Funk• Funk was a very distinctive style that used polyrhythms, syncopated bass lines, and short vocal phrases with a considerable amount of repetition of those rhythm patterns and phrases.
Funk• Funk vocals were often sung in a work- song style with a conversational delivery.• The first examples of funk were recorded by the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown.
Funk• As we discussed in Chapter 7, Brown’s soul style was deeply rooted in black gospel music.• His funk style, however, was influenced by polyrhythmic music straight from Africa.
Funk• Brown’s backup musicians maintained a constant rhythmic accompaniment using polyrhythms among the bass, drums, and horn section while still having a clear accent on the downbeat.
Funk• Horns were used to punctuate the rhythm but not to play melodic lines.• Both the bass and guitar parts involved either repeated riffs or rhythmic pulsations.
Funk• Chord changes were generally minimal.• The recording that introduced this style, “Out of Sight” (1964), was followed by a more successful recording in a similar style, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (1965).
Funk• Although the blues chord progression was used in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” other recordings in Brown’s new “proto-funk” style maintained a single chord for long sections of the music, drawing attention to the rhythms instead of the chords or melody.
Funk• As an example of the types of polyrhythms used in Brown’s recordings, the following notation shows how the four way polyrhythms were used in “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
Funk• Only the rhythms are notated—not the pitches for the horns and bass.
Funk• This new style of James Brown’s had such an appealing, hypnotic sound that it was copied by other groups.