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Break

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Break

Amen break | Bass run | Funky drummer | Tramen

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A break is an instrumental or percussion section or interlude during a song derived from or related to stop-time – being a "break" from the main parts of the song or piece.

For example, in DJ parlance, a break is where all elements of a song (e.g., pads, basslines, vocals), except for percussion, disappear for a time. (Not to be confused with a breakdown.) In hip hop and electronica, a short break is also known as "the drop", and is sometimes accented by cutting off even the percussion.

It may be described as when the song takes a "breather, drops down to some exciting percussion, and then comes storming back again" and compared to a fake ending. Most songs have a break at two-thirds to three-quarters of their length and the break is usually visible on a record as a dark ring. (Brewster and Broughton 2003, p.79)

According to Peter van der Merwe (1989, p.283) a break "occurs when the voice stops at the end of a phrase and is answered by a snatch of accompaniment," and originated from the bass runs of marches of the "Sousa school". In this case it would be a "break" from the vocal part.

According to David Toop (1991), "the word break or breaking is a music and dance term (as well as a proverb) that goes back a long way. Some tunes, like 'Buck Dancer's Lament' from early this century, featured a two-bar silence in every eight bars for the break--a quick showcase of improvised dance steps. Others used the same device for a solo instrumental break: one of the most fetishized fragments of recorded music is a famous four-bar break taken by Charlie Parker in Dizzy Gillespie's tune 'Night in Tunisia'."

Most well known are breaks from soul and funk music such as the Amen break and the Funky drummer. On disco 12" records nearly every song has a break, most often multiple breaks, usually after a chorus. This allowed DJs to mix between songs. Tom Moulton may have been the originator of the disco break, which he says was required when mixing between two songs in a different key. So as to not have the harmonies clash, everything but the percussion was taken out.

Contents

Break beat

A break beat is the sampling of breaks as drum loops (beats), originally from soul tracks, and using them as the rhythmic basis for hip hop songs. It was invented by DJ Kool Herc, the first to buy two copies of one record so as to be able to mix between the same break (as Bronx DJ Afrika Bambaataa described it, "that certain part of the record that everybody waits for—they just let their inner self go and get wild"), extending its length through repetition (Toop, 1991). The dance the boys and girls ended up doing to break beats was called the Break, later break dancing. Breaking was abandoned in favor of doing the Freak in 1978, until it was revived and enhanced by Crazy Legs, Frosty Freeze, and the Rock Steady Crew. More recently electronic artists have created "break beats" from other electronic music. Compare with Breakbeat.

Paul Winley Record's bootleg Super Disco Breaks were the first break beat compilations. Another series is Ultimate Breaks and Beats of which there are 25 volumes, also bootleg. Hip hop break beat compilations include Hardcore Break Beats and Break Beats, and Drum Drops (ibid).

List of notable breaks

"Amen, Brother" by The Winstons (otherwise known as the "Amen break")
"Soul Pride" by James Brown (1969)
"Tighten Up" by James Brown (1969)
"Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss (heavily sampled break)
"N.T." by Kool & the Gang
"Fencewalk" by Mandrill, used by Kool DJ Herc (ibid)
"Funky Nassau" by The Beginning of the End (ibid)
"Funky Drummer" by James Brown (ibid)
"Handclapping Song" by The Meters
"Here Comes the Metermen" by The Meters
"Pass the Peas" by The JB's
"Grunt" by The JB's
"Sing A Simple Song" by Sly & the Family Stone
"Rock Creek Park" by The Blackbyrds
"Get Out of My Life, Woman" by Lee Dorsey. Most famously used by Biz Markie for "Just A Friend"
"Get Out of My Life, Woman" by Solomon Burke
"Scratchin'" by Magic Disco Machine
"Kissing My Love" by Bill Withers
"Scorpio" by Dennis Coffey
"Super Sperm" by Captain Sky
"Take Me To The Mardi Gras" by Bob James, cover of Paul Simon's "Take Me To The Mardi Gras". Used by Run DMC on "Peter Piper".
"Nautilus" by Bob James. Also used by a countless number of artists.
"Impeach the President" by The Honeydrippers
"Pot Belly" by Lou Donaldson
"Ode to Billy Joe" by Lou Donaldson
"I Get Lifted" by George McCrae
"I Get Lifted" by KC & The Sunshine Band
"Ashley's Roachclip" by The Soul Searchers. Used by Eric B. & Rakim for "Paid In Full". Also used by PM Dawn and Milli Vanilli.
"Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango
"Easy Dancin'" by Wagadu-Gu
"In The Bottle" by Gil Scott-Heron
"Apache" by the Incredible Bongo Band. Used by Kool DJ Herc, The Sugarhill Gang in "Apache", West Street Mob in "Break Dancin' - Electric Boogie". (ibid)
"Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins
"Funky Worm" by The Ohio Players
The Tramen break
"Assembly Line" by The Commodores
"It's a New Day" by Skull Snaps
"When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin
"Catch A Groove" by Juice
"The Mexican" by Babe Ruth
"Do the Funky Penguin" by Rufus Thomas
"The Breakdown" by Rufus Thomas

See also

Sources

  • Brewster, Bill and Broughton, Frank (2003). How to DJ Right: The Art and Science of Playing Records. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0802139957.
  • David Toop (1991). Rap Attack 2: African Rap To Global Hip Hop, p.113-115. New York: Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1852422432.
  • van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0193161214.

External links


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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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