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Call and response (music)

succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians (in music)

In music, a call and response is a series of two parts usually played or sung by different musicians. The second part is heard as a comment about or an answer to what the first has sung. This mimics or makes fun of how people talk back and forth to each other. Call and response uses the simple musical form of a verse and then a chorus used in many cultures or traditions. These songs are usually energetic and fun to listen to.[1]

Contents

Popular musicEdit

Call and response singing is common in modern Western popular music. This is because of the influence of African music. Some cross-over rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, rock 'n' roll and rock music have a call and response style, as well.

One of the best known is the song "Ooh Poo Pah Doo", written and first recorded by Jessie Hill.[1] The song is said to be "a nonsensical yet rollicking call-and-response workout that perfectly captures the energy of French Quarter life", by a reviewer for Allmusic. The song is so popular, it has over 100 cover versions recorded and performed live over the years by other popular musicians.[2]

Other popular examples are The Who's song "My Generation, from the album of the same name",[3] and "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin.

Folk musicEdit

Call and response is common in folk and choral singing of many people, especially in African musical cultures. In the West, it is most often seen in African-American work songs, military marches, and Québecois folk songs. The style is also used in dance-songs of various European countries including France (particularly Brittany) and the Faroe Islands.

In Cuban music and other latin music genres such as salsa, call and response between the lead singer and the chorus is called coro-pregón.

ExampleEdit

A singer makes a musical statement, and then the musical chorus answers together. American bluesman Muddy Waters uses call and response in one of his best known songs, "Mannish Boy". The entire song 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)

Related pagesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Biography by Jason Ankeny". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  2. Jeff Hannusch (1 February 2002). "Masters Of Louisiana Music: Jessie Hill". OffBeat magazine website. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  3. Middleton (1990). Studying Popular Music, ISBN 0-335-15275-9.

Other websitesEdit

  • Call and Response: Phrasing Ideas for Creating Memorable Guitar Solos
  • Gospel Music History - Gospel Music Encyclopedia citing the origins of the different types of call and response and different gospel music style