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Foxtrot Music Theory: Is The Accent On 1-3 Or On 2-4?

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Giacomo Pasutto, a professional drummer from Italy, will explain the music structure of this dance.

Matteo: What is the difference between straight tempo, swing, and shuffle?

Giacomo: Trying to write down the differences of the swing and shuffle as rhythmic style is a challenge because this kind of style has been passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. We should keep in mind that every theoretical approach is something that comes close, but not exactly where the definition of swing and shuffle should be. As Marco Di Battista says in his book Improvvisazione jazz consapevole this is also because “we use a European Approach, called Divisive, of the theory to explain styles that find their roots in the African Culture which is based on Additive conception”.

Every transcription, score, or music can also be played with more or less swing or shuffle “feel” that we can’t write down. For example, modern shuffle comping is different from the oldest one in terms of interpretation of the subdivision. It depends also on the musician’s choice and background.

To understand and explain which are the differences between these tempos in indications  I’ll offer some examples.

The Straight Tempo

The straight tempo is simply the exact interpretation of a regular beat in terms of feeling and playing a score or music. Imagine that we have a measure of 4/4 and 1 quarter note per beat so if we clap the hands on every quarter note, we will have 4 Claps/Notes in one measure that takes the downbeat and upbeat.

Foxtrot Music Theory: Is The Accent On 1-3 Or On 2-4?

Now, what happens if we want to clap the hands two times at the same distance, in one beat? We will have one clap on downbeat and one clap on upbeat. These are called “eighth notes” so 8 notes/claps in one measure.

We can check how the notes are regularly subdivided between the downbeat (numbers) and the upbeat (e). So, paying attention to the regular pulsation we can hear the “Straight feel”, a perfect subdivision of the beats that can be also played in quadruplet (per beat) so, 16 notes in one measure.  

Swing and Shuffle

Now imagine playing 3 eighth notes in one beat. We will have an “Eighth Notes Triplet” – an irregular group/subdivision placed between the downbeat and the upbeat.

If we place a rest on the second note of the triplet we can see the “basic” of the swing/shuffle triplet feel. The shuffle often is written in 12/8.

The regularity and the shuffle feel

Now comes the hardest part!

We should first say that the terms swing and shuffle can also be used to indicate a musical genre. But, here we are talking about swing and shuffle as rhythmic styles, so the differences in drumming are in the comping.

In swing and in shuffle, the strong pulsation is always on 2 and 4 of the measure.

For example, when playing the drums in the shuffle, this pulsation is strongly accented on the snare and the duration of the first note is something like two times of the third note. Nevertheless, it depends on genres: for example, in modern shuffle rock/blues the pulsation is more “regular”.

In the swing comping, instead, the 2 and 4 are accented on the Hi-Hat while snare keeps the “suspended feel” with free comping improvisation.

Foxtrot Music Theory: Is The Accent On 1-3 Or On 2-4?

And also in swing rhythm, the pulse is divided unequally. Therefore, certain subdivisions, typically either the eighth note or the sixteenth note subdivisions, alternate between long and short durations.

The “regularity” of the subdivision depends on the musician’s background, style, and musical genre. It can be changed by delaying the 3rd note of the triplet (the upbeat) close to the next downbeat. Here is a link where you can see all the differences in terms of ratio between the notes.

Here are two examples of “regular” triplet pulsation of the shuffle/rock comping:

In terms of musician’s choice, in “Pride and Joy”, you can hear how Stevie tries to “rag” the time while he’s singing, just playing a delayed chord on the upbeat with the guitar.

Now, if we take a look at this Jazz Shuffle record of 1961 we can easily listen how the 3rd note of the triplet (the upbeat) is much more delayed, close to the next downbeat. We can also observe how the swinging feel of soloists can coexist with the shuffle comping played by the drummer Philly Joe Jones.

Heads Up For Music Nerds: At min 2:50 something happens. Philly starts to play the Ride Cymbal on every quarter notes and the snare only on the 4th beat leaving more space for the Wynton Kelly’s solo and you can easily check how the pulsation becomes less “ragged”, and more of a  “regular” triplet.

