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race records

Recordings produced in the 1920s-30s exclusively for African American audiences.

ragtime

A piano, vocal, and band music form (c. 1890 and later) with syncopated melodies played over regular rhythmic emphasis in a left-hand bass moving at half the melodies' speed.


Scott Joplin, "Elite Syncopation"

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refrain

The chorus at the end of every stanza in some pop songs (see pop song forms).

register

A name for different parts of a vocalist's or an instrument's range.

rhumba (or rumba)

A Cuban musical form of various styles (Latin) based on the son.


Afro Cuba de Matanzas

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rhythm and blues

Also "R&B." The adaptation of blues to small bands with wind instruments, and the merging of blues with riff melodies, and pop songs.

I Want My Baby (1956)
Bill Heyman

rhythm changes

The chord progression for George Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm"; commonly used as a basis for improvisation.


George Gershwin, early 1930s

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rhythm section

The instruments that function to provide the rhythmic foundation of a jazz group (bass, drums, keyboards, rhythm guitar, etc.) The contrast is to the saxophone section and brass sections).


Count Basie

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ride cymbal

A medium-sized cymbal that produces a loud and shimmering sound, and is used to set the fundamental swing pulse of most jazz performances.


Tony Williams with the Miles Davis Quintet (1967)

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riff

Short repeated melodic phrases that function rhythmically and sometimes even to undercut the harmonic structure of a musical piece.

Jumpin' At The Woodside (1938)
Count Basie

rim shot

The sharp, loud sound made by a stick striking the head and the rim of a snare drum simultaneously.

rip

A quick upward glissando up to an intended tone.

roll

A sustained sound on the drums produced by fast alternate strokes of the drum sticks.

run

A fast descending or ascending scale or line.

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