WCS Following question?

Sort of. Of course I understand the distinction when I do it, and when I see it. It has musical purpose. I'm simply trying to define it.

Your shakespeare example is a good one though - we define something as language because it is generally accepted as such, and brilliant poetry is based on perception. We could then expand the same definition to musicality.
Hmm, that wasn't what I was trying to say. I mean, music timing can be easily defined and quantified. That said, if someone dances with certain specific, intentional timing to the music, but you just don't care for their artistic interpretation, I understand that.

But I guess I thought your question was about explaining what is happening when people are randomly dancing in between beats with no intentional relation to the music; maybe I misunderstood? :confused:
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Before I sign off for the evening, thought I'd share these links.
Yes, music timing can be easily defined and quantified, until you get to "swing" and / or "rolling count".

http://web.archive.org/web/20140617054638/http://www.swingdancecouncil.com/library/RollingCount.pdf

http://web.archive.org/web/20100218153708/http://www.swingdancecouncil.com/library/rolling-count.htm

BTW, Dean Collins and Laure Haile wanted the exact opposite non equalization of triples.

Given that we are talking about fractions of a second...
 
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Hmm, that wasn't what I was trying to say. I mean, music timing can be easily defined and quantified. That said, if someone dances with certain specific, intentional timing to the music, but you just don't care for their artistic interpretation, I understand that.

But I guess I thought your question was about explaining what is happening when people are randomly dancing in between beats with no intentional relation to the music; maybe I misunderstood? :confused:

No, I'm trying to quantify what makes a "syncopation" appear "on time", as opposed to random.
I'll chat about this with some of my "musicy" friends, and see if I can nail down what I mean in person with correct terminology. Maybe if I come up with anything interesting I'll start a thread about it!

Lol, sorry for the hijack
 
No, I'm trying to quantify what makes a "syncopation" appear "on time", as opposed to random.
I'll chat about this with some of my "musicy" friends, and see if I can nail down what I mean in person with correct terminology. Maybe if I come up with anything interesting I'll start a thread about it!

Lol, sorry for the hijack

I found a great link with an audio example which explains rhythm and syncopation. The link explains how the music works, but in dance you do the same thing with your body. You can syncopate your body or foot movements as you would do with a musical instrument.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
No, I'm trying to quantify what makes a "syncopation" appear "on time", as opposed to random.
I'll chat about this with some of my "musicy" friends, and see if I can nail down what I mean in person with correct terminology. Maybe if I come up with anything interesting I'll start a thread about it!

Lol, sorry for the hijack

Technically, a Syncop. is the insertion of a note of lesser value in time than those in which it "separates ".. as in, for e.g. 1 and 2..( Whole note/Half note..Half note/ Quarter note etc.)

Syncop. may be written in several different ways within the bar, and or.. " joining" 2 bars together as in 4 and 1.

In dance, people often improvise outside of those clinical e.g.
 
hmm, I'm not expressing my point very well. I am getting closer to figuring out how to say exactly what I want to say... Stay tuned or a thread regarding this in the future :banana:
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
the same author has "triple time" which is quick 'n quick, quick 'n quick, or three steps taken in the count of two.

And, there IS something funky there, because Figure 5.1 shows the q & q q & q covering a 4/4 measure with 6 quarter notes!
I've been pondering this one for days now. There's something else I missed.

A triplet is three notes in the place of two. It is indicated by a 3 placed over the notes. Sometimes the bracket is omitted.
http://www.cinderzelda.com/musictutor/rhythm/triplets.htm
There are both brackets and "3"s over both of the triplets.
 
I've been pondering this one for days now. There's something else I missed.


http://www.cinderzelda.com/musictutor/rhythm/triplets.htm
There are both brackets and "3"s over both of the triplets.
Been a while since my piano lessons, but to my memory a triplet is normally three notes to one beat of music. A lot of blues and oldies rock songs use this rhythm. The example you cite, though, is a different thing called quarter note triplets.

