Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Structural musicality in swing dancing


Published on

Understanding how the structure of the music helps you understand how to dance to a song

Published in: Education

Structural musicality in swing dancing

  1. 1. Structural Musicality in Swing Dancing Byron Alley Friday, March 28, 14
  2. 2. Swing Musicality ✤ These slides are intended to supplement dance musicality classes ✤ I’ve written them for Lindy Hoppers, WCS dancers and blues dancers ✤ Therefore some song examples may not fit your favourite style ✤ But the principles are remarkably similar across the swing family of dance styles Friday, March 28, 14
  3. 3. Swing Musicality ✤ What’s musicality? ✤ Fitting your moves to the music ✤ Not just what you do, but how you do it ✤ Originally, all swing dancing was to live music ✤ How can you be musical if you don’t know the song? ✤ Modern idea: macro-musicality vs. micro-musicality Friday, March 28, 14
  4. 4. Micro-musicality ✤ Means interpreting the music note for note ✤ Usually requires knowing that version of the song ✤ Works better for recordings than live music ✤ Therefore a modern concept in swing dancing ✤ But already existed in choreography ✤ Eg. ballet Friday, March 28, 14
  5. 5. Macro-musicality ✤ Structural musicality ✤ Uses the structures and patterns of the music itself ✤ Works even if you don’t know the song ✤ How? ✤ Dancing to mood, feel or texture of a section ✤ Using recurring musical ideas - eg. riffs, underlying rhythms ✤ Fitting changes in your dancing to changes in structure Friday, March 28, 14
  6. 6. The SongsWe DanceTo ✤ Swing music is usually a variation on one of these forms: ✤ 12-bar blues ✤ 32-bar form (aka American Songbook or AABA) ✤ Verse-Chorus ✤ Let’s look at those... Friday, March 28, 14
  7. 7. Beats and Bars ✤ Dancers talk about 8-counts and beats ✤ What we call a “beat” is a quarter-note in 4/4 music ✤ 4/4 means 4 “beats” per bar ✤ But the phrasing makes the bars go together in 8-counts Friday, March 28, 14
  8. 8. 12-Bar Blues ✤ 12-bar blues evolved so musicians could jam together ✤ 12 bars = 6 eight-counts (12 x 4 = 6 x 8) ✤ Usual structure involves call and response: ✤ 2 eights of call, eg: “Give me one reason to stay here/And I'll turn right back around” ✤ 2 eights of repeat, which may have identical lyrics to the call ✤ 2 eights of response, resolving the call: “Because I don't want leave you lonely / But you got to make me change my mind” Friday, March 28, 14
  9. 9. 12-Bar Blues Songs ✤ The 12-bar blues structure is used by many music styles ✤ Blues: Boom Boom (John Lee Hooker) ✤ Jazz: C Jam Blues (Ellington) ✤ Modern blues/rock: Give Me One Reason (Chapman) ✤ Many songs use variations on this structure: ✤ 8-bar and 16-bar blues exist ✤ Blues in the Night: ABC structure where each is 12 bars Friday, March 28, 14
  10. 10. 32 Bar AABA ✤ Aka: 32-bar form, AABA, American Songbook, ballad form ✤ The most common form for jazz standards ✤ Still found in pop music (usually modified) ✤ Each letter in AABA is 4x8 (or 8 bars) ✤ A: Main melody; 2nd A may be identical, similar, or a response ✤ B: Aka middle eight or bridge, usually contrasting sound from A Friday, March 28, 14
  11. 11. AABA Songs ✤ Corner Pocket / Until I Met You ✤ Jumpin’ at the Woodside ✤ Somewhere Over the Rainbow ✤ Fly Me to the Moon (popularized by Frank Sinatra) ✤ Blue Moon (popularized by the Marcels) ✤ Modified: ✤ I Want to Hold Your Hand (Beatles) Friday, March 28, 14
  12. 12. Verse-Chorus Form ✤ Popular since early rock ‘n roll ✤ Like AABA shortened to just AB ✤ Verse and Chorus usually each 4x8 (8 bars) ✤ Verse acts as a lead in to the chorus ✤ Chorus is often repetitive - containing a hook (catchy musical idea) ✤ Sometimes a bridge section is inserted for variety => ABC Friday, March 28, 14
  13. 13. Verse-Chorus Songs ✤ Most pop songs since the late 1950’s, from rock to rap ✤ “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival) ✤ “Candle In The Wind” (Elton John) ✤ “Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd) ✤ "Jenny From the Block" (Jennifer Lopez) ✤ “Oops" (Britney Spears) ✤ “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Gotye) Friday, March 28, 14
  14. 14. How Can I Hear the Structure? ✤ Don’t need to figure out which song structure it is ✤ Need to get good at feeling where changes happen ✤ How do you know? ✤ Chord changes (song sounds different) ✤ Pop songs sometimes change key (higher or lower) eg. Bad Romance ✤ Sense of build-up (eg. verse to chorus) or wrap-up (end of chorus) Friday, March 28, 14
  15. 15. How Do I Dance to Structure? ✤ Identify breaks - moments where most or all instruments stop ✤ Great for dramatic movements, especially with a sharp stop ✤ Identify hits - rhythmic focal points ✤ As with breaks, or just good styling opportunities ✤ Follow changes of tone & texture ✤ Harder/softer, smaller/bigger, linear/round, smooth/rhythmic ✤ Match recurring rhythmic ideas Friday, March 28, 14
  16. 16. Matching Rhythmic Structure ✤ Most songs have recurring rhythmic ideas ✤ In the form of the baseline, lyrical meter, or riffs ✤ Jazz: “Jumpin At the Woodside,” “In the Mood” ✤ Blues: JLH’s “Boom Boom,” Keb Mo’s “Am I Wrong” ✤ Pop: “Seven Nation Army” ✤ Reflect the rhythm in your footwork, body movement and/or leading ✤ Partners both matching the same rhythms puts you on the same page Friday, March 28, 14