A riff at the begining of a jazz piece. Usually this will foreshadow a theme that will not be heard until several sections later, or that the improvations center around.

The "vamp" was also a stereotype frequently portrayed in films of the 1910s and 20s. The first vamp film was A Fool There Was in 1915, starring the prolific vamp typecast actress Theda Bara.

The vamp's glamorous eroticism and destructive sexuality forecast the femme fatale of classic film noir, though vamps were inherently evil, and often supernatural to boot, as opposed to the femmes fatale, who were troubled, but still human. Vamps were oversexed, conscience-less homewreckers, luring weak men away from girlfriends, wives and families. While technically villians, vamps were nonetheless vicariously thrilling and liberating to watch.

As a visual stereotype, vamps often moved via the "vamp walk": shoulders down, knees bent, head facing in the direction perpendicular to movement, torso pointed diagonally and bobbing up and down. Vamp characters were usually not American, and were typically played by immigrants, particuarly Eastern Europeans. This led to associations of exoticism, and revealing costumes sometimes designed to evoke Turkish harems, Egyptian queens, or Gypsies. When in Western dress, vamps wore simple, slinky dresses with extravagantly long trains. They smoked cigarettes in long, elegant holders. And they wore very heavy eye makeup. Think of Man Ray's "Tears" photograph and you may have an idea of how heavy the eye makeup I'm talking about was.

Today it's easy to laugh at the image of a woman walking diagonally with her ass pointed out, and wearing mascara so thick that it forms visible spheres at the tips of her eyelashes. In fact, there is some debate as to whether the caricatured depiction of vamp sensuality made it a stronger or weaker threat to Victorian prudishness. But vamps really did smolder. The restrictive Hayes code of 1930 greatly reduced Hollywood's output of vamp films, but early Jean Harlow and Barbara Stanwyk films remained as vampish as could be achieved within the code.1

1Thanks to arcanamundi for post-Hayes vamp film info. She strongly recommends Babyface and Red-Headed Woman.



Musical theatre is a curious creature. It combines composed music, which is mathematically precise—the value of a quarter note is the same no matter how many times you play it—and Theatre, whose practicioners can be counted on to read each line slightly differently from night to night. Obviously, some sort of kludge would be necessary to combine the two, and so the vamp was born. Let's first look at how a vamp might look in a musician's score, and then talk about how it works.

         /                                                  \
        /    Vamp (voice last x)                             \
       /                                                      \
      | |                                        ___         | |     /QQQ\
  2   | | .           /                         \QQQ/      . | |     |            ...
  4   | | .           \                         |          . | |     |
      | |                                       |            | |
       \   37                                                 /   38
        \                                                    /
         \                                                  /
                  SARAH:                      When                 you            ...

Okay. As a musician, your first warning sign that this is a vamp are the big, stylized brackets and the words "Vamp (voice last x)." This means that when you arrive at measure 37, rather than going on as usual, you keep repeating the measure (the quarter rest and quarter-note C).

This measure will repeat until the character named Sarah has finished her dialogue (or has reached the correct location on the stage, or finished opening the letter, or any other of the thousand things that actors have to do) and sings the word "When." ("Voice" in the context of vamping notation always means people singing. If the composer means people talking, it will say "dialogue.") The word "when" will come at the same time as the quarter-note C, because the word is printed directly underneath the note.

When this happens, rather than repeat back to the beginning of measure 37, proceed on to measure 38 and play the quarter-note D, which will correspond with Sarah singing the word "you."

Of course, it's rarely as simple as that. More often than not, only the conductor's score will have the actual dialogue written in underneath the score (as I have done), leaving the other musicians in the dark.

Also, keep in mind that traditionally, the musicians face away from the stage, meaning that only the conductor can see both the orchestra and the stage. This means that the poor conductor is responsible for cueing the musicians and the actors (and, when there are serious personnel shortages, playing the piano). so sometimes the cue you're looking for (a raise of the hand, or a large head movement if the conductor's hands are otherwise occupied) will get lost in the shuffle. Also, the vamp instructions won't always be as clear as the example; sometimes it will just say "vamp until ready" (Ready for what? Who knows?), leaving you even more at the mercy of the conductor's cueing. But this is what rehearsals are for, and with luck, the orchestra can get all of these questions cleared up long in advance of opening night.

One more thing you may run into: Due to whatever staging decisions the director/choreographer has made, an amount of time (to get ready, to get through dialogue, to make an entrance, &c) that the composer thought was reasonable turns out not to be. This forces the actors to rush in order to make their song cue in time, and is guaranteed to cause ill will all around.

If this is the case, the conductor, with the blessing of the director or choreographer, can write in a new vamp, creating more time for the actors to get ready. If this happens, the conductor will say something like, "Okay, so we're going to vamp on measures 45 through 49 to give him time to get all the way downstage. Watch me for the cue." You would then write this in your score (with the brackets before measure 45 and after 49, and the instructions), and then everyone should be happy.

