Sunday, July 23, 2006

Great moments in rock and roll: the punch

The punch is a single-note (or sometimes several quick notes) played for emphasis by an instrument that otherwise has little or no role in the song. Often, it is used to mark the beginning or the end of a section.

Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"
The trumpets' two-note attack introduces the chorus (1:25), wakes us up from the sparse instrumentation of the verses.

Elton John - "Honky Cat"
Heard throughout the chorus, especially at the beginning of the chorus (0:57), when the tenor saxophones play a two-note motif followed quickly by a single accented trumpet note.

The Beatles - "I'm Looking Through You"
The verse is just acoustic guitar, bass and drums, when bam! the end of the verse is punctuated by several organ chords over guitar riffage. (0:28)

TLC - "Waterfalls"
More subtle than the two examples above. A single trumpet note with a hint of glissando introduces each verse. (0:34, 1:40)