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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. Marvin Gaye and Ed Townsend, “Let's Get It On” (1973)

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

Figure 14.4.2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (2014)

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. Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (1985)

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

Figure 14.4.4. Holly Knight, Gene Bloch, Ann Wilson, and Nancy Wilson, “Never” (1985)
Figure 14.4.5. Kesha Sebert, Lukasz Gottwald, Benny Blanco, “Tik Tok” (2009)
Figure 14.4.6. Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Christopher Brown, James Fauntleroy, Johnathan Yip, Ray Romulus, Jeremy Reeves, Ray McCullough II, “That's What I Like” (2017)

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. Charlie Puth, Cameron Thomaz, Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Dann Hume, Josh Hardy, and Phoebe Cockburn, “See You Again” (2015)
Figure 14.4.8. James Arthur, Neil Ormandy, Steve Solomon, “Say You Won't Let Go” (2016)

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

Figure 14.4.9. Justin Bieber, Benny Blanco, and Ed Sheeran, “Love Yourself” (2015)

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. Fred Fassert, “Barbara Ann” (1961)
Figure 14.4.11. Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland, “You Can't Hurry Love” (1966)
Figure 14.4.12. Sara Allen, Daryl Hall, and John Oates, “Maneater” (1982)
Figure 14.4.13. Kimberley Rew, “Walking On Sunshine” (1985)
Figure 14.4.14. Nic Cester and Cameron Muncey, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” (2003)

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

Figure 14.4.15. Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice, “Smoke on the Water” (1973)

Subsection 14.4.3 Repeated 8th-note Chords

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

Figure 14.4.16. W.A. Mozart, Piano Sonata K. 310, I (1778)
Figure 14.4.17. Franz Schubert, Winterreise, D. 911“Gute Nacht” (1828)
Figure 14.4.18. Robert Schumann, Dichterliebe, “Ich grolle nicht” (1844)

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

Figure 14.4.19. Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie, “It's the Hard Knock Life” (1977)

Repeated eighth notes are a standard accompanimental texture in rock.

Figure 14.4.20. Geoff Gill and Cliff Wade, “Heartbreaker” (1979)

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. Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff, and Jeff Bhasker, “We Are Young” (2011)

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, “Ombra mai fu,” Xerxes, HWV 40 (1738)
Figure 14.4.23. Joe Raposo, Jon Stone, and Bruce Hart, “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?” (1969)
Figure 14.4.24. Billy Joel, “She's Got a Way” (1971)
Figure 14.4.25. Lou Gramm and Mick Jones, “Cold As Ice” (1977)
Figure 14.4.26. Gordon Sumner, “Roxanne” (1978)
Figure 14.4.27. Michael Bublé, Alan Chang, and Amy Foster-Gillies, “Haven’t Met You Yet” (2009)
Figure 14.4.28. Sara Bareilles, “Love Song” (2007)

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