This, of course, is why any sort of theatre more advanced than elementary school uses a pit orchestra, rather than pre-recorded music. Simply too many things can happen to get the performers and the tape out of sync, and having a real, live person in charge of the music allows more flexibility.

Source: my own experience as a first-time member of a pit orchestra, and my need to get up to speed very quickly on things like vamps.

Metal Gear Solid 2 : Characters: Vamp

Codename: Vamp
Real Name: Unknown
Occupation: Dead Cell Member
Nationality: Romanian
Weapon of Choice: Knife
Played by: Phil La Marr

Spoilers Ahead.

Vamp is a founding member of the "peace" organisation turned terrorist faction Dead Cell, and one of the main characters in the video game Metal Gear Solid 2 for the Playstation 2. He is the first member of Dead Cell that Raiden meets in the Big Shell, after witnessing him tear through half a Navy Seals squad on his own. Vamp is seemingly unstoppable, with heightened senses, physical prowess and excellent knife skills, and for some reason just refuses to die (much like Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid). Throughout the course of the game, Vamp gets cut, shot, and blown up a few times, and STILL doesn't die (watch the ending on the street, and look for a taxi with the zoom button, and you'll be pleasantly surprised).

Vamp was born in Romania (the exact date is unknown), and while he was a child he was trapped in a church after a terrorist bombing (possibly the same one Peter Stillman couldn't disarm which cost him his leg), and was trapped under piles of rubble, being wounded badly. He miraculously stayed alive by drinking the blood of his dead parents for nourishment, and this experience scarred him mentally for the rest of his life. Funnily enough, Vamp was not given his codename because he was a vampire - it was because he was a bi-sexual.

Vamp shares a very personal relationship with Fortune, as he was once her father's lover (Commander Scott Dolph, from the tanker episode). He calls her "queen", and when Vamp gets shot in the head, Fortune breaks down emotionally, as if he had died (which he hadn't, waking up seconds later). In a way, Vamp has become Fortune's surrogate father, as Commander Scott Dolph was killed by Revolver Ocelot in the tanker episode.

As one of the most unusual characters in a Metal Gear game, Vamp is surprisingly one of the most believable in Metal Gear Solid 2. The idea that he is a vampire is never force-fed to the player, but is hinted at and pretty much becomes obvious (obvious examples are the name, the scene where Vamp sucks blood out of a Navy Seal, his elongated canine teeth) to the player right from the beginning. in a way, he is the Psycho mantis of Metal Gear Solid 2 - unusual, yet believable in a sense. He wears a brown trenchcoat and tight leather pants, with no shirt. On his chest he has a number of large cuts, symbolising the number of people he has killed in a day. The choice to use Phil La Marr was pefect, who captures Vamps elegance, cunning and sheer ferocity perfectly, and is a damn sight better voice actor than some of the others (*cough* Fortune *cough*).

An interesting note is that Vamp was originally going to be a female, but was soon changed to a man early in pre-production. Also Vamp inherited a few things from another character called the Chinaman (who was eventually scrapped). Foe example the chinaman was going to be able to walk on water and run up walls, which Vamp later inherited. Also, the room where you were to fight the Chinaman was given to Vamp for his first fight.

In my opinion no-one else in MGS2 beats him in sheer coolness, standing out like a bloody thumb. His very presence is chilling right down to the bone, and is a much better creation than say Fatman.

Boss Strategy

Vamp Fight 1

Vamp is a somewhat challenging boss at first since he moves a lot quicker than any other boss in the game. The problem is that normal guns don't hurt him, he simply dodges them most of the time, and the times you can shoot him he's too quick. So you have to use explosive weapons e.g. the Stinger and RBG6. Get a quick shot in at the start when he's on the water, and he'll jump into the water (DO NOT FOLLOW HIM, THE WATER'S EXTREMELY LOW BUOYANCY WON'T LET YOU BACK UP). You can try to hit him from outside the water, but it's hard, so don't bother. Once he jumps out he'll start to bounce around the room throwing knives. Take this time to start shooting out the lights in the room (I'll tell you why later). If you can, take a shot at him. He wil jump in the water again, then jump out and do a breif pose on the uper side of the room. Take this time to shoot him, and he'll jump back into the water. This cycle repeats over and over, so once all the lights are out, shoot him as much as possible with the stinger. Occasionally he may run up to and try to slice you, but if you keep running he will miss you.

After a while he will speed up and start throwing more and more knives at you in quick succession, so basically all you got to do is speed your pace up. He will also throw a knife that moves slower than the others, which pins your shadow to the floor and makes you immobile for a while (unless you shot the lights out like I told you to). After some more shots from the stinger, Vamp will eventually keel over and fall into the water in a pool of his own blood.