I found a good example, "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" by Natalie Cole. The part where she sings those really fast words "Hugging and squeezing and kissing and pleasing, Together, forever" would be examples of normal triplets. "Hugging-and" would use up one triplet in one beat of music.

The main chorus has quarter note triplets. You'll hear "(pause)-This-Will-Be" when she sings it. The (pause)-This-Will part is the part with the quarter note triplets. You can see it on sheet music here.

"Quick-quick-slow" in dancing would equate to two eighth notes and one quarter note, not triplets. The musical notation would look totally different. An example is "Jingle Bells". See it here. Jingle Bells would be "quick-quick-slow" or eighth-eighth-quarter note. Another way to count would be "one-and-two". "One-and" would represent the two eighth notes and "two" would be the quarter note.

Now, how does that relate to dancing? Syncopation is sometimes described as emphasizing different beats than the usual. So the normal way to perform "Jingle Bells" of course would be as "JIN-gle BELLS". If you syncopated, it would be "jin-GLE BELLS". Of course, it would sound kind of funny to emphasize the second syllable of "jingle" - you wouldn't really do it for that type of song - but for West Coast Swing dance music it would work well.

Again, it's been a while since I learned music theory, so musicians out there, please correct me if I am wrong.
 
I've been pondering this one for days now. There's something else I missed.
Ahhh, that's an important clue. So the rhythm Schild is describing has much more of a waltz feel to it (double time waltz, if you like) - as though the measure were written in 6-8 time, and we were stepping on every beat.

If that's the case, it's not broken, just wrong - at least from the current perspective. In another time and place, maybe the music really was doing that.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Gosh, I figured I had to start learning about music if I was ever going to be able to know who had it right, and who was just sayin'.
It's been, and will continue to be, quite the journey.
Good resources, Jenny. I'll be bookmarking the one for sure.

Casual readers should be aware that some of what we are discussing would be "level three counting", or, pretty advanced stuuf.

I am now comparing Lauré Haile's description of Single, Double, and Triple Rhythm, and it is consistent with what Schild presents. Triple Rhythm is three steps taken with two quarter notes, or six steps in 4 quarter notes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Pastor

According to Schild, the author of the 1985 "Social Dance" from the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, "quicks" (as in quickquickquick -your triple steps) are danced on the quarter notes in swing.

I'm almost certain something there is very broken, as this is the first time I have ever heard anyone claiming to be an authority suggest that a triple step spans three quarter notes.
If
A triplet is three notes in the place of two.
, and we are talking about quarter notes, this all seems consistent. ie Schild seems to have it right.

Jenny mentions the quick quick slow that is danced to, for instance Nite Club 2 Step.

I think I stumbed into this trying to be helpful, honest!

There is also the subject of how you dance those triples. And therein we have a "third level" counting subject.
Look (again?) at Skippy Blair's numerous ways of "counting" the time in two quarter notes of music http://web.archive.org/web/20140617054638/http://www.swingdancecouncil.com/library/RollingCount.pdf and imagine taking 3 steps in there somewhere. The various old timers sometimes disagreed about where/when you would take those three steps within those 2 quarter notes/beats.

(Or is it just that Nite Club songs are so slow? Acck! But, recently I saw that someone was teaching Triple Nite CLub or some such thing!)

Sheesh, gonna keep reading and studying and hope to get it straight one day.
 
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OK - it never would have occurred to me to call the elements of a "triple quarter note" "quarter notes", but that does seem to be the right terminology, is which case describing a measure as having six quarter notes isn't as broken as I had believed. We live to learn.

That said, I still think its wrong to describe a triple step that way, because (in my experience) that doesn't match the music that's being danced - which is to say that I don't know of any swing music written using quarter triples instead of the more usual quarter and eighths.

To borrow and abuse Skippy's notation: if we were going to dance triple quarter notes, our weight changes would be on 1, the a before 2 and the & after two. The time between the triples (3 , 1) would be the same as the time between the first two steps of a triple (1 , 2). A waltz cadence.

Which would - I hasten to add - make sense if the music did drop a quarter note triplet into a measure. I very much doubt there's any dance music in play today that does that, though.


