An interesting comment on swing (dance) music ...

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mousethief
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#16 Post by mousethief » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:02 am

Like it or not, I've gotten more out of these online discussions than I might otherwise let on. Conflict is good for me - it makes me analyze my sets and look for inconsistencies & ways to present a better set.

I think most online discussions are really homework and I don't take what my teachers say in class home with me. Just the ideas, themes and the work to be done.

So, if I think it's funny because "we're" often polarized, well it is funny.

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

julius
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#17 Post by julius » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:51 am

If the goal is to challenge dancers in competitions, then in my opinion there really isn't a reason to leave the genre of "swing music" let alone "jazz music".

I think competition drives the evolution of our dance, whether it's informal competition on the social floor or judged events. So things that affect competition ought to be scrutinized carefully, since I'm a preservationist at heart.

Of course there is always room for silliness. But it shouldn't be an end of itself.

Toon Town Dave
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Re: An interesting comment on swing (dance) music ...

#18 Post by Toon Town Dave » Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:53 pm

mousethief wrote:I think challenging music is a must for competition and dancing in general. Having inspiring music is even more critical.
So, this is a very good point. In fact in the same essay, Skippy says
A competition requires three participants: A Leader - a Follower - and Music that inspires them to dance. DJs must maintain a relationship with the Dancers that keeps them all on the same team. This creates an environment that encourages great performances.
In terms of challenging, does it have mean difficult or complicated or something that doesn't fit the dance? What about a recording like Who Ya Hunchin', would that be considered challenging? What about taking tempos to the extreme (fast or slow), would that be challenging? It seems there could be many interperetations of this term.

Just to be clear, I'm just curious what some of the Lindy DJs think about the same comments if they were applied in a Lindy context. I don't want to start a swing/groove war. It just seems like there are a lot of good ideas to think about. Also as Nate pointed out, the WCS community has similar music issues to what we in the Lindy community have.

mousethief
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#19 Post by mousethief » Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:41 am

Competitions should be challenging and the music should reflect that. "Who Ya Hunchin'" is a great example; it's just a great piece. It's up-tempo, clever, driving and fun. A perfect competition song. I like to spin it in Dallas every now and then at regular dances.

But I think competitions need to be balanced, so a classic, faster piece like this should be matched (or have the ability to be matched a la J&J) with a swinging post-war piece - unless the competition specifically has certain requirements. An all-balboa comp is probably best served with classic music while a social-dance contest in SF probably is not. Organizers need to make those decisions and pass along the decision to the DJs. Events that don't make a distinction or make vague ones should be prepared to greet all competitors on equal terms.

Above all, the music has make people want to dance above any other requirement. It has to inspire the DJ, the audience and the dancers equally in my opinion.

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

KevinSchaper
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#20 Post by KevinSchaper » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:44 pm

here's my gripe about competition music - for the last contest I dj'd, which was at a west coast event, and they had me fade all of the songs after 1:30-2:00.. I think I actually used Who Ya Hunchin, and it's a crime against humanity to fade that song before it builds to a climax.

I like the comment about being on the same team with the dancers though, that's a nice way to look at it.

mousethief
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#21 Post by mousethief » Tue Apr 27, 2004 12:54 pm

Thanks.

I've never DJed a real, bona fide comp but I like to think that the music should be SO good, that people who decided not to compete should be wishing that they had. At the same time, the energy has to be high enough to keep the audience's interest for each of the competitors, so Couple #7 is greeted as warmly as Couple #1.

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

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wheresmygravy
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#22 Post by wheresmygravy » Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:54 pm

Is it a DJ faux paux to fade a song in when it is hot and then fade it out later. Instead of having to dance thru the intro.

i.e. bring the song in just near the end of a phrase. I know that would require some pre-planning to have the songs queued or better yet, have then editted on a CD ready to go. But I have seen too many comps where Couple #1 get 30 seconds of intro and 15 seconds of meat while couple #2 get 45 seconds of Filet.

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#23 Post by KevinSchaper » Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:10 pm

intros are easy enough to skip.. but with most swing era stuff, it's more that the first minute and a half to two minutes often build up to the big exciting part at the end.. to solve that, you'd have to start halfway through the song, which would be way too awkward for the dancers..

my guess is that it's inhereted from west coast, where the songs don't really have "arc" in the same way.

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Kyle
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#24 Post by Kyle » Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:04 pm

Whatever you play DO NOT play 35 seconds of a drum solo and then 10 seconds of the song in a competition. I have seen this happen with some random DJ at Swing By The Sea in Monterey. The couple kept thinking that the drum solo would end, sadly, it did not.

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sonofvu
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#25 Post by sonofvu » Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:40 pm

julius wrote:If the goal is to challenge dancers in competitions, then in my opinion there really isn't a reason to leave the genre of "swing music" let alone "jazz music".

I think competition drives the evolution of our dance, whether it's informal competition on the social floor or judged events. So things that affect competition ought to be scrutinized carefully, since I'm a preservationist at heart.

Of course there is always room for silliness. But it shouldn't be an end of itself.
Excellent points. There is no need to go outside of swing/jazz to challenge dancers. I say challenge the dancers with tempo and complexity of the music but do not challenge them with music that is outside of the swing/jazz category.

Also, I would never dream of playing bebop at a competion. Not because it is not jazz but because I think the idea of bebop is to make music that you can not dance to.
Yard work sucks. I would much rather dj.

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