Vamp Fight 2

this one is a lot simpler and quicker, as you only have about a minute before Emma dies. Just pop some Pentazemin and shoot Vamp in the head as many as time as you can quickly. Try not to shoot Emma of course, just take your time and Vamp should fall in the ocean after three shots. If you need more Pentazemin, there should be some lying around, but BE QUICK ABOUT IT.

Director: Richard Wenk
Writers: Donald P. Borchers, Richard Wenk

Keith....Chris Makepeace
Vic...Sandy Baron
AJ...Robert Russler
Amaretto...Dedee Pfeiffer
Duncan...Gedde Watanabee
Vlad...Brad Logan
Katrina...Grace Jones

In order to gain admission into a dorky but comfortable 1980s fraternity house, two college boys must hire a stripper. Unfortunately, their quest takes them across to the wrong side of the tracks: to the vampire section of town.

Vamp (1986) is a bad movie, but it's a pretty good bad movie.

It beats the bloated Dusk to Dawn out as the first film to feature a strip club that's really a snack bar for vampires. Of course, one might question whether this premise makes the best foundation for a full-length movie. The story would probably fare better as one part of a horror anthology. Indeed, many an old horror comic features a story where vampires or other beasties set up some business to lure human prey. You can't do to much damage in a few pages of a cheap comic book.

But give a flimsy premise 90 minutes on a screen and it wears terribly thin.

We get some passable proto-Buffy banter between the college students and the vampires, though not nearly enough. Many of the jokes simply fall flat. Gedde Watanabe meanwhile, as a wealthy wannabee out to buy friendship, struggles to convince us that the weak material he's forced to work with is actually funny. I think we all knew guys like this character at some point in our lives. They become annoying on-camera, too.

The film also boasts a little girl vampire, who recalls less Claudia in Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire than the literal ankle biter in Stephen King's early, fun piece, "One for the Road." She's fairly creepy. The late Sandy Baron also manages a memorable turn as the vampire queen's lounge lizard toady.

Jones herself proves the film's real saving Grace. Clad in blue contacts, red wig, body paint, and metal goddess spirals, she performs a dance number that bleeds animal magnetism and raw power. She also gets an effective death scene with memorable vampire make-up. The other vamps, when they bare their fangs, merely look walrus-like.

Against these positive elements, a significant number of negative ones rather heavily weigh. The acting is generally shoddy. Dedee Pfeiffer, as Makepeace's long-lost childhood-girlfriend-turned-stripper, deserves particular note for her Oscar-resistant performance.

And we scarcely could have a bad flick without silly plot contrivances. The vampires can be killed by flame, so naturally the bar's brandy seems to be 90% kerosene. Of course, the bloodsuckers store large barrels of this same highly-flammable stuff in their sleeping quarters.

Naturally, you transmit the sexuality of one hundred thousand matadors.

The preceding non sequitur has been included to give you some idea of the effect the scene transitions in this film have. Seriously, this film has a couple of transitions that rival anything in Un Chien Andalou for sheer incoherence. The College Boys' turn from downtown to the vamp neighborhood plays like a spacetime warp. And the physical relationship among the darkened bar, the brightly-lit sewage systems, and the industrial park where much of this was filmed cannot be determined. Physical layout and transitions do not make sense in this film. One can only assume the editor was intoxicated. Come to think of it, so was I when I first saw this film in the 1980s. Sorry to anyone I may have recommended it to. I enjoyed it much less this second time through.

Fans of vampires and related genres will find Grace Jones' queen vamp appealing. Other sober viewers should pass this one over.

A variation of this review was written some years ago by this author for Bad Movie Night.

An acronym for a chemotherapy treatment made up of the drugs vincristine, amethopterin, 6-mercaptopurine, and prednisone.

From the BioTech Dictionary at http://biotech.icmb.utexas.edu/. For further information see the BioTech homenode.

To pawn any thing. I'll vamp it, and tip you the cole: I'll pawn it, and give you the money. Also to refit, new dress, or rub up old hats, shoes or other wearing apparel; likewise to put new feet to old boots. Applied more particularly to a quack bookseller.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Vamp (?) v. i.

To advance; to travel.



© Webster 1913.

Vamp, n. [OE. vampe, vaumpe, vauntpe, F. avantpied the forefoot, vamp; anat before, fore + pied foot, L. pes. See Advance, Van of an army, and Foot.]


The part of a boot or shoe above the sole and welt, and in front of the ankle seam; an upper.


Any piece added to an old thing to give it a new appearance. See Vamp, v. t.


© Webster 1913.

Vamp, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Vamped (?; 215); p. pr. & vb. n. Vamping.]

To provide, as a shoe, with new upper leather; hence, to piece, as any old thing, with a new part; to repair; to patch; -- often followed by up.

I had never much hopes of your vamped play. Swift.


© Webster 1913.

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