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The guitar riff is the foundation of so much of the rock canon. It’s that catchy repeating hook, often played down low on the guitar, that draws you into the song and then forms the basis (most of the time) for the rest of the song. Technically, a riff is known as an ostinato, a concept that goes back centuries. Ravel’s “Bolero” is an example of a classical music riff. According to my diligent research, the word “riff” may have been derived from the phrase “rhythmic figure.” Jazz great Charlie Parker is credited with popularizing the word with the release of a composition entitled “Thriving on Riff” in 1945.