Call & response

A musical dialogue where a phrase is played or sung in direct response to one that precedes it

Sam Blakelock avatar
Written by Sam Blakelock
Updated over a week ago

Call and response is an African musical tradition that made its way into popular music via the blues and gospel spirituals. It can be found today in rock, pop, soul, blues, jazz, and hip-hop. With call and response, a musical statement (the call) is made, and another phrase (the response) follows as a reply – both the call and the response can be sung vocally or played by an instrument.
An example of call and response would be when a blues musician sings a lyric, then immediately follows with a fill or riff on the guitar. For a modern example of call and response in popular music, check out the song 'Bad Bad News' by Leon Bridges.
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