Beat (music)  

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"It's the beat, the beat, the beat that makes you want to rock." -- "Jazzy Rhythm", Michelle Wallace

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The beat is the basic unit of time in music, the pulse of the mensural level (or beat level). In popular use, the beat can refer to a variety of related concepts including: tempo, meter, rhythm and groove.

In hip hop and R&B music, the term 'beat' commonly refers to the non-vocal layer of the song not including instrumentals, which is frequently based on a looped recording of a drum-rhythm.

Much music is characterized by a repeating sequence of stressed and unstressed beats (often called "strong" and "weak") and divided into measures organized by time signature and tempo indications.

Related concepts

  • Afterbeat refers to a percussion style where a strong accent is sounded on the second, third and fourth beats of the bar, following the downbeat.
  • In Reggae music, the term One Drop reflects the complete de-emphasis (to the point of silence) of the first beat in the cycle.
  • James Brown’s signature funk groove emphasized the downbeat – that is, with heavy emphasis "on the one" (the first beat of every measure) – to etch his distinctive sound, rather than the back beat (familiar to many R&B musicians) which places the emphasis on the second beat.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Beat (music)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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