Over the last couple of weeks I have received a number of requests for help outlining the basics of choosing songs to practice the various styles taught in lessons. When deciding if a song will be "dancable" the first thing to look for is a strong bass line. This can be provided by a bass drum, upright or bass guitar, tuba, piano, guitar and sometimes other instruments. It should be easy to pick out so that while you are dancing there isnt a need to actively think about what you are following. The speed of the this beat determines what styles are most appropriate for the music in question. The easiest way to decide is based on the beats per minute (BPM) of the music.
Some basic guidelines for BPMs are:
East Coast Swing: 120-200 BPM (removing the triple steps will help you dance faster)
Lindy Hop: 105-190 BPM
Charleston: 200-250 BPM
Blues: 20-75 BPM
THESE ARE GUIDELINES!!! All of these styles can be danced faster or slower depending on your personal style and skill level. There is going to be some overlap and it's tons of fun to be able to switch back and forth between styles as you go! As for figuring out the BPMs of songs you are listening too there are a multitude of apps for your smartphone that let you tap along to the beat. For Iphone I recommend Beetronome and on android BPMCounter works great. The website www.beatsperminuteonline.com works similarly from your laptop.
In the next week I will be posting spotify playlists on the university swingers spotify containing songs that I love for each of the styles mentioned above so don't forget to check that out at open.spotify.com/user/universityswingers!!!
Finally, if you find songs you'd like to hear at lessons send them to me on facebook or my spotify acount and I'll try to make sure they get played!
Your Media Manager,
The purpose of this blog is to broaden our knowledge of music, and specifically the music that we dance to. To best understand and improve our dancing, we must increase our understanding of music. We can easily keep a beat and dance in time, but music is much more than just a metronome for us to step to. Songs convey emotions, and have structures (forms) that they follow. With each new blog post, we’ll discuss new characteristics of swing songs. Ideally, this will inspire drive to listen to more swing music outside of dance events. Following each post, a description of a song will be presented and it is up to you as a dancer and appreciator of music to decide what to do with the new knowledge. Each song description works as a listening guide to help you find songs with a particular aspect. This first scavenger hunt is pretty simple, find a song that:
Everyone is encouraged to send the media-managers their song selection to be considered for Wednesday night snowballs and other future dance events.
Send this to: universityswingers on spotify