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What does the term vamp mean?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by John K., Jan 18, 2003.

  1. I was looking through my Jamerson book and I looked at the transcript for Going To A Go-Go played by John Entwistle and I saw the sentence "Vamp used on verses & choruses". The word is also used in the My Guy transcription done by James Jamerson Jr. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

    And sorry mods if this is in the wrong place. I couldn't decide between GI and Misc.
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    From Dictionary.com

    Vamp: n

    A woman who uses her sex appeal to entrap and exploit men.


    Seriously, it's a repeated section, that's "open" to the number of times repeated. The way it's meant there is to keep playing the same thing, over and over again.
  3. Thanks Pacman.

    Now back to groovin'...
  4. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I was playing in the pit orcehestra for a school musical, and one piece was a steady jazz thing, and the song for me was one line long, 4 measures. And it said "Vamp 40 times". SOOOO hard to keep count. Luckily, I could tell where the end was from the sax parts. Killer groove though...
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Vamp means to repeat a short one or two bar phrase "until ready." A vamp is played by the accompaniment until the soloist or instrumentalist is ready to begin. A vamp can last quite awhile in some circumstances.

    An example would be when a singer is introducing a song to her audience, maybe telling some background about the song or who wrote it or why it is meaningful for the singer. Meanwhile, let's say, the pianist is playing a repeated vamp that sets the mood or tempo and possibly hints at what the song is. Or the vamp could be played by the bass and drums to set the tempo.

    When the singer is ready to begin the actual song, she may nod at the musicians and then they start the song.

    If you see the movie "Chicago" you will hear many vamps to music in the show. In that movie the background soundtrack vamps serve as a transition from spoken dialogue to a song and dance number. "Cell Block Tango" was a particularly well done vamp as the throbbing tango-like tempo begin very subtly, then built intensity until the song actually began.
  6. reminds me of the infamous Britney Spears swearing backstage-that-accidentally-went-out live incident-
    "I thought they were gonna f****** vamp!" etc.
  7. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Is that what Britney said?
  8. check out "Britney Spears- swearing in Rio" on WinMX/Morpheus etc. :D
  9. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    LOL, I just listened to that... heh, she put her foot in it there. So much for her image :D

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