Soca is a descendant of calypso. In the early 1970s, electric guitar and bass were added to the traditional calypso ensemble, and by the '80s most groups were using synthesizers as well. The increasing sophistication of recording technology and the continued competition between groups directed the music toward a more complicated and thought-out musical style that focused on the musical sound rather than the texts. The suitability of the music for dancing, rather than listening, also became an important factor. Around 1970, the term "soca," meaning "soul-calypso," was coined to refer to the new, energetic, and disco-influenced "party" music; hence, party soca. The rhythm is not entirely standardized but its character is captured by a steady bass drumbeat against which a highly syncopated cymbal and snare drum pattern are juxtaposed. As in reggae, the bass line, also syncopated, is particularly important and the bass is often the predominant instrument in the mix. Because of the competitive nature of the music, musicians often dress in elaborate costumes, incorporate a variety of gimmicks, and use stage effects to stand out among their rivals.
Other Styles in Caribbean Traditions