Rhythm section

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rhythm section (also rhythm section , Eng. Rhythm section ) is in bands that part of the occupation , which for the rhythm of a piece of music is responsible. Melody group is the complementary part of the group that takes on the melody lead.

History of origin

The rhythm section developed particularly in jazz . In the 1930s, the typical line-up for this part of the band was drums , double bass and piano . The guitar was soon added as an accompanying instrument . Today there is a wide variety of possible line-ups for a rhythm section. For example, in the Afro-Cuban context, one or more percussionists are the rule. Electronic rhythm groups, on the other hand, use drum computers, samplers and MIDI loops instead of acoustic instruments.


The rhythm group includes the musical instruments known primarily as rhythm instruments such as drums , bass ( electric bass , double bass ), rhythm guitar , banjo , piano , tambourine , percussion . The roles of the musicians can change within a piece of music: If, for example, a guitarist changes from playing the melody to comping , he becomes part of the rhythm section. Conversely, individual members of the rhythm section can also lead the melody, for example in bass solos . Both electrical and acoustic instruments can be used as comping instruments. Other comping instruments are the organ (e.g. Hammond), synthesizer, accordion, vibraphone and all other instruments on which chords can be played.


The rhythm section serves as a metric support for the melody section. It drives the music and determines the tempo of the melody. The rhythm group can play parallel to the melody group, interact with it, or play alone in phases. In a big band , the rhythm section usually keeps time , while the wind instruments play in a relaxed, laid back manner. This tension and separation of duties is one of the reasons for the different consideration of rhythm and melody groups. Another role of the rhythm section is to create a harmonic context for the piece through comping . A comping part essentially consists of chords that are played with a rhythmic structure. Since the drums are responsible for the most important metric hits and the bass often plays fundamental tones, typical comping instruments such as piano or guitar build their parts around what is missing: the chord tones third and seventh, option and tension tones as well as syncopated and over beats and Beats held rhythms. In this way, comping instruments, bass and drums together form an overall structure from the sum of the individual parts.


Rhythm group consisting of drums, timbales, whistles and hand percussion (claves, maracas, guicas)

Music groups that only use rhythm instruments but no melody instruments are also referred to as rhythm groups . Typical instruments are e.g. B. maracas , eggshaker or bell ring , but also noise and effect instruments like the whistle . This type of rhythm section is often found in samba music .

Web links

Wiktionary: rhythm group  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-rhythm-section-2456822