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Section 14.4 Block Chord Accompaniments

This section contains the following subsections below:

Subsection 14.4.1 The “1 (2) &” Rhythm

In this section, we will discuss some accompanimental rhythms that occur frequently in popular music. The first such rhythm has two chords per measure, with the first chord on beat 1 and the second chord on the upbeat after beat 2.

Figure 14.4.1. Gaye and Townsend, “Let's Get It On”

You will find a similar rhythm and bass line in the next example.

Figure 14.4.2. Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

The “1 (2) &” rhythm is also found in “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” a song associated with the film The Breakfast Club.

Figure 14.4.3. Forsey and Schiff, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”

Below are five more examples of block chord accompaniment in the “1 (2) &” rhythm.

Figure 14.4.4. A. Wilson, N. Wilson, Ennis, Knight, and Block, “Never”
Figure 14.4.5. Sebert, Gottwald, Blanco, “Tik Tok”
Figure 14.4.6. Mars, Lawrence, Brown, Fauntlery, Yip, Romulus, Reeves, McCullough II, “That's What I Like”

Notice that the example above (“That's What I Like”) has the same progression as “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Figure 14.4.7. Franks, Puth, Thomaz, “See You Again”
Figure 14.4.8. Arthur, Ormandy, Solomon, “Say You Won't Let Go”

The example below has the “1 (2) &” rhythm in dimininution.

Figure 14.4.9. Bieber, Blanco, and Sheeran, “Love Yourself”

Subsection 14.4.2 The “Barbara Ann” Rhythm

It is easier to describe the next block chord accompaniment pattern as the “Barbara Ann” rhytm than the “1 2 3 (4) & (1) & (2) & 3” rhythm. Below are six examples of pieces that use this rhythm, whether with block chords or solely in the bass line.

Figure 14.4.10. Fassert, “Barbara Ann”
Figure 14.4.11. Holland-Dozier-Holland, “You Can't Hurry Love”
Figure 14.4.12. Allen, Hall, and Oates, “Maneater”
Figure 14.4.13. Rew, “Walking On Sunshine”
Figure 14.4.14. Ceste and Muncey, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

A slower version of this rhythm occurs in Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”

Figure 14.4.15. Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, and Paice, “Smoke on the Water”

Subsection 14.4.3 Repeated 8th-note Chords

Repeated 8th-note chords occur regularly in “Classical” music textures.

Figure 14.4.16. Mozart, Piano Sonata K. 310, I
Figure 14.4.17. Schubert, Winterreise, D. 911“Gute Nacht”
Figure 14.4.18. Robert Schumann, Dichterliebe, “Ich grolle nicht”

The next example is from the musical Annie. Note the “1 (2) &” rhythm in the bass line.

Figure 14.4.19. Strouse and Charnin, Annie, “It's the Hard Knock Life”

Repeated eighth notes are a standard accompanimental texture in rock.

Figure 14.4.20. Gill and Wade, “Heartbreaker”

The repeated eighth-note rhythm is also common in recent popular music. Note that the following example uses the 1950's progression (i.e., \(\left.\text{I}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{vi}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{IV}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{V}\right.\)).

Figure 14.4.21. Ruess, Dost, Antonoff, and Bhasker, “We Are Young”

Subsection 14.4.4 Repeated Quarter-note Chords

Repeated quarter-note chords are a common accompanimental rhythm in “Classical” and popular music.

Figure 14.4.22. George Frideric Handel, Xerxes, “Ombra mai fu”
Figure 14.4.23. Joel, “She's Got a Way”
Figure 14.4.24. Gramm and Jones, “Cold As Ice”
Figure 14.4.25. Sumner, “Roxanne”
Figure 14.4.26. Bublé, Chang, and Foster-Gilles, “Haven’t Met You Yet”
Figure 14.4.27. Bareilles, “Love Song”

In the next section, we will examine accompanimental textures consisting of afterbeats and offbeats.