Ska is style of music that developed in Jamaica in the 1950s as a precursor to Reggae. It has an easily recognisable style, characterised by bars made up of four triplets, with a definitive guitar chop on the offbeat. This is called an upstroke or skank. Ska music is typically quick, upbeat and exciting – made for dancing – featuring horns (commonly trumpet, saxophone, and trombone) that take the lead and follow the skank, as well as piano or keyboard that emphasises the walking bass line. Drums tend to keep 4/4 time, but the 3rd beat of each 4-triplet phrase is accented by the bass drum and snare. Ska incorporates elements of traditional mento and calypso music, alongside American Jazz and R&B.
Modern SKA the sound was pioneered in the late 1970s by UK bands such as The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat and early Madness.