Here’s another example of Jazz Shuffle played by the Roy Hargrove’s Big Band where you can hear the 3d notes delayed and the strong 2 and 4 accents on the snare.

The pulse perception

Often in the traditional swing, the Rhythm Section – the core group of instruments that plays the accompaniment – in the introduction of the theme does what we call “plays in 2” or half bass, a kind of halved time where the accent seems to be on the 1 and 3.

Let me give some definitions here:

  • Playing in 4 or Walking Bass = to play every beat of the measure;
  • Playing in 2 or Half Bass = to play half beat of the measures (example: 1 and 3 or 2 and 4, in a 4/4 time signature).

In the following example, you will listen to how in the first minute the bass movement is on 1 and 3 (plays in 2) but the left-hand piano plays the 2 and 4. At the minute 1:14 starts the B Section where the bass plays on all 4 beats and after that, they repeat again Section A with the bass on 1 and 3. But you should keep in mind that the pulsation is again on 2 and 4. After that, they will repeat the chorus all in 4 till the end, also on the trombone solo.

Matteo: What is the accent in music?

Giacomo: The accent, also called stress, is a momentary emphasis on a particular rhythmic or melodic detail. In metrically organized music, accents serve to articulate rhythmic groupings. This happens especially in music used in dancing, where the regular accentuation facilitates the patterning of steps. Usually, the heaviest accent falls on the first beat of the measure. The matter of fact, it is the accent that determines where the measure begins.

Matteo: These are some examples of the music we use to dance the foxtrot. The first is a more “classic style” and the other derives from modern popular music:

Is there any difference in terms of foxtrot music theory between the “big band swing” music and the modern one?

Giacomo: The first differences I noticed between traditional and the modern one are in the harmonic progression.

In other words, the modern one has pop melody and pop harmonic progression rearranged and played in “jazz” style. There are a lot of different music elements mashed up, that recall the second line style, the ragtime, and dixieland. The traditional ones are standard jazz songs, more complex in terms of arrangement, harmony, and structure. It also has articulated movement of the brass section in a perfect Big Band Style.

One of the most important things that I noticed is that the modern song is “played in 2” and doesn’t go in 4 so the bass plays on every beat of the measure.

Here is another example of the differences about the half bass and walking bass:

We can see how John Clayton plays in 2 (half bass) at min 0:42 when Clayton says “I get my bass and we went for a walk” and starts to play in 4 (walking bass) and you can feel the strongest 2 and 4 pulsation.

Matteo: As a musician, do you think we should dance in two different ways, placing the accent in different moments if we are dancing the classical swing or the modern one?

Giacomo: Honestly, I think I can not say what is best for a dancer to do. Nevertheless, in my experience as a musician in the ballrooms, I have always noticed that it is important to know a little about the basis of the dance and try to understand what the dancers need. At the same time, I think that even the dancers should try to get a little closer to the world of musicians and to the origins of the music they are dancing to.

I believe that “the end justifies the means.” For example, to facilitate reading of the scores for big bands, when I was at the Conservatory, the director said to visualize the groups of notes in blocks on one and three, but this does not mean that the strong pulsation is on the one and the three.

So, if you feel the need to “visualize” the one and three in order to count the steps or teach, I don’t think it is entirely wrong. Try to remember though that the natural pulsation of that kind of music is on the two and four, therefore it would be appropriate to emphasize the nature of that style.

I think any kind of music-related activity should pay attention to what the musicians are playing and the musicians should pay attention to the needs of those who are interacting.

Music, as we know, is a language just like dance is. Therefore, communication is essential and for good communication, it’s better to talk the same language.

 

Reference list:

  • Marco Di Battista, (2014) Improvvisazione jazz consapevole (volume 1) Jazz Convention

 

If you have more questions for Giacomo, you can follow him on:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

The post Foxtrot Music Theory: Is The Accent On 1-3 Or On 2-4? appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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NEWS

German Open Championships 2019

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The biggest and most awaited World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) event of the year has now been archived with more than 4,000 registrations, 58 present nations, and 45 different competitions. Once again, the 33rd edition of the German Open Championships 2019 gave people unique sentiments to remember for a long time.

