Hope it helps. It also stands out because it’s a beginning point for a piece of the melody or other thematic element; it sounds like a natural place to start something. I’ll give you some options to finish the 32-beat phrase: 1) you could do an eight beat step pattern (24 + 8 = 32); 2) you could take eight beats and do a styling move, rhythm breaks or “play”; 3) you could extend a six beat pattern for two beats to make it eight beats long (eg, if you were doing an underarm turn, do an extra turn); 4) you could do another six beat step pattern and then play or kill time for two beats. Although they’re related, counting music and counting step patterns are not the same. Sets of 8 are important to dancers for a number of reasons but most importantly because they identify and define the underlying beat of the music. Commonly, this involves verbally counting the beats in each measure as they occur, whether there be 2 beats, 3 beats, 4 beats, or even 5 beats. Using your hands, clap for every beat and count to 4 repeatedly until you feel confident in keeping that rhythm. Whether you dance, play guitar, do Zumba, run to music, or are just tired of being rhythmically challenged, you need to master the 8-count in music. But measure gets tossed around a lot among dancers, and understanding it will do a lot to help you hear the sets of 8. Listening By Ear Eliminate distractions. It really gets confusing then, if we count 1234 - 2234 and 3234. Don't concern yourself with speed. If you want to count how many sets of 8 go by, count the second set like this: 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; count the third like this: 3, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; count the fourth set like this: 4, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and so on. At a basic level you connect to the music by hearing the sets of 8 (also known as a mini-phrase). I’ve been trying to track the history of both this and “major phrase” in dance lingo, and would love to know your source for this. The sets of 8 can be subtle but they are there. Thread starter ... Start date Jul 16, 2004; S. ShyDancer New Member. If you start a waltz on count 4 (the first beat of the second 3-beat measure) you will be on the beat but off-phrase. One great thing about Argentine Tango is because of the versility of doing a variation every 2 beats a leader can play with steps…like pausing for 2 beats or taking two extra beats to do a longer sexy iconic draw on beat 8. To get started, spend time with a teacher or friend listening to a variety of music. You can listen to your own music collection; but also surf the radio dial and music websites that let you sample music, as listening to unfamiliar songs is an important part of the process. This was sweet: I no longer had to annoy friends and accost strangers with pleas to help me with the beat. Method 1 of 2: Counting Rhythms While Reading Music. Examine the music's time signature. Please limit phrase to 2 8-counts. Before you can learn to count music, it's important to understand that music is broken up into measures, which are musical units of time. I visualize a partner, go through choreography and try to catch the end of a major phrase. Generally, a follower expects you to start on a 1 or a 5. But once you get it, it’ll become second nature. If a song stumps you, move on quickly, because you have to hear it in the easy pieces before you can hear it in the harder stuff. The one exception is waltz, which is covered on pages 74 and 124. Let me know if you need to know more or you can contact Skippy at skippy@skippyblair.com. . Find any music notation you can and count the rhythm out loud using the appropriate nonsense syllables. surely it worked only for these songs because, well, they’re all from the same band or something. Actually, measures are naturally paired. Counting music is counting the underlying beats of the music. (Arcane technical info: Musicians call it 12-bar blues, a bar being slang for a four-beat measure: 12 × 4 = 48.). According to her explanation, waltz is counted, not in 6 but in 3, and to arrive at 8 you do like this: 1-2-3, 2-2-3, 3-2-3, 4-2-3 etc till 8-2-3. Where it gets tricky is trying to figure out how many sets of 8 there are in the major phase–it can change throughout the song–and in dealing with extra beats, likes tags and bridges. Phrasing, the way dancers use the word, refers to the structure of the music. Ball Change. In general, don’t get distracted by lyrics. Focus on accuracy first. The themes of mini-phrases have some integrity, but they don’t tell the whole story. (And, to a lesser degree, he also emphasized each count 5, the fifth beat of a set of 8, with a smaller punch.) Of course there are