This chapter will discuss empathic aspects of the way that groove occurs in Jamaican popular music (hereafter ‘JPM’), focusing initially on the stylistically specific relationship between the drums and the bass (as well as other instruments in the ensemble). The scope is then broadened to include the ways in which groove changes when a dub mix of a pre-existing recording (known as a ‘riddim’ in the terminology of JPM) is created. By taking Christopher Small’s (1998) ideas around musicking into account, the empathic understanding that exists between instrumentalists can be extended to include the relationship between performers and listeners, whether in the context of live performance or recorded music. This way of thinking is relevant when considering the impact that the dub mixer’s subsequent actions have on the original groove that is encapsulated in a given riddim. In dub reggae, the sound engineer who creates the dub mix can thus be seen as a vital musicking participant in the distinctive construction of groove, a participant whose empathic relationships – both with other musicians and also stylistic convention – are akin to those found amongst instrumentalists, but which additionally incorporate a significant technological dimension.
Oliver, R. (2017). In dub conference : empathy, groove and technology in Jamaican popular music. In Music and empathy. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge