Meaning of wah-wah in English:


Pronunciation /ˈwɑːwɑː/


(also wa-wa)
mass noun
  • 1A musical effect achieved on brass instruments by alternately applying and removing a mute and on an electric guitar by controlling the output from the amplifier with a pedal.

    ‘I always thought it was pulsing wah-wah reverb guitar that made the Whigs sound so Whigs-like.’
    • ‘A little reverb here, a little wah-wah there, it all fits in beautifully allowing the music to drift along at just the right speed.’
    • ‘Solid-body guitars were combined with new sonic modification devices such as distortion boxes and wah-wah pedals.’
    • ‘A melody tumbles from Connors' hands with hints of processing and wah-wah to make a tone that bubbles up from some waterlogged dream.’
    • ‘With their harmony vocals, swirling Hammond organ, and wah-wah guitar, they soon became known as the Beach Boys of hard rock.’
    • ‘Each track seems to be accented with an exotic instrument like the Indian drum, bass conga, Moroccan clay drums, and the wah-wah bass.’
    • ‘Musicians experimented with uniting rock drums with jazz, introducing the wa-wa pedal, and fusing jazz with classical music.’
    • ‘Mick Box stomps his authority all over the guitar parts, wah-wah there, slide here, and as many twenty note a second solos as any heart could desire.’
    • ‘The guitar drenched with wah-wah here does not sound as, in so many cases, the refuge of a band running out of ideas but a perfect addition to an already memorable song.’
    • ‘Even after 30 years, Budd's mighty wah-wah guitar and lounge-lizard electronics still sound cutting-edge groovy.’
    • ‘With Eric Clapton at the summit of his powers on guitar - be it wah-wah, fuzzy, powerchorded or bluesy - the trio never sounded better in their short career.’
    • ‘Multiple vocals, searing wah-wah, unfettered drums; it sounded like four bands bleeding together in an apartment fire, and it was fiercely exciting.’
    • ‘Most tracks are simply heavy rhythmic grooves, adorned with ethnic percussion and wah-wah, with Davis spurting spacey, celestial trumpet shapes over the top.’
    • ‘There's still a hint of that old frigid bleakness, and a couple of Velvet Underground lullabies, but the core of this album is infused with strings, brass, wah-wah guitar and an organ.’
    • ‘‘Streetworm’ too invokes a slightly later sound, and there even seem to be some wah-wah trumpet bleats forcing their way in at the song's edges.’
    • ‘A minute into the track, Avi Bortnick's choppy wah-wah rhythm guitar kick starts proceedings, closely followed by Jesse Murphy on bass and drummer Adam Deitch.’
    • ‘Special effects (reverb, overdrive, wah-wah, and fuzz, for example) may be added by pedals plugged between the instrument and the amplifier.’
    • ‘Silent Partners make pop music to dance to with scratchy wah-wah and rousing choruses slightly at odds with the Dermo's Discharge T-shirt and patched-up post-punk jacket.’
    • ‘There are some surprises, too - the dirty wah-wah on ‘Gotta Be Better’ lends the album considerable grit, and the jazzy ‘I Will Stay’ is a darkly atmospheric high point.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, John Coltraine's ‘A Love Supreme’ is stripped of any horns whatsoever and used instead as an extended intro to a jangly, wah-wah peppered version of Marvin Gaye's ‘Please Stay’.’
    1. 1.1 trademark in US count noun A pedal for producing a wah-wah effect on an electric guitar.
      • ‘It's just that, because there's a wah-wah, it sounds more… sexy.’


1920s imitative.