Swing Discussion Boards > Single, Double and Triple Swing

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Black Sheep, Jul 4, 2003.

  1. d nice

    d nice New Member

    In Jazz music (and in all it's descendant forms of music) the 2 & 4 are accented. They are the weak beats, which recieve a sharper sound to them to make them stand out a little more. Swing dancing is based on African ideas of rhythm and body movement and European ideas of partner dancing, combining together in a uniquely American way.

    The further away from the vernacular the dance, the less African influence the more European. The value systems while not necessarily incompatible, do have some conflicting precedence. One must be given priority. The ballroom swing dances favor the European value system, and reduce the African influences. East Coast and Jive tend to have the strongerAfrican influences compared to other Ballroom swing forms (boogie woogie, bugg, double bugg, rock and roll, acrobatic rock and roll &c.). West coast Swing is not technically a ballroom swing form, but has distanced itself from its original African influences, though is still far closer in general than the aforementioned dances.

    Because of the purposeful distancing of African influences certain defining elements are reduced... namely the ability to swing. Since the patterns tend to follow a more even time frame, with little push and pull of timing, they have resorted to a more artifical (or studied if you prefer) means of creating tension within the rhythms used. Emphasizing the weak beats with the step on the same beat, rather than using the African originated manner.

    The African, and by necessity, the vernacular jazz form of dance rhythm give emphasis with a visual rhythm and by using the floating second beat of the triple. The visual rhythm component is created by the continous downward bounce on the whole beats of the music (1, 2, 3, 4), and by placing the second step of the triple closer to the third step in timing it puts a hang or hover in the downward movement. This adds a subtle emphasis to the even beats of the triple steps.

    The floating beat idea is a little harder to understand. If you were to start a metronome at the begining of a Swing song (let's say "It Don't Mean A Thing" in deference to Joe) so it hits even with th efirst two beats of the song... what you'll notice is that the instruments will "slip" in timing away from the meter being ticked out, sometimes falling behind, other times racing ahead. Vernacular Swing dancing does this also. The instruments and the dancers are aware of where they lay in the music, but don't worry about their second or third beat being early or late. What matters is the overall phrasing. This is easy enough to demonstrate in person while dancing but difficult to explain through this medium.

    The best way I can get someone to understand is to take a Swing song (or a swinging song, since Swing is a specific genre of jazz, but all jazz songs after 1918 swing, at least until you start reaching the avant garde era) and pick a single instrument, piano, trumpet, trombone, sax, guitar, vocal, and clap out every note played while counting out the measures. What you will notice is that they will begin and end their own phrasing in a slightly different sync than that being marked out by the bass and drums rhythmic displacement. Sometimes starting their phrase just before the 1 is picked up other times as late as the four and ending on the two of the next phrase.
  2. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Well, according to the ISTD manual, the Jive Chasse is as follows:
    :arrow: "In its basic form this is a figure of three steps in which the first step moves to the side on count "1" (3/4 beat) the second step half closes on count "a" (1/4 beat) and the third step continues to the side on cout "2" (1 beat)."
  3. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    July 15 at about 2;40 pm, d'nice's definitive dissertation on Swing timing
    and accents caused me to wake up early this morning with a complete
    understanding of d'nice's erudite explanations on Swing timing.
    In my unconscious dream world, all of d'nice's knowledge on Swing came
    together in one small compact ball of wax, and I understood what he meant in
    his dissertation in his some one thousand word composition.
    Webster's musical definition of Syncopation: Accent the un accented beat.
    Syncopation, Swing dancers accent the up beat (2, 4, 6 etc) with their
    clapping and in their footwork. But d'nice's most used word, 'Vernacular':
    This is the word that stopped me cold, 'Vernacular!' Hmmm!
    Black Sheep
  4. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Joe if the musicians are already accenting the 2 abnd 4 then it would seem that the 1 and 3 are unaccented, which means the dancer should accent those.

    Of course this isn't true... and my explanation above not only says why, but how it was originally done. Telling someone to accent the even beat is about as useful as telling someone who has never used a computer before to just "point and click". Meaningless words without an explanation.

    Not to mention an explanation with no context creates students who parrot their teachers rather than students who understand the subject. Who can then go and apply that same knowledge in ways they have yet to be shown by their instructors.

    "Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a life time."

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