My brother-in-law was recently reading my blog - I'm not sure what took him so long - but he read my profile and thought it was funny that I used the word "riff". Now he apparently pictures me jamming on the guitar every time he thinks of it and cracks up. :) I really need to get a guitar and take some lessons to show him I'm serious. In the meantime, I looked up the definition of "riff". I knew the main idea but wasn't sure how to articulate it. Here is the definition, although I'm still not sure I can articulate it. This is from Wikipedia:
In music, a riff is an ostinato figure: a repeated chord progression, pattern, refrain or melodic figure, often played by the rhythm section instruments or solo instrument, that forms the basis or accompaniment of a musical composition (though they are most often found in rock music, Latin, funk and jazz).
This defintion made a little more sense to me, also from Wikipedia: Rikky Rooksby (2002, p.6-7) states that "A riff is a short, repeated, memorable musical phrase, often pitched low on the guitar, which focuses much of the energy and excitement of a rock song."
So, on that note, I've started a list my favorite riffs. :) And yes, I will use this word as much as possible when I'm around my brother-in-law now. :)
And again, these are in no particular order.
1. Iron Man, Black Sabbath
2. Sweet Child of Mine, Guns-N-Roses
3. Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple
4. Kashmir, Led Zeppelin
5. Walk This Way, Aerosmith
6. Enter Sandman, Metallica
7. Thunderstruck, AC/DC
8. Back in Black, AC/DC
9. Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin
10. Whole Lotta Love, Led Zeppelin
I know there are lots more out there - feel free to share your favorites!