Musical Terms

Alternative Rock: a movement that designated itself as an "alternative" to main stream rock music; partially recognized as a movement from the Seattle music scene of the nineteen nineties by bands such as Nirvana and Alice in Chains.

Audio Engineer: the individual responsible for running the mixer to ensure all of the instruments and effects are equalized so they can all be heard. Also called an engineer or mixer.

Backbeat: the defining beat of a rock song; traditionally the 2 and 4 counts in 4/4 time.

Bridge: a part of a song that repeats part of the song in a different key to designate a change or introduce a new part of a song.

Call and Return: characterized by one instrument playing, and another repeating or answering it slightly altered; traditionally from blues.

Chorus (1): an effect that uses timing to split the signal and delay it no more than fifteen or twenty milliseconds to add the illusion of multiple voices or instruments being played.

Chorus (2): the repeated set of lyrics indicative of rock music, typically the chorus contains the title of the song and contains the 'hook.'

Compressor: a processing technique used to contain the sound pressure levels under a set threshold, any sound level over the threshold is pushed or compressed to the threshold; mainly used to isolate and adjust important parts of a song or piece of music such as vocals and drums.

Cover Song: a song played or recorded by a band that was written by another; typically as a tribute to the original song writer or performer.

Delay: a digital processing technique that splits the incoming signal and repeats the signal according to a set time in milliseconds.

Digital Sound Processing: the use of digital technology to produce unique effects for music such as echoes, delays, reverberation, and chorus.

Foot Pedals: used to start and activate effects, sequences and a variety of external processes applied to guitars, basses, keyboards and vocals during a live performance or recording sessions.

Front-Man: the lead singer of a band or group.

Kick Drum: the lowest tones drum of a rock drum kit; also called a bass drum.

Hook: the most noticeable or memorable portion of a song; the main melody of a pop song typically located in the chorus portion of the song.

Patch Cable: any cable measuring 1/4 inch in diameter, used to connect guitars, keyboards and amplification equipment into and out of the sound board.

Progressive Rock: any rock music that pushes the accepted norm or expected orientation of instruments and use of effects; a movement in the rock music industry generally during the nineteen seventies and early eighties.

Reverb: a digital effect used to emulate the sound of large or small areas determined by milliseconds of time between the played tone and its reflections off of imaginary surfaces; the echo of a hall when a sound is played within it, caused by the reflection of the sound waves.

Riff: a repeated phrase of tones or notes that signifies a particular portion or part of a song.

Sampling: a small sound bite used repeatedly in association with or without a sequencer; samples can be spoken words, musical, vocal, drums or any other sound, at its most simplistic explanation a sample is a recorded sound that can be replayed.

Sequencer: a device that can be programmed and triggered to play at any designated part of a song to add more instruments or effects than the number the individuals in the band can play simultaneously, used heavily in industrial and electronic based rock music.

Solid State Amplification: any amplification system that uses transistors, integrated circuits and resistors to amplify sound; any amplifier not using tube technology.

Sound Board: the main interface of all the instruments being played live or in a recording session that is controlled by an audio engineer to maximize the sound pressure levels of all of the instruments being played. A device that is used to apply effects, mix and master music albums. Also called a mixer, desk, board, and sound mixer.

Stratocaster: a guitar made famous in the nineteen fifties and sixties, built by the Fender corporation; the Stratocaster is a heavily used guitar in blues as well as rock and has seen many changes in its history.

Synth: any digital or analog keyboard device that uses electronically generated waveforms combined in varying degrees to produce tones that are similar to those found in nature and man-made components.

Synth Guitar: a guitar that uses synthesizer processing chips to create sounds not indicative of a guitar; a blend of the playing style of a guitar and the electronic wave capabilities of a keyboard or synth.

Verse: the set of lyrics in a song that is not typically repeated; it tells the 'story' of the song.