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Riff

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A riff is an ostinato figure: a repeated chord progression or melodic figure, often played by the rhythm section instruments, that forms the basis or accompaniment of a rock music or jazz composition.

The term "riff" is sometimes regarded as slang, and is used primarily in discussion of forms of rock music or jazz. "Most rock musicians use 'riff' as a synonym, almost, for 'musical idea.'" (Middleton 1990, p.125)

Some sources explain "riff" as an abbreviation for "rhythmic figure". In comedy, "riff" refers to the process of extending a singular thought, idea or inspiration into a "bit", or "routine".

Musically, David Brackett (1999) defines them as, "short melodic phrases," while Richard Middleton (1999) defines them as, "short rhythmic, melodic, or harmonic figures repeated to form a structural framework."

A great many rock songs, and nearly all heavy metal music, are formed from a structure of guitar riffs.

Contents

Popular pieces and songs that depend on riffs for their effect

Notation and sound examples

Missing image
Iron_Butterfly_In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida_Riff.PNG
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida riff

Image:kcmsound 22px.png Listen to the above. (more info)

Missing image
Iron_Man_riff.PNG
Iron Man riff

Image:kcmsound 22px.png Listen to the above. (more info)

Missing image
Take_Five_introduction.png
Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck, "Take Five" intro

Image:kcmsound 22px.png Listen to a sample of "Take Five". (more info)

Missing image
The_Kinks_You_Really_Got_Me_riff.PNG
You Really Got Me riff

Source

  • Middleton, Richard (1999). Form and Music. Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture. Malden, Massachusetts. ISBN 0631212639.
  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0335152759.

External Links

de:Riff (Musik) fr:Riff pl:Riff

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