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"Background (music)" redirects here. For other uses, see Structural level.
A typical accompaniment pattern of a Mozart concerto or aria. About this sound Play 

In music, accompaniment is the art of playing along with an instrumental or vocal soloist or ensemble, often known as the lead, in a supporting manner. The accompaniment can be performed by a single performer—a pianist, organist, or guitarist—or it can be played by an entire ensemble, such as a symphony orchestra or string quartet (in the classical genre), a backing band or rhythm section (in popular music), or even a big band or organ trio (in jazz). It may be considered the background to the foreground melody.

The term accompaniment also describes the composed music, arrangement, or improvised performance that is played to back up the soloist. In most Classical styles, the accompaniment part is written by the composer and provided to the performers in the form of sheet music. In jazz and popular music, the backing band or rhythm section may improvise the accompaniment based on standard forms, as in the case of a small blues band or a jazz band playing a 12-bar blues progression, or the band may play from a written arrangement in a jazz big band or in a musical theater show.


The accompaniment part usually provides the harmonic background and the rhythmic structure for the piece of music or song. The harmonic background is usually provided by one or more instruments that play a chord progression. Instruments commonly used to play chords, also called harmonic accompaniment, include the acoustic or electric guitar, piano, organ and electronic keyboards. An accompaniment can also be provided by instruments that normally play the melody, such as the violin.

The accompaniment often includes a bass instrument (bass guitar, upright bass, etc.) that plays the bass notes of the harmonic progression. The rhythmic structure of the piece or song is typically provided by drums or percussion in most types of popular music, jazz, and blues. In Classical music styles, many types of pieces do not include percussion instruments, such as string quartets and organ trios.

In most tonal music the melody and accompaniment are written from and share the same group of pitches, while in much atonal music the melody and accompaniment are chosen from entirely separate groups of pitches, often from different hexachords. Basso continuo is a form of notation used especially in Baroque music accompaniment parts.


Mozart's Piano Sonata, K 545 opening. About this sound Play 

Accompanist is one who plays an accompaniment. A number of classical pianists have found success as accompanists rather than soloists; arguably the best known example is Gerald Moore, well known as a Lieder accompanist. In some American schools, the title collaborative pianist (or collaborative artist) is replacing the title accompanist.

The term accompanist also refers to a musician (typically a pianist) who plays for singers, dancers, and other performers at an audition or rehearsal—but doesn't necessarily participate in the ensemble that plays for the final performance.

Accompaniment figure[edit]

An accompaniment figure is a musical gesture used repeatedly in an accompaniment, such as:

Notated accompaniment may be indicated obbligato (obliged) or ad libitum (at one's pleasure).

Dialogue accompaniment[edit]

Dialogue accompaniment is a form of call and response in which the lead and accompaniment alternate, the accompaniment playing during the rests of the lead and providing a drone or silence during the main melody or vocal.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Traum, Happy (1974). Fingerpicking Styles For Guitar, p.12. Oak Publications. ISBN 0-8256-0005-7. Hardcover (2005): ISBN 0-8256-0343-9.
  2. ^ van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music, p.320. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-316121-4.

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of accompaniment at Wiktionary

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accompaniment — Please support Wikipedia.
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Easy Patterns for Piano Accompaniment - Play and Sing - Chords 101

http://fastpianolessons.com for the Chords 101 course and other lessons! Learn how to accompany yourself in under 3 minutes. These patterns are REALLY easy. ...

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J.Pachelbel Canon - violin 1- Piano Accompaniment -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------...

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Oskar Rieding, Concerto violin Op.35 mov.1 - Accompaniment

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3837 news items

Glens Falls Post-Star (blog)
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 08:22:13 -0700

Copyright 2014 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. View (0) Comments. No Comments Posted. RULES FOR COMMENTING ONLINE. 1) Comments must be contained to the topic ...
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 03:52:30 -0700

We can't tell whether this dining dog appreciates the musical accompaniment this cockatiel is providing. On the one hand, the dog doesn't gobble up the bird, snarl or bark at it, or make the slightest effort to make it go away. On the other hand, the ...
Tiffin Advertiser Tribune
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

August accompaniment. August 18, 2014. The Advertiser-Tribune. Save |. "The Late Show" band provides the music during a performance at Hedges-Boyer Park Sunday evening. Article Photos. PHOTO BY STEVE WILLIAMS Members include (from left) Kevin ...
Broadway World
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:56:38 -0700

A screening of the silent film, Wings, accompanied by live organ music will take place Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 7:30pm as a kick-off to the Armed Forces Parade on Monday, August 11th and the Atlantic City Airshow on Wednesday, August 13th. This event ...
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 02:28:18 -0700

Terre des hommes (Tdh), concerned about the protection given to children on the move, organised a workshop on Wednesday, 16th July on the added value of protective accompaniment for children in situations of mobility. Two new publications have been ...
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:37:30 -0700

Remember when Chris Pratt brilliantly rapped Eminem's verse in Dr. Dre's 'Forgot About Dre' without the help of music? Well, thanks to Youtuber treytech, Pratt's little ditty has now been synced to the original song and video. The video starts off with ...
The Newark Advocate
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:15:00 -0700

Local politicians bolstered the parade ranks, along with musical accompaniment by the parade's sole marching band, the Licking Valley High School Marching Panthers. “If it weren't for labor unions, most of the workers wouldn't have the benefits we have ...
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 10:26:15 -0700

Brown rice is a nutty accompaniment to the subtle, delicate shellfish. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add 2 cloves minced garlic plus a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. Add scallops, seasoned with salt and pepper, and saute until golden on each side.

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