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Breaks, break beats

Related: beats - bootleg - breakdance - brokenbeats - drum 'n bass - sampling - hip hop - riddims - disco

When DJ Kool Herc performed to Breaks at crowded venues, such as the Hervalo in the Bronx, he would shout loudly 'B-Boys go down!' and this was the cue for dancers to cut and jump their gymnastics. Even today nobody is quite clear what Kool Herc meant by his phrase. Some suggest B-Boys stands for 'Boogie Boy' while others insist it means 'Break Boy'. The later has become the favored choice. But who were the original B-Boys and where had they learned their skillz? Again the answer is fairly straight-forward. They had simply adapted what they had been doing on the ghetto streets.

There are obviously ethical considerations here [regarding sampling of breaks] --it's easy to understand James Brown's outrage as his uncredited beats and screams underpin much of today's black music Jon Savage

Discography: Paul Winley's catalogue - Ultimate Breaks and Beats - The Breaks (1979) - Kurtis Blow

Super Disco Brake's vol.4 (1981) - Paul Winley


The break is the drum segment in the middle of a song. (the beat). The term break beats has been used by collectors of sixties funky music as sampleware for primarily hip hop records. The term 'broken beats' came in to vogue around the turn of the millenium.

A break is an instrumental or percussion section or interlude during a song derived from or related to stop-time being a "break" from the main parts of the song or piece. According to David Toop (1991), "the word break or breaking is a music and dance term (as well as a proverb) that goes back a long way. Some tunes, like 'Buck Dancer's Lament' from early this century, featured a two-bar silence in every eight bars for the break--a quick showcase of improvised dance steps. Others used the same device for a solo instrumental break: one of the most fetishied fragments of recorded music is a famous four-bar break taken by Charlie Parker in Dizzy Gillespie's tune 'Night in Tunisia'." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Break_%28music%29 [Jun 2005]

Disco [...]

"Every record has a break, especially early disco... it`s the part of a song after the chorus where the song changes at the interlude. The musical element is broken down for a few measures... that`s the most original part of the song. The reason most disco songs had so many breaks were for dj`s ... so they could mix out of the record while spinning at clubs." - Kutmaster Kurt

Disco had already produced the first records to be aimed specifically at DJs with extended 12" versions that included long percussion breaks for mixing purposes.

Tom Moulton: He used drum breaks, for example, as transitions within a song, to set up an emotional rush with the return of the rest of the music, or when key changes made a break necessary to create dramatic structure--not merely because drum breaks made it easier for a DJ to mix in or out of a record.

Tom Moulton [...]

What Tom doesn't say is that he was experimenting with this essence fifteen years ago. "Oh, the breaks, you mean? Well, I created the break by accident" he grins. "I needed to mix two parts of a record, but the song modulated to another key, so I had to take out practically all the music until the only things left were the drums, tambourine and conga." Dave Lubich [...]

Kool Herc [...]

By most accounts Kool Herc was the first DJ to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle. By mixing back and forth between the two copies he was able to double, triple, or indefinitely extend the break.

History of the Amen break

Link: Amen break - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

"This fascinating, brilliant 20-minute video narrates the history of the "Amen Break," a six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969. This sample was used extensively in early hiphop and sample-based music, and became the basis for drum-and-bass and jungle music -- a six-second clip that spawned several entire subcultures. Nate Harrison's 2004 video is a meditation on the ownership of culture, the nature of art and creativity, and the history of a remarkable music clip."

QUOTE: "Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it".

Via http://agentchin.typepad.com/grabbag/2006/03/amen_break.html [Aug 2006]

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