I am struck by the particular sound of the piano in the opening theme to season two of The Newsroom, but cannot seem to find words to describe it.

Is there a name for the doubling or bouncing that gives it the quick sound? Is each "bounce" being played separately, or is the piano double-striking?

  • It doesn't have any special name - the player is just repeating the same note or chord. Composers have been using this on keyboard instruments for centuries - see youtube.com/watch?v=HLuYLN_k4lA
    – user19146
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


Technically, this would be called a "measured tremolo." It's a little odd to use that term for a keyboard, since most piano players think that a "tremolo" means alternating two notes. But it doesn't have to. String players are used to seeing a melody written with one or more slashes through each note stem; that means finger each note for the given duration, but "activate" the note by constantly moving the bow back and forth ("tremolando") at a constant speed. That's how I would notate what the piano part is doing in the example you gave.

An "unmeasured" tremolo (three or more slashes) means do this as fast as possible, regardless of the tempo of the work.



Just 'repeated notes' I think. This effect is often achieved by applying an echo effect to the recording or by programming it into the sound on a synthesiser. In this case I suspect it's simply being played that way. But don't be too sure - the people who compose and construct today's commercial music are very ingenious, and very good at disguising their artifice.

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