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Rock and Roll Beats are back bone for Rock and roll music

Updated on January 25, 2016
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Historically the “rock and roll sound” transmits from the airwaves to the listener in the form of ear piercing guitar solos, chords, and rhythms, but the back bone of the “rock and roll sound” comes from the bass and the drums. The guitar typically adds a degree of syncopation tying the whole piece of music together.

Rock and roll beats employ the back beat or back beat, which refers to a syncopated accentuation of the off-beat, usually beats two and four in a four-four rhythm. The typical rock and roll beat can be found in a four-four rhythm measurement, where the drummer rings out the snare on beats two and four. The bassists will play in line hitting predominant notes on the same beats, while playing in either eighth, quarter, or half notes for the song. Jazz and Big Band music influenced the rock and roll tempos. Jazz and Big Band music needed the two tempo music to allow audience to easily find the rhythm to dance to. Stressing eighth, quarter, and half notes allows the audiences to follow the music with their feet. The two, four, eight tempos in rock and roll music is so compelling to follow because it’s easy for the audience to groove to. Additionally, when writing music, it’s far easier to write music in two’s, four’s, and eight’s because of the bars on sheet music, the pairs inside bars generate coherence through simplicity.

Yet, not all rock and roll beats follow the four-four pattern, but the drummer usually finds his or her self keeping a constant beat on either the up or down beats. A syncopated rhythm coming from the drummer or bassist would throw the entire composition, flow and coherence of the piece off. Other instruments add the variation to the rock and roll beats, bringing the dissonance to the piece, permitting the stress of off beats and odd rhythmic patterns. Moreover, not all rock and roll beats follow the same rhythm through-out the song, sections of the song can carry different rhythms to create and ebb and flow of the musical arc.

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