- Lick (music)
popular musicgenres such as rock music, a "lick" is "a stock pattern or phrase" harv|Middleton|1990|p=137 consisting of a short phrase, or series of notes that is used in solos and melodic lines. The term is most often used by rock musicians who play the guitar. Licks in rock and roll are often used through a formula, and variations technique in which variants of simple, stock ideas are blended and developed during the solo.
jazz band, a lick may be performed during an improvised solo, either during an accompanied solo chorus or during an unaccompanied solo break. Jazz licks are usually original short phrases which can be altered so that they can be used over a song's changing harmonic progressions.
A lick is different from the related concept of a
riffin that riffs can also include repeated chord progressions. Licks are usually associated with single-note melodic lines rather than chord progressions. However, like riffs, licks can be used as the basis of an entire song. Single-line riffs or licks used as the basis of classical music pieces are called ostinatos. Contemporary jazz writers also use riff- or lick-like ostinatos in modal music and Latin jazz.
A lick can be a hook, if the lick meets the definition of a hook: "a
musical idea, a passage or phrase, that is believed to be appealing and make the song stand out", and "catch the ear of the listener" (Covach 2005, p.71). A lick may be incorporated into a fill, which is a short passage played in the pause between phrases of a melody.
*Covach, John. "Form in Rock Music: A Primer", in Stein, Deborah (2005). "Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis". New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.
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