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Accompaniment - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.


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Accompaniment is the musical parts which provide the rhythmic

and/or harmonic support for the melody or main themes of a song
or instrumental piece. There are many different styles and types of
accompaniment in different genres and styles of music. In
homophonic music, the main accompaniment approach used in
A waltz melody, which is
popular music, a clear vocal melody is supported by subordinate
usually in triple meter, is often
chords. In popular music and traditional music, the
supported by an "oom-pah-
accompaniment parts typically provide the "beat" for the music
pah"-style accompaniment,
and outline the chord progression of the song or instrumental
which consists of a bass note
piece. The accompaniment for a vocal melody or instrumental solo
can be played by a single musician playing an instrument such as in beat one followed by a
piano, pipe organ, or guitar. While any instrument can in theory be chord that is played twice in
used as an accompaniment instrument, keyboard and guitar-family beats two and three.
instruments tend to be used if there is only a single
instrument, as these instruments can play chords and
basslines simultaneously (chords and a bassline are easier to
play simultaneously on keyboard instruments, but a
fingerpicking guitarist can play chords and a bassline "Walking basslines", so-named
simultaneously on guitar). A solo singer can accompany because they rise and fall in a regular
herself by playing guitar or piano while she sings, and in pattern, are a widely used style of
some rare cases, a solo singer can even accompany himself accompaniment bassline in jazz, blues
or herself just using his or her voice and body (e.g., Bobby and rockabilly.

Alternatively, the accompaniment to a vocal melody or instrumental solo can be provided by a

musical ensemble, ranging in size from a duo (e.g., cello and piano; guitar and double bass;
synthesizer and percussion); a trio (e.g., a rock power trio of electric guitar, electric bass and drum
kit; an organ trio); a quartet (e.g., a string quartet in Classical music can accompany a solo singer; a
rock band or rhythm section in rock and pop; a jazz quartet in jazz); all the way to larger
ensembles, such as concert bands, Big Bands (in jazz), pit orchestras in musical theatre; and
orchestras, which, in addition to playing symphonies, can also provide accompaniment to a
concerto solo instrumentalist or to solo singers in opera. With choral music, the accompaniment to
a vocal solo can be provided by other singers in the choir, who sing harmony parts or
countermelodies. Accompaniment parts range from so simple that a beginner can play them (e.g.,
simple three-note triad chords in a traditional folk song) to so complex that only an advanced player
or singer can perform them (e.g., the piano parts in Schubert's Lieder art songs from the 19th
century or vocal parts from a Renaissance music motet).

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Accompaniment - Wikipedia

1 Definition
1.1 Accompaniment figure
1.2 Dialogue accompaniment
2 Notation and improvisation
3 See also
4 References
5 External links

A guitarist playing the basso

continuo accompaniment part
for Baroque music composer
Antonio Vivaldi's Cello
An accompanist is a musician who plays an accompaniment part.
concerto in 2008.
Accompanists often play keyboard instruments (e.g., piano, pipe
organ, synthesizer or, in folk music and traditional
styles, a guitar. A number of classical pianists have
found success as accompanists rather than soloists;
arguably the best known example is Gerald Moore,
well known as a Lieder accompanist. In some
American schools, the title "collaborative pianist" (or
collaborative artist) is replacing the title accompanist,
because in many art songs and contemporary classical Mozart's Piano Sonata, K 545 opening. The
music songs, the piano part is complex and demands right hand plays the melody, which is in the
an advanced level of musicianship and technique. The top stave. The left hand plays the
term accompanist also refers to a musician (typically a accompaniment part, which is in the lower
pianist) who plays for singers, dancers, and other stave. In the first bar of the accompaniment
performers at an audition or rehearsal—but who does part, the pianist plays a C Major chord in the
not necessarily participate in the ensemble that plays left hand; this chord is arpeggiated (i.e., a
for the final performance (which might be an chord in which the notes are played one
orchestra or a big band). after the other, rather than simultaneously).
Accompaniment figure

An accompaniment figure is a musical gesture used repeatedly in an accompaniment, such as:

Alberti bass and other arpeggio figures

Ostinati figures (repeated lines) or, in popular music, riffs

Notated accompaniment may be indicated obbligato (obliged) or ad libitum (at one's pleasure).

Dialogue accompaniment

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Accompaniment - Wikipedia

Dialogue accompaniment is a form of call and response in which the lead and accompaniment
alternate, the accompaniment playing during the rests of the lead and providing a drone or silence
during the main melody or vocal.[1]

Notation and improvisation

The accompaniment instrumentalists and/or singers can be provided with a fully notated
accompaniment part written or printed on sheet music. This is the norm in Classical music and in
most large ensemble writing (e.g., orchestra, pit orchestra, choir). In popular music and traditional
music, the accompaniment instrumentalists often improvise their accompaniment, either based on a
lead sheet or chord chart which indicates the chords used in the song or piece (e.g., C Major, d
minor, G7, or Nashville numbers or Roman numerals, such as I, ii, V7, etc.) or by "playing by ear".
Chord-playing musicians (e.g., those playing guitar, piano, Hammond organ, etc.) can improvise
chords, "fill-in" melodic lines and solos from the chord chart. It is rare for chords to be fully written
out in music notation in pop and traditional music. Some guitarists, bassists and other stringed
instrumentalists read accompaniment parts using tabulature (or "tab"), a notation system which
shows the musician where on the instrument to play the notes. Drummers can play accompaniment
by following the lead sheet, a sheet music part in music notation, or by playing by ear. In pop and
traditional music, bass players, which may be upright bass or electric bass, or another instrument,
such as bass synth, depending on the style of music, are usually expected to be able to improvise a
bassline from a chord chart or learn the song from a recording. In some cases, an arranger or
composer may give a bassist a bass part that is fully written out in music notation.

See also
Figure (music)
Figured bass (Basso continuo)
Guitar picking

1. van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century
Popular Music, p.320. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-316121-4.

External links
The dictionary definition of accompaniment at Wiktionary

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Accompaniment - Wikipedia

Free professional piano and continuo accompaniment (

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Categories: Accompaniment Rhythm section

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