The college teacher of rock music is fortunate to have excellent pedagogical contributions covering topics such as form, melody, and harmony. One central feature of rock music that has yet to receive pedagogical treatment is the riff, which J. Bradford Robinson defines as follows: "In jazz, blues, and popular music, a short melodic ostinato... The blues-influenced rock bands of the late 1960s and 70s and subsequent heavy metal groups often used riffs [to] confirm the tonic throughout the verses... Riffs were also an integral part of funk and other forms of dance music."
"A Pedagogical Approach to Minor Pentatonic Riffs in Rock Music,"
Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy: Vol. 23, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcollections.lipscomb.edu/jmtp/vol23/iss1/3