I don't believe this relates to nightclub at all - unless somebody has changed the rules on me considerably, the cadence for nightclub is quarter quarter half, not quarter quarter quarter; the slow represents a duration that is double that of a quick, and everything falls on the bar.


And I'm not going to believe that Schild has it right until you (or Tango, I suppose) start documenting music of that era that used that musical structure.


Fascinating stuff. Low on practical value, but fascinating nonetheless.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
You know, I've been wondering myself about what the music does. I think with swing there's what we dance, which is based on a constantly repeating pattern of steps, pretty much, and then there is the music.

Honestly? I feel that when I dance Argentine Tango I am more connected to the music, because I am free to step or not any time, or do any combination of rhythms, and not have to think about 6 counts or 8. And it's farily easy for someone to follow what I lead because there is no "end of the pattern".

"Western Swing", and very early West Coast Swing included Single, Double, and Triple Rhythm. Using them to match something in the music is a challenge. Skippy and others have elevated things for the upper level dancers. The rest of us????

From what I read (there are some articles available about how Murray organized his classes) You probably couldn't drop in and say, "I want to learn West Coast Swing" and START with WCS.
(I'm hoping tt will comment!)


HA. I just glanced down at the sheet music for "Blue Suede Shoes", and in the refrain
"Don't you step on my blues suede"

"step on my blues suede"
has a 1/4 note triplet over "step on my",

followed by two quarter notes
for "blue suede"
making 5 quarter notes in that measure.

The early rockabillies were very familiar with Western Swing, the music, which was swing by all accounts by people who know the music.

And while I'm posting, take a look at this bit on swing that I came across.
http://www.acoustics.org/press/137th/friberg.html

Thank goodness we can all just dance!
 
HA. I just glanced down at the sheet music for "Blue Suede Shoes", and in the refrain
"Don't you step on my blues suede"
exceptio probat regulam

Nice find.

For a longer example, have a listen to Any Time At All, by the Beatles. The bridge is full of variations on tripled quarter notes by the piano and lead guitar, while the acoustic guitar, bass, and drums are in a more usual rhythm.

Famous Quotes by Dancelf: [post=687541]When in doubt[/post], check the Beatles catalog.
 
"Western Swing", and very early West Coast Swing included Single, Double, and Triple Rhythm. Using them to match something in the music is a challenge. Skippy and others have elevated things for the upper level dancers. The rest of us????

HA. I just glanced down at the sheet music for "Blue Suede Shoes", and in the refrain
"Don't you step on my blues suede"

"step on my blues suede"
has a 1/4 note triplet over "step on my",

followed by two quarter notes
for "blue suede"
making 5 quarter notes in that measure.

The early rockabillies were very familiar with Western Swing, the music, which was swing by all accounts by people who know the music.

And while I'm posting, take a look at this bit on swing that I came across.
http://www.acoustics.org/press/137th/friberg.html

Thank goodness we can all just dance!
Yes, "step on my" blue suede shoes is a good example of quarter note triplets. But the point is - although the music has this element, the dance steps typically do not. I mean, sure, you could occasionally choose to dance out that part with quarter note triplet rhythm in your feet or body, if you really wanted to emphasize it. But normal WCS steps don't have that.

The confusion comes in because some of the steps are called "triple step". It's only called "triple step" because you are stepping three times. It's not a parallel of music notation, so it's important not to confuse the two. "Triple" in music usually means dividing up a musical note into three shorter notes of equal duration. "Triple" in dance usually means three steps during two beats of music, but the three steps are not equal in time duration (i.e. "quick-quick-slow").
 
Continuing to dig through the catalog, Don't Let Me Down is the best example I've found so far for illustrating the distinction between regular quarter notes and a quarter note triplet.