The Professional Division

The competition week started with the WDSF PD Super Grand Prix Latin. Gabriele Goffredo and Anna Matus confirmed to the world that they are, without a doubt, number one in their category, boasting a near ten-point gap between them and Marts Smolko and Tina Bazykina, the runners up.

German Open Championships 2019

Not only was a night full of energy and sparkles, but of strong emotions too, as Alexandr Shmonin and Maria Shmonina announced their retirement from their competitive careers.

Day after day, the feelings grew to their highest peak, when Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova performed outstandingly on the floor of the Beethoven Saal – the same floor that saw them win the Amateur title twice, in both 2017 and 2018. 

German Open Championships 2019

“Today we felt really free mentally, and it made us fly. The main importance to us was to dance: to dance really from the bottom of our hearts, and we loved it!”
Dmitry Zharkov & Olga Kulikova
-after winning their first PD Super Grand Prix Standard

The Amateur Competitions

Standard

The amazing performances of the pros fired up the Amateurs’ atmosphere in the last two days of the German Open Championships 2019. It’s tough to surprise the public with marvelous dancing after a lineup of professionals. Nevertheless, the top amateur couples weren’t worried at all.

On Friday, the title of the Grand Slam Standard Champions went to Evaldas Sodeika and Ieva Zukauskaite, who earned a standing ovation after their spectacular Quickstep. Therefore, the adjudicators noted it more than a full point higher than that of the runners-up, Francesco Galuppo & Debora Pacini

German Open Championships 2019

The real fight, though, was between Moshenin-Spitsyna and Glukhov-Glazunova for the bronze medal. In the end, Evgeny Moshenin and Dana Spitsyna got the third place by only 0.169 points!

Latin

At the German Open Championships, Saturday night rhymes with latin night! 

This time was a special edition for the home public; two German couples claimed the highest podium steps. Nonetheless, Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska confirmed their title with their unique and passionate dancing. Still, Timur Imametdinov and Nina Bezzubova – the silver medalists – put on a stunning show as well. 

German Open Championships 2019

Why are the German Open Championships so special?

The German Open Championships holds a very special place in dancers’ hearts. It might be because of the beautiful venue, the orchestra, or the importance that this event has gained over the course of its rich history. 

Whatever the reason, what really matters to those who love dancesport is being part of it and experiencing the feelings that can only be given to you by the German Open Championships.

The Medal Table

 

   🥇

   🥈

   🥉

1. Russian Federation

      17

       9

       9

2. Germany

        5

       6

       3

3. Moldova

        5

       4

       2

4. Italy 

        3

       4

       6

5. P. R. China

        3

       5

       0

6. Romania

        1

       4

       4

7. Latvia 

        2 

       2

       2

8. France

        1 

       2

       2

9. Lithuania

        1

       1

       3

10. Slovakia

        2

       1

       0

11. Japan

        0

       2

       2

12. Norway

        2

       0

       0

13. Spain

        1 

       0

       2

14. Canada

        0

       1 

       2

15. Finland

        0

       2

       0

16. USA

        1   

       0

       0

17. Netherlands  

        0

       0

       2

17. Spain

        0

       0

       2

19. Austria

        0

       0 

       1

19. Bulgaria

        0

       0

       1

19. Thailand

        0

       0

       1

Useful Links

  • Official GOC website
  • German Open Championships 2019 Results
  • WDSF Official Results
 
If you are really curious to find out more about some of the names mentioned in this article, make sure to check Dancesportlife’s interviews at the Bucharest Grand Slam.

The post German Open Championships 2019 appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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NEWS

Mirko Gozzoli & Edita Daniute: Our Vision For The Presentation Before The Dance

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In our online course with Dancesportlife Academy, we have touched a lot of important subjects in the ballroom dancing world. We shared our vision starting from personal posture to couple’s hold and going to key principles and choreography. But we also discussed one topic that is not often explained by teachers: the presentation before the dance. 

How important is the presentation before the dance?

The answer is: very important!

At the competition, before we start the dance we need to introduce ourselves. It’s very important even how we walk onto the dance floor, let alone how we present our partner in the correct place!

So here are a few things that you need to check if you want to have a good presentation on the dance floor.

