Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A riff is an ostinato figure: a repeated chord progression or melodic figure, often played by the rhythm section instruments, that forms the basis or accompaniment of a rock music or jazz composition.
The term "riff" is sometimes regarded as slang, and is used primarily in discussion of forms of rock music or jazz. "Most rock musicians use 'riff' as a synonym, almost, for 'musical idea .'" (Middleton 1990, p.125)
Popular pieces and songs that depend on riffs for their effect
- "Sing, Sing, Sing" by Benny Goodman
- "Take Five" by The Dave Brubeck Quartet
- "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones
- "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye" by Steam
- "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple
- "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees
- "Money" by Pink Floyd
- "Back In Black" by AC/DC
- "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix
- "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes
- "Day Tripper" by The Beatles
- "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream
Notation and sound examples
- "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck
- "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks
- Middleton, Richard (1999). Form and Music. Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture. Malden, Massachusetts. ISBN 0631212639.
- Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0335152759.
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