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Breaks 'n' Beats

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  • Breaks 'n' Beats

    A friend is struggling with these terms at the moment. Not the cleverest of chaps and I've explained it the best way I can, but he is still scratching his noodle.

    Can anyone here share some thoughts and some great examples of tracks that I could play to help him. I know that he is a "lurker" on the board, so hopefully without embarrassment he will spot this thread.

    I basically said a break is where you could stop and start another track or play around and edit the track, beats speaks for itself. He's starting an amateur radio station on t'internet, but that is the part is above me though, not technologically minded. Think it's the age.

    Cheers, Tony
    oddball - odd-ball n. informal. A person regarded as eccentric

  • #2
    A 'break' is essentially a passage in a record where one instrument goes it alone which, in hip hop language, basically means drums and nothing else.
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    • #3
      So I was wrong as well, oh well learnt something today if nothing else. No wonder he was confused. Cheers, Tony

      I will dig out some library records for him over the weekend to have a listen to.
      oddball - odd-ball n. informal. A person regarded as eccentric

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      • #4
        yep, they can be one and the same thing in hip-hop parlance....

        a "break" is what's come to be known as the sampleable bit of the record. the part that dj's used to extend with two copies to keep the crowd dancing. the 'exciting' bit of the record, i guess.

        but i guess maybe you're looking for a musician's definition from your description?

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        • #5
          I'd say an "open break" is just the drums i.e. "beats" -

          whereas most "breaks" usually contain other elements in the groove - horn hiffs or hammond stabs or vocal yelps, etc. :- generally loop-able passages - that Djs would repeat with the doubles on the decks.

          that's my definition, my definition ....

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          • #6
            and in musicians terms a break could be a fill or a solo, not necessarily 'open'...

            got confusing years ago on DJ message boards/usenet groups etc because house djs started referring to 'breakdowns' (i.e. sections when the beat stops) as 'breaks', the foooools

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            • #7
              I Thought the break was like the middle eight of the song where it changes a bit maybe some instruments drop out or maybe the drummer goes off alone.
              beats is just beats alone same as open break.
              instagram.com/vinylhoard

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              • #8
                in hip hop terms, for me the break is as described above, the 'solo' section, usually the drums, which the dj extends for the dancers on the floor.

                but i would define a 'beat' as an instrumental track made by a producer, sampling a break or two and adding other elements, chopping them up or looping them into a rhythm, over which the mcs rhyme. hence the terms 'beatmaker' for producer.

                but the two are often conflated, hence 'beatdigger', one who searches for drumbreaks and other sounds in order to make beats...
                sophisticated and coarse

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                • #9
                  the problem with this - is there is no completely right or wrong answer.

                  If we're talking about the "Ultimate Breaks and Beats" LPs - which really spawned the original labels, then the two terms can easily be interchangeable.

                  If a loop has nice drums underneath it - or if it is just drums on their own - I suppose you could call it either a "break" or "a beat".


                  If you use Flash or Jazzy Jay's DJ style as the obvious examples of the original "deejaying the breaks" type of action - then a lot of the stuff they double up with is not "just drums" / "open breaks" - but more of an instrumental riff of a bar - or twelve!

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                  • #10
                    that's it exactly - there really isn't a textbook definition. and the meaning of the phrases vary according to where they're being used, eg hip-hop, house, etc.

                    maybe someone should offer the definitive guide(s), including possible uses, and then lobby the oxford english dictionary for inclusion, thus avoiding further confusion.. and generations of torment in the future

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                    • #11
                      I'm loving this, particularly as there is no specific way of defining this. My friend has contacted me to ask if I saw the thread and then said I started it, and he is reading it with much interest. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far !
                      oddball - odd-ball n. informal. A person regarded as eccentric

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Si Cheeba
                        the problem with this - is there is no completely right or wrong answer.

                        If we're talking about the "Ultimate Breaks and Beats" LPs - which really spawned the original labels, then the two terms can easily be interchangeable.

                        If a loop has nice drums underneath it - or if it is just drums on their own - I suppose you could call it either a "break" or "a beat".


                        If you use Flash or Jazzy Jay's DJ style as the obvious examples of the original "deejaying the breaks" type of action - then a lot of the stuff they double up with is not "just drums" / "open breaks" - but more of an instrumental riff of a bar - or twelve!
                        Yeah, totally - as far as I know 'break' is a jazz term where one instrument takes the lead (while still backed by the others, usually) for a certain number of bars. What I meant is that 'break' in hip-hop/sampling is the drums taking the lead, rather than anything else. So, normally, break means drum break not, say, trumpet break.
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                        • #13
                          Only Vinylism has mentioned the magic word. It’s a dancefloor term. It’s a bit of music that means you stop just bobbing up and down and go for yours. That’s why they’re called B (for break)-Boys. The DJs tried to extend the dancers breaks.

                          If you can't windmill to it it's not a break, it's a sample or a beat.
                          Vardy.....¡¡¡PELIGRO!!!

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                          • #14
                            But what is a "break beat" then??????????
                            Or a "beat break"??????

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Headless mermaid
                              But what is a "break beat" then??????????
                              Or a "beat break"??????
                              A 'break beat' is a beat made from one or more breaks.
                              A 'beat break' is a break consisting of just a beat.


                              Maybe
                              FunkyDown
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