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Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Back Beat
Accenting beats 2 and 4 of a
bar (i.e. the 'off' beats). This is the constant of most 20th century popular music as the loud snare drum falls on these beats. Reggae in particular places emphasis on the back beat.


Ballad
From the
folk music tradition in particular, a ballad is a song that tells a story (e.g. John Henry). However in most other modern music genres including pop and jazz, ballad refers to any song that is downbeat, slow and emotional (e.g." Misty", "Yesterday", "Crazy For You"). A decent ballad can be hugely emotional, a bad one can just sound naff. Ballads are a strong chart currency at the moment – if you’re a boyband your first (and invariably every other) single will be a ballad.

Bar
A measure of musical time, usually made up of two, three or four
beats. Musical phrases and verses, in turn, are often made up of regular numbers of bars - four, eight or twelve, e.g. the four-bar melody which accompanies the phrase: "And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain." In a four-beat bar the first and third beats are normally accented in rock music, or the second and fourth in reggae. Think of dancing and it all makes sense -a waltz has three beats in the bar.


Bass Guitar
The Bass (pronounced "Base") evolved from the upright Double Bass during the 1950s, when a certain Leo Fender marketed the first solid body
electric guitar and named it the Precision Electric Bass Guitar. This revolutionary new sound got its name from its new more precise pitch. The bass line often carries the rhythm of a song on its shoulders.

Beat
The basic unit of musical time. Beats are normally grouped together into regular groups called
bars, and depending on how beats are accented different characteristic rhythms will result.

Bluegrass
An early form of
country music that combines the gospel-tinged vocals of the Blue Ridge Mountain region with folk melodies. Instrumentation generally includes guitars, banjos, mandolins and fiddles.




Bridge
A bridge is a kind of fresh perspective in the middle of a song, a small part that may consist of only music, or both lyrics and music, usually placed after the second chorus (sometimes referred to as the
middle eight). An example is the lines: "And when I touch you I feel happy inside/ It's such a feeling that my love I can't hide" from "I Wanna Hold YourHand". It works like a musical glue between two different sections of a piece of music.





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