Reggae Ska and Dub Stylistic Fingerprints

In Reggae Music, Stylistic Fingerprints by phoenixgreen1 Comment



  • Main Vocals
  • Backing Vocals
  • Two Guitarists
  • Keyboards and Organ
  • Horn section – Saxophone, Trumpet or Trombone
  • Bass Guitar
  • Drums and Percussion


Performance and Arrangement:

  • A standard drum kit is generally used in reggae,
  • Reggae drum beats fall into one of three main categories: One drop, Rockers, and Steppers
  • Reggae is played in 4/4 time
  • Recognisable offbeat rhythms
  • Staccato chords played by a guitar, piano or both on the offbeats of the measure, often referred to as the skanking
  • The tempo of reggae is usually slower than ska and rocksteady, approximately 60 to 90 bpm
  • Heavy use of syncopation
  • A Melodic Bass lines which plays a dominant role in reggae music
  • Simple chord progressions
  • Vocal call and response phrases
  • Horn sections are frequently used in reggae, often playing introductions and counter-melodies
  • The toasting vocal style is unique to reggae, originating when DJs improvised spoken introductions to songs
  • Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism in its lyrics, although many reggae songs discuss lighter, more personal subjects, such as love and socializing


Technology and Production:

  • The bass sound is thick and heavy, and equalised so the upper frequencies are removed and the lower frequencies emphasised.
  • The snare drum is often tuned very high to give it a timbales-type sound
  • The horn section is sometimes produced with punchier, louder phrases for a more up-tempo and aggressive sound.
  • Extensive use of the Delay effect


Stylistic Influences:

  • Rhythm and Blues (R&B)
  • Jazz
  • Mento
  • Calypso
  • African and Latin American music


Sources and resources:
Reggae on wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggae

Ska on wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ska

Dub on wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dub_(music)



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