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File:Rolling Stones band 1965.jpg
In the Rolling Stones, shown here in 1965, the rhythm section consisted of electric guitar, electric bass, and drums, who provided the beat and chords for lead singer Mick Jagger to sing over.

A rhythm section is a group of musicians within an ensemble who provide the underlying rhythm and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic reference for the rest of the band. Many of the rhythm section instruments, such as keyboards and guitars, play the chord progression upon which the song is based.

The term is common in modern small musical ensembles, such as bands that play jazz,<ref name="HDict">Randel, Don Michael (1999). "Rhythm section" in The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians; p. 560. ISBN 0-674-00978-9</ref> country, blues, and rock. In modern rock music, a rhythm guitarist specializes in rhythmic and chordal playing (as opposed to melodic and leading), sometimes simply repeating quaver (eighth-note) power chords, or strumming open chords.

A typical rhythm section comprises a keyboard instrument and/or one or more guitars, a double bass or electric bass (depending on the style of music), and drums (usually acoustic, but in some post-1980s styles, the drums may be electronic).<ref name="HDict" /> The guitars may be acoustic or electric, depending on the style of music.


Rhythm section sections
Intro  Instruments  Roles  Components  Musical roles  Variants  Other variants  References  

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