The walk

First of all, you need to decide on which side, corner or space of the floor you need to start. But be careful: you also need to be flexible to change your spot if there are too many couples in your spot. 

How you walk on the floor is one of the most important aspects. You need to take your time so that it doesn’t look like a race for the most wanted space of the floor.

Walk with confidence and show yourself to everyone! Then you select your corner and wait patiently while the MC/Chairman counts the couples.

The invitation

We are ballroom dancers, thus an elegant attitude is a must! The man is wearing a tail suit and the lady is wearing an exquisite dress: we need to invite her in an appropriate way. 

The man’s invitation should be in relation to the music. So, if I have a waltz, the invitation will be on the first bar of music. Once the partner arrives, we take our hand position. We should take the hand position in relation to the preparation step, like this will all look very natural and not mechanical. 

Everything should blend and be in harmony! 

The connection

Be also careful with the space between the man and the lady! If you stand too close, you may end up looking a bit panicked as if you would need each other’s protection. 

The connection is very important, as there are many couples that too far away from each other and they look like they don’t even dance together. Furthermore, it will be unclear for the lady how exactly she should be positioned.

The bow at the end of the dance

This is also a very important part, as it the last impression that you leave to the audience and the adjudicators. 

We suggest that you bow in the same direction and, if possible, have an underarm turn and then a bow. Never leave your partner alone! 

Mirko Gozolli & Edita Daniute: Our Vision For The Presentation Before The Dance

 

The small details are the ones that make a difference and always remember to take the appreciation of the public and not ask for it!

If you want to have access to all the episodes from our online courses make sure you go to Dancesportlife Academy and check the available packages.  

The post Mirko Gozzoli & Edita Daniute: Our Vision For The Presentation Before The Dance appeared first on Dancesport Life.

Continue Reading

NEWS

Mirko Gozolli & Edita Daniute: Our Vision For The Presentation Before The Dance

Published

on

In our online course with Dancesportlife Academy, we have touched a lot of important subjects in the ballroom dancing world. We shared our vision starting from personal posture to couple’s hold and going to key principles and choreography. But we also discussed one topic that is not often explained by teachers: the presentation before the dance. 

How important is the presentation before the dance?

The answer is: very important!

At the competition, before we start the dance we need to introduce ourselves. It’s very important even how we walk onto the dance floor, let alone how we present our partner in the correct place!

So here are a few things that you need to check if you want to have a good presentation on the dance floor.

The walk

First of all, you need to decide on which side, corner or space of the floor you need to start. But be careful: you also need to be flexible to change your spot if there are too many couples in your spot. 

How you walk on the floor is one of the most important aspects. You need to take your time so that it doesn’t look like a race for the most wanted space of the floor.

Walk with confidence and show yourself to everyone! Then you select your corner and wait patiently while the MC/Chairman counts the couples.

The invitation

We are ballroom dancers, thus an elegant attitude is a must! The man is wearing a tail suit and the lady is wearing an exquisite dress: we need to invite her in an appropriate way. 

The man’s invitation should be in relation to the music. So, if I have a waltz, the invitation will be on the first bar of music. Once the partner arrives, we take our hand position. We should take the hand position in relation to the preparation step, like this will all look very natural and not mechanical. 

Everything should blend and be in harmony! 

The connection

Be also careful with the space between the man and the lady! If you stand too close, you may end up looking a bit panicked as if you would need each other’s protection. 

The connection is very important, as there are many couples that too far away from each other and they look like they don’t even dance together. Furthermore, it will be unclear for the lady how exactly she should be positioned.

The bow at the end of the dance

This is also a very important part, as it the last impression that you leave to the audience and the adjudicators. 

We suggest that you bow in the same direction and, if possible, have an underarm turn and then a bow. Never leave your partner alone! 

Mirko Gozolli & Edita Daniute: Our Vision For The Presentation Before The Dance

 

The small details are the ones that make a difference and always remember to take the appreciation of the public and not ask for it!

If you want to have access to all the episodes from our online courses make sure you go to Dancesportlife Academy and check the available packages.  

The post Mirko Gozolli & Edita Daniute: Our Vision For The Presentation Before The Dance appeared first on Dancesport Life.

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