Stab (music)

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In music, a stab is a single staccato note or chord that adds dramatic punctuation to a composition. Stabs are usually provided by horns (real or synthesized), thus the term horn stab, or an orchestral sample and usually occur on a 1-beat. Stabs are used in a wide variety of music genres including jazz, rock, classical, funk, freestyle, trap, EDM, and ska. See orchestra hit for audio samples. There is no standardized notation symbol to specifically indicate a stab. They are most commonly notated as a short note value with a staccato dot, sometimes with the verbal marking "stab".

There's a rule of thumb in funk music that says short sounds are better than long: thus the drier the guitar hit, the tighter the horn stab, the slappier the bass, the more clipped the clavinet etc, the better. It's the bits of silence in-between these short events that builds anticipation for the next one - the tension/release principle in rhythmic form.

Stabs are also used in electronic music in the form of very short snippets of a song used as rhythmic accents in a new composition. Early breakbeat hardcore, such as Prodigy's "Fire", and hip hop in general made use of stabs.[citation needed]

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  1. ^ Lodder, Steve (2005). Stevie Wonder, p.106. ISBN 978-0-87930-821-6.