always exceptions. So, for 60 BPM, you can put it up to 120 and see if your "and" counting was the right speed. I’ve practiced phrasing a lot when I shadow dance at home, by myself. So, thematically, a four-beat measure, while it has some integrity on its own, sounds incomplete, like half a sentence. Multiply MPM by four to get beats per minute (BPM). Your website, videos and insight have given me confidence that if I follow The slow is 2 beats, while the quick is only 1 beat. and a five six seven eight,” and you will take your first step on the next beat, the count 1 of the next set of 8. So, forget all the highfalutin-hieroglyphic-4/4-2/4-3/4-time-signature-mumbo-jumbo-music-theory you’ve been bulldozed with in the past. What’s so important about counting the musical structure? It seems I am a little late to the game here but I will answer anyway. TIP: Sometimes vocals line up nicely with the sets of 8, sometimes not. My guess is that their background is in music. Depending on the music, there can be a lot going on or very little going on, which makes the process tough. You’re doing swing and doing a six beat basic (double—triple—triple). To get started simply have your music friend count sets of 8. If you are in an audition, the judge may ask you to sing the first 16 bars on a sheet of music that has been placed in front of you. I also call a set of 6 and a set of 8 a mini-phrase. Sets of 8 exist because that’s how musicians compose the music; it’s how they give structure to the music. Required fields are marked *. Also common is the 48-beat phrase, which can be described as “six sets of 8” and is considered standard phrasing for blues music. If you have a hard time hearing the beat, plan on sticking with this exercise for many months, working both on your own and with occasional confirmation from others. Really good article, thanks for sharing it! 2. For me as a beginner, there were three elements. These two measures equal a total of 8 counts, which is why dancers count in sets of 8. Any other counting a teacher does is probably counting step patterns, not the music. Slow takes 1 beat and Quick is 1/2 beat. Do the. Syncopation in dance is stepping between beats of music (don’t confuse it with syncopation in music, which is a different concept). Tango music is written in 2/4 time. There are many ways to count music aloud, including the popular use of numbers, “and,” and vowels. When you have a regular rhythm of a particular value (i.e. The most common major phrase is the 32-beat phrase, which is sometimes described as “four sets of 8” (4 × 8 = 32), easy to hear in everything from jazz to Latin to rock ’n roll. 1, 2, 3, 4), the beats in between those beats are the "and" beats and half the value (i.e. Steps . 423—456. Your email address will not be published. Most swing music is structured with 4 8-counts making up a phrase of music. When you have a regular rhythm of a particular value (i.e. The 32-beat phrase is the most common but, unlike a mini-phrase that’s always a set of 8 beats (except waltz), major phrases will vary. Even after I realized that sets of 8 existed, it took many, many months of listening and practicing and getting confirmation from others before I could hear the structure and it became second nature. Music also has “paragraphs.” A paragraph in music is often called a phrase of music or, more descriptively, a major phrase. Until I could confidently count sets of 8, I was never 100 percent certain I was on the beat. (Lingo Alert: Sometimes the word “count” is omitted and a count 1 is identified as “the 1 of the music” or just “the 1.”) Moreover, I could hear that the 1s were beginning points that signaled the beginning of something new in the melody. A 2-step move where you transfer the weight of one foot behind or by the other foot. How do you reconcile fitting 6-beat step patterns around(swing, foxtrot) 8-beat music patterns? I like numbers, and I’m a good counter, so it was odd. When you clap, you will hit the whole beats (i.e. Those dances were outside of his class and the pool of people going to that class. 223—456 That’s how musicians deal with dance music, and there are dancers who follow this path of four. However I did go to some strictly Argentine Tango dances and I did well. If you have some sheet music, look for the time signature … Rosa, it’s best for dancers to count waltz music in sets of 6. Your email address will not be published. The beat with more emphasis, however subtle that may be, is the 1. I remember the first time I ever heard the structure of music counted, with the help of John, a stranger at a bar. While it took time before I could count sets of 8 on my own to a broad spectrum of music and test this earth-shattering hypