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Stomp Stomp Clap
February 6, 2019
Was the "stomp stomp clap" rhythm a thing prior to "We Will Rock You" by Queen? Are there any pre-Queen songs or other performances that use it? Thanks.
Media & Arts
(5 answers total)
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Well, you can search on
on February 6
If you search NPR's Fresh Air segments for the interview Terry Gross did with Brian May, he describes in detail how he came up with the rhythm, and how he contrived to amplify the sound of boots stomping. And since he's a Ph.D astrophysicist (really) he describes how he used the audio equipment of the era to loop the phrase.
Fascinating interview overall, and worth listening to in its entirety.
on February 6 [
or more pleasureably listen to Brian May describe the genesis of it (starting at 3:20 in the interview) and how it just popped into his head.
Terri expresses her surprise at how it sounds so ancient and pre-written in our primal brains but...
MAY:[...]And I think, like, most people don't even realize that I wrote it. Most people don't realize that it was written. It's sort of become...
GROSS: (Laughter) That's right.
MAY: ...One of those things that people think was always there. You know, it sort of goes back into prehistory. So in a way, that's the best compliment you could have for a song.
GROSS: Well, I think, you know, that's - if people don't even realize it was written, it's in part because it almost sounds like an old-school cheerleader cheer, you know...
MAY: Yeah. It's become a part of the fabric of life.
GROSS: ....Because of that stomp, stomp, clap thing and because it's a chant.
MAY: That's right. Well, the stomp, stomp, clap thing - yeah, people think it was always there, but actually, it wasn't. And I don't know how it got into my head.
on February 6 [
I think May is being a bit disingenuous here, or honestly mistaken. His intro is not that dissimilar from that of John Lennon's background beat for "Give Peace a Chance", with May's stomp-part being more definitely doubled, as opposed to the echo-y barely heard stomp part of Lennon's (who freely admitted to taking the stomp-claps from an encounter with Israeli soldiers singing some sort of training song.)
on February 7 [
wouldn't it be an anapest?
At any rate Brian May is being disingenuous. This is a super-old form. In 4/4 time you'd just write it something like quaver, quaver, crotchet, whole rest, quaver quaver crotchet: ♫ ♩ [rest] ♫ ♩
It occurs particularly in marches and May probably learned it in school. I'll see if I can dig up a specific piece of music, but it's so common it might be hard to search.
on February 7 [
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