Musician Slag/Jargon you Ought to Know

July 22nd, 2015

When you’re one of those wide-eyed observers, eager to catch of glimpse of behind the scenes activities at a concert, artist talk can seen really fascinating, mostly because of the cryptic turn their conversations take. All of us are familiar with terms like ‘take five’ and ‘groupies’ but when they start saying things like ‘take the cuts’ and ‘play the ink,’ we go blank. So, to help you feel a little involved and educated when you’re in the presence of these musical geniuses, we’ve listed out a couple of commonly used terms with their meanings. So, even though you can’t participate in their conversations (obviously!) you’ll at least know what they are talking about.



Image courtesy: gospelmatters

Play the ink: To play the original music notations on the chart instead of as per the markings the musicians might have made during rehearsals or otherwise.

Vamp till cue: To continue playing what you’re playing until a cue is given to do something else. A musician might play the same section over and over until cued in or launch into an extended solo. This cue could be acted out by making a circular motion with your finger to signify repetition.

Roadies: A relatively outdated term, it refers to crew members who travel with the band and are paid by the band. Other terms used to address them include ‘crew members’ and ‘tech team’

Line check: Is a process performed by technicians where microphones, amps and speakers are checked to see whether they have power and are sending and receiving signals.

360 music deal: This means that the record label will receive a percentage of profits not only from CDs and digital download sales, but also from concert ticket profits, merchandise sales, endorsement deals and anything else that makes use of an artist’s brand or music.

Headliner: The artist/ band that performs last at a concert. Thy occupy this prestigious place in the lineup because of their popularity and crowd-pulling power.

Opener: The openers perform just before the featured/headlining band/artist to warm up the crowd.

Set list: This is the list containing titles of the songs an artist/band will play at a concert.

Backline: A few years back, this term referred only to audio amplification equipment. In recent years however, it has come to include instruments used by artists as well, like guitars, keyboards, drum kits, etc. Artists usually carry only their personal instrument and rent backline gear at the venue.

Well, so now if you happen hear an artist throw a couple of these terms, you’ll exactly what he or she is talking about.


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