conducting a task or a song linked to a task which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song.

The 30th Annual Grammy Awards were held March 2, 1988, at Radio City Music Hall, New York City. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the previous year.

Little is known about the exact origin of the music now known as the blues. No specific year can be cited as the origin of the blues, largely because the style evolved over a long period and existed in approaching its modern form before the term blues was introduced and before the style was thoroughly documented. Ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik traces the roots of many of the elements that were to develop into the blues back to the African continent, the "cradle of the blues". One important early mention of something closely resembling the blues comes from 1901, when an archaeologist in Mississippi described the songs of black workers which had lyrical themes and technical elements in common with the blues.

Shout band is a kind of musical band performing shout music, a type of gospel music.

Field holler historical type of vocal music

The field holler or field call is a mostly historical type of vocal music sung by enslaved African workers to accompany their work, to communicate usefully, or to vent feelings. It differs from the collective work song in that it was sung solo, though early observers noted that a holler, or ‘cry’, might be echoed by other workers. Though commonly associated with cotton cultivation, the field holler was also sung by levee workers, and field hands in rice and sugar plantations. Field hollers are also known as corn-field hollers, water calls, and whoops. An early description is from 1853 and the first recordings are from the 1930s. The holler is closely related to the call and response of work songs and arhoolies. The Afro-American music form ultimately influenced strands of African American music, such as the blues, rhythm and blues, and spirituals.

Music of the African diaspora was mostly refined and developed during the period of slavery. Slaves did not have easy access to instruments, so vocal work took on new significance. Through chants and work songs people of African descent preserved elements of their African heritage while inventing new genres of music. The culmination of this great sublimation of musical energy into vocal work can be seen in genres as disparate as Gospel Music and Hip-Hop. The music of the African diaspora makes frequent use of ostinato, a motif or phrase which is persistently repeated at the same pitch. The repeating idea may be a rhythmic pattern, part of a tune, or a complete melody. The banjo is a direct decedent of the Akonting created by the Jola people, found in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. Hence, the melodic traditions of the African diaspora are probably most alive in Blues and Jazz.

African blues is a genre of popular music, primarily from West Africa. The term may also reference a putative journey undertaken by traditional African music from its homeland to the United States and back. Some scholars and ethnomusicologists have speculated that the origins of the blues can be traced to the musical traditions of Africa, as retained by African-Americans during and after slavery. Even though the blues is a key component of American popular music, its rural, African-American origins are largely undocumented, and its stylistic links with African instrumental traditions are somewhat tenuous. One musical influence that can be traced back to African sources is that of the plantation work songs with their call-and-response format, and more especially the relatively free-form field hollers of the later sharecroppers, which seem to have been directly responsible for the characteristic vocal style of the blues.

Coros de clave were popular choral groups that emerged at the end of the 19th century in Havana and other Cuban cities. Their style was influenced by the orfeones which grew popular in northern Spain in the mid-19th century, and their popularization in the island was linked to the emancipation of African slaves in 1886. The common instrumentation of the coros featured a viola, claves, guitar, harp and jug bass.

References

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  2. Orovio, Helio 2004. Cuban music from A to Z. Revised by Sue Steward. ISBN   0-8223-3186-1 A biographical dictionary of Cuban music, artists, composers, groups and terms. Duke University, Durham NC; Tumi, Bath. p191
  3. Sublette, Ned 2004. Cuba and its music: from the first drums to the mambo. Chicago. ISBN   1-55652-516-8
  4. 1 2 Shepherd, John (2003). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: VolumeII: Performance and Production, Volume 11. A&C Black. p. 146.
  5. "From Charles Mackintosh's waterproof to Dolly the sheep: 43 innovations Scotland has given the world". The independent. January 3, 2016.
  6. Russel, Ian (2012). The Derbyshire Book Of Village Carols. Sheffield: Village Carols. p. 2.
  7. 1 2 "Antiphony", article in the New Grove Dictionary of Music (2001). Oxford University Press.
  8. 1 2 Taruskin, R. (2005, p. 69) The Oxford History of Western Music; the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Oxford University Press.
  9. Taruskin, R. (2005, p. 68-69) The Oxford History of Western Music; the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Oxford University Press.
  10. Grove, G. (1898, p.153) Beethoven and his Nine Symphonies. London, Constable.
  11. Hopkins, A. (1981, p.137) The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven. London, Heinemann.
  12. Maconie, R. (1976, p. 111) The Works of Stockhausen. London, Marion Boyars.
  13. Worner, K.H. (1973, p.163) Stockhausen: Life and Work. London, Faber.
  14. 1 2 Middleton, Richard (1990). Studying Popular Music . Milton Keynes, UK: Open University Press. ISBN   0-335-15275-9. p. 49.