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Rock band

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Rock band

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Rock group (or later rock band) is a generic name to describe a group of musicians specializing in a particular form of electronically amplified music. Deriving its name from the musical style which was its immediate progenitor, rock and roll, the type of music played by rock groups has its roots deeply steeped in both rock and roll, and its immediate forebear, rhythm and blues. In Britain of the early 1960s the term rock group was in universal use, but as psychedelia approached the name band came into vogue, typified by The Band. A rock group or band tends to have a heavy focus on certain instruments principally electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums (prime examples of this are The Who, Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, or more recently Alice in Chains), with keyboard instruments such as electronic organs being featured from the outset by groups such as Manfred Mann and The Animals. Later in the 1960s, rock bands such as The Who, Pink Floyd and Hawkwind experimented with electric organs and synthesizers. Other instruments deployed within the context of a rock band include the electric violin, as used by Curved Air and the flute played by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, among others.


A rock group or band usually consists of at least four musical roles:

  • lead singer.
  • guitarist.
  • bass guitarist.
  • drummer or/and percussionist.

Sometimes however a lead singer can be replaced or joined by a lead guitarist, who plays counter melodies and performs most of the solos. In many instances, the singer may play an instrument, creating a trio.

Many bands also include a rhythm guitarist and keyboardist, who work with the Bassist and the Drummer in the rhythm section. The role of these instruments is to identify and play chords and chordal accompaniment for the soloist and to merge with the overall groove of the rhythm section.

The lead singer may also play an instrument while singing, most commonly the guitar or bass guitar. When the lead singer role is taken by one of the other primary musical roles, the group is termed a power trio (for example Cream or more recently, Green Day). Some bands may have multiple lead singers (such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles, as well as more modern bands such as blink-182). Still others will add background vocals, sung by other instrumentalists or dedicated singers.

If there is an addition of instruments from other areas of music, such as stringed instruments like a violin or cello, or horns like trumpets or trombones, the band is seen as diverging too far from the main four roles, this creates a tendency to classify the group not as a rock band, but with a genre seen as more specific than "rock" (e.g. ska or progressive rock).

While some rock bands may add several additional singers and instrumentalists, they hardly ever lose the four primary roles.

See also

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.