Call and Response

Call and response is a musical technique that fosters interaction and engagement in various musical traditions and cultures. It is characterized by a leader, often referred to as the “caller,” delivering a musical phrase or vocal line, and another individual or group, the “responders,” providing a direct and often contrasting musical reply. This technique is found across a wide range of musical styles and is an integral part of cultural and musical expression.



  • In African music, call and response is integral to the rhythmic and communal aspects of drumming ensembles, with a lead drummer initiating a rhythmic pattern that is echoed and built upon by others.

  • In gospel music, call and response creates an interactive and spiritually uplifting experience, with the congregation responding vocally to a preacher or lead singer’s phrases.

  • In blues music, it is common for the lead singer to engage in call and response with an instrument, such as a guitar or harmonica, resulting in a conversational and emotive musical style.

  • In classical music, call and response can be found in various forms, such as the antiphonal style of composition where choirs or instruments alternate in a responsive manner.

  • In the realm of electronic dance music (EDM), artists like Skrillex often employ the call and response technique between different synthesizers and vocals, creating dynamic and engaging musical dialogues that are a hallmark of the genre.



For further reading, you can visit the Call and Response page on Wikipedia.