But normal WCS steps don't have that.
Sure, but that's only because normal WCS music don't have that. If DJs played more music that goofed the beat, then we'd more often goof our feet.
 

kayak

Active Member
Sure, but that's only because normal WCS music don't have that. If DJs played more music that goofed the beat, then we'd more often goof our feet.
With there being quite a number of WCS only dancers, bunches even dance WCS to Waltz music. So everyone might create a Hustle version of WCS to fit the triple beat you guys are playing with. Still, it might just be better to choose a dance that fits the rhythm better don't you think?
 
With there being quite a number of WCS only dancers, bunches even dance WCS to Waltz music. So everyone might create a Hustle version of WCS to fit the triple beat you guys are playing with. Still, it might just be better to choose a dance that fits the rhythm better don't you think?
Um, no? Everybody should choose the dance that allows them and their partner to have a good time. All other considerations can go spit.

Returning to topic...


According to Schild, the author of the 1985 "Social Dance" from the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, "quicks" (as in quickquickquick -your triple steps) are danced on the quarter notes in swing. And yes, she includes West Coast Swing in the swing chapter.
The "slows' have the same duration as half notes, or two beats.
This much all seems to be fine, in light of future developments. It's completely consistent with the usual ballroom quick/slow terminology. Single time swing uses slows, but the more common cousins are all quicks of some flavor.

One could dance the three weight changes of a triple as a tripled quarter rhythm, and you would have exactly the right number of weight changes in exactly the right total amount of time, but most observers in that case would probably describe you as "off time" because you aren't dancing triple-time (to borrow Schild's terminology).

It might be more precise to describe the dancer as off rhythm, rather than off time, although I don't think that many draw this distinction.

A half note is the same as two quarter notes.
This needs a little cleanup, as when they are tripled, it's three quarter notes that are the same as a half note.

At 120 beats per minute (bpm) there could be 120 quarter notes per minute, or 60 half notes.
Note that "Quarter notes" have no one standard duration.
Yes to all of this - it's a relative notation only.

Each beat would come at 1/2 second intervals.
A "West Coast Swing Basic" is 6 beats, and would take 3 seconds to dance.
In general if you take anything other than 3 seconds to dance it, you are "off time" with the music.
Yes, although as Chandra rightly notes this is necessary without being sufficient.

Usually, only every other beat is accented. Accenting a normally unaccented beat is one form of syncopation. For dancers stepping on an unaccented beat is one form of syncopation. (also found in this text and in spite of what you read all over the place)
I've come to accept that it is my lot in life to be unhappy with every explanation of dance syncopation I see.

And this doesn't even get into "Swing" in music and dance. (or does it? heh!)

Give a listen to Captain & Tennille's version of the R&B song "Shop Around", which runs at 125 bpm. This song was listed as music for swing, including West Coast Swing, in this 1985 text, and was #36 in the nation in December 1976 according to Billboard.
Was there context for this? Or just the general comment that this is an awesome song? I discovered it about 3 years ago, and concur with that judgment.
 
Wow, all this stuff is interesting to me (and I'm the OP from way back) but I think we're getting off topic. Suffice to say, taking a basic music theory course is very helpful. Just remember that dance teachers use some of the same words as music terminology, but can mean different things. Again, "triple step" in dance does not necessarily equate to a "triple" in the music.

To get back on topic, once you know these things, it certainly can help as a follower when you can distinguish between the rhythm and movements that are being led, and the options you have within that for musical expression (such as using syncopation in your steps.)
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Pastor

Give a listen to Captain & Tennille's version of the R&B song "Shop Around", which runs at 125 bpm. This song was listed as music for swing, including West Coast Swing, in this 1985 text, and was #36 in the nation in December 1976 according to Billboard.

Was there context for this? Or just the general comment that this is an awesome song? I discovered it about 3 years ago, and concur with that judgment.
It is another of the list of "awesome" songs that we know for sure people danced WCS to back in the day, based on printed information form that time.
 
Suffice to say, taking a basic music theory course is very helpful. Just remember that dance teachers use some of the same words as music terminology, but can mean different things. Again, "triple step" in dance does not necessarily equate to a "triple" in the music.
Absolutely. In fact, I think thats one of the stumbling blocks for musicans learning to dance.
 

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