Vamp (music)

Vamp (music)

In jazz, gospel, soul, and musical theater, a vamp is a repeating musical figure or accompaniment. [Corozine (2002): 124.] A vamp typically outlines a single harmony, or in some cases a familiar sequence of chords, such as ii-V(7) or IV-V(7) (in the key of C, this would be d minor to G(7) or F to G(7)). The equivalent in classical music is an ostinato.


Jazz, fusion, and latin jazz

In jazz, fusion, and related genres, such as latin jazz, a background vamp provides a performer with a harmonic framework upon which to improvise. A vamp often acts as a springboard at the opening of a jazz tune, to help the soloists get warmed up for improvising and introduce the song's groove. Vamps are also used as the endings of some songs, in which case they may also be referred to as the coda or "tag" of the tune.

Vamping is used to establish the Afro-Cuban feel of the Bebop standard "A Night in Tunisia". A vamp also helps establish the identity and unusual 5/4 meter for the tune "Take Five". In Take Five, the repeated, syncopated figure with which pianist Dave Brubeck introduces the tune, and which he plays with his left hand throughout, is a vamp. Vamps are also used in 1970s-era jazz-funk and jazz-rock songs such as "Maiden Voyage" and "Cantaloupe Island".

The music from Miles Davis' modal period (c.1958-63) was based on improvising songs with a small number of chords. The jazz standard "So What" uses a vamp in the two-note "Sooooo what?" figure, regularly played by the piano and the trumpet throughout. Jazz scholar Barry Kernfeld calls this music "Vamp Music." This period of Davis' music has also been called "Impressionist jazz," because it uses some of the same musical features as the so-called "Impressionist" style of Classical music of Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy. Davis used "Ravel's various devices, such as quartal harmony, pedal point, bi-tonality, [and] unresolved melodic tensions." [ [ Modal playing - Jazz Bulletin Board ] ]

Gospel, soul, and funk

In gospel and soul music, the band will often vamp on a simple ostinato groove at the end of a song, usually over a single chord. In soul music, the end of recorded songs often contains a display of vocal "pyrotechics", such as rapid scales, arpeggios, and improvised passages. For recordings, the sound engineers will gradually fade out the vamp section at the end of a song, to make the transition to the next track on the album. Salsoul singers such as Loleatta Holloway have become notable for their vocal improvisations at the end of songs, and they are sampled and used in other songs.

1970s-era funk music often takes a short one or two bar musical figure based on a single chord that would be considered an introduction vamp in jazz or soul music, and then uses this vamp as the basis of the entire song ("Funky Drummer" by James Brown, for example). Jazz, blues, and rock are almost always based on chord progressions (a sequence of changing chords), and they use the changing harmony to build tension and sustain listener interest. Unlike these music genres, funk is based on the rhythmic groove of the percussion, rhythm section instruments, and a deep electric bass line, usually all over a single chord.

Musical theater

In musical theater, a vamp is a figure of one or more measures which the orchestra repeats during dialogue or stage business, to provide musical accompaniment for onstage transitions which are of indeterminate length. The score will provide a one or two bar vamp figure, and indicate "vamp till cue" by the conductor. The vamp gives the onstage singers time to prepare for the song or the next verse, without either requiring the music to pause. Once the vamp section is completed, the music will continue on to the next section.

History and etymology

The term vamp comes from the Middle English word "vampe" (sock), from Old French "avanpie", equivalent to Modern French "avant-pied", literally "before-foot". [ "Vamp: Definition, Synonyms and Much More"] . "". Answers Corporation.]

The term vamp has another meaning in music, which is "to improvise simple accompaniment or variation of a tune." Outside of music, the noun vamp means "something patched up or refurbished" or "something rehashed, as a book based on old material." Similarly, outside of music, the verb "vamp" means "to put together, fabricate or improvise": "With no hard news available about the summit meeting, the reporters vamped up questions based only on rumor." These other meanings are related to the musical meaning, in that a musical vamp is a "fabricated" or "improvised" "rehash" of standard, stock musical phrases.

ee also




*cite book |last=Corozine |first=Vince |title=Arranging Music for the Real World: Classical and Commercial Aspects |date=2002 |publisher=Mel Bay |location=Pacific, MO |isbn=0-7866-4961-5 |oclc=50470629 |ref=Corozine2002

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