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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Musical anatomy and physiology. Dictionary.
Musical anatomy and physiology.  Dictionary.
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45 posts
Feb 18, 2017
5:06 AM
Common blues/music vernacular.


The harp being my introduction to music, this has been one of the new things I've had to learn before deriving practical information here. Music is a whole new language a whole new language in more ways than one.
If you don't cut it while it's hot......
3 posts
Mar 11, 2019
1:00 PM
I've been singing in choir since 7th grade (2nd year of middle school) as well as playing the harmonica seriously since December 29, 2018, so I can help you with some of these musical "slang".
Turnaround - usually the last two bars of a 12 bar blues that are used to set up the next 12 bars.
Hook/Chorus - these terms have the same meaning. This is where, in the standard song form of ABABCB, this is the most consistent part of a song: the lyrics and the melody repeat with minor changes.
Verse - This is where, in the standard song form of ABABCB, the melody repeats, but it has major lyrical changes.
Bridge - The least repeated part of a song, and has its own lyrics and melodic line.
Riff/run/lick - a musical line where it is played with continuity either legato (long and flowing) and/or staccato (short and quick). Lick has a second meaning in which two or more musical instruments play the same melodic line simulatneously (this is present in the intro of Garth Brooks's "Mr Right" and in the first 8 bars of the chorus to "Shoes" by Ronnie Shellist).
5853 posts
Mar 11, 2019
2:06 PM
I get most of that, but in Blues sometimes things are a little different.
The meaning of “chorus” in a 12 bar blues, which often has no bridge, and often does not have a vocal “chorus” as per the above description, is usually just 12 bars. So for instance we might refer to the 3rd chorus of Juke, and it just means the 3rd cycle of 12 bars.

Similarly “hook” might have a particular meaning in vocal music, but outside that it seems to refer to a signature riff, or phrase,
...it’s the (non vocal) part that gets stuck in your mind and identifies ‘that’ song. Not every song has a hook, and a vocal song can definitely have an instrumental hook.
Think of Green Onions for instance...maybe not the best example but I’m running late

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