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The Triplet Beat Goes On: Reverberation of a Popular "Black" Rhythm in the American Mainstream Pop and the Japanese Enka

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Authors
Yoshiaki, Sato
Issue Date
2004
Publisher
서울대학교 미국학연구소
Citation
미국학, Vol.27, pp. 157-173
Abstract
I. The Beast Against Beauty: contrastive ways of rhythmic formation in popular US genres The title of my paper may need clarification. What is a triplet beat? Instead of wordy explanation, let us resort to Elvis Presley performing it in his second US #1 hit song. "I Want You, i Need YOl!, I Love You" (1956) The rhythm guitar repeats the chug-chug-chug pattern for 2 bars, and then the same beat is picked up by Elvis's voice as he sings the first line, "Ho-ol'-me tight." Here again: "with all my ha-ha-ha ha-ha-ha- heart!" Elvis rides on the triplet beat. This song has the basic 4 beat, but each of the 4 beats is divided into three little beats of roughly equal duration. These little notes are called triplets. This rhythmic formation had become a cliche in performing the blues, as the genre evolved throughout the 1920s and 1930s. By the early 1950s, it was already recognized as a kind of marker of the so called "Black" Rhythm and Blues. Since it signified "blackness", it was handled with care by executives of the mainstream pop industry who promoted "mildly black" sounds. The following is performed by a well-groomed doo-wop group, the Platters.
ISSN
1229-4381
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/88571
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Researcher Institutes (연구소)American Studies Institute (미국학연구소)미국학미국학 Volume 27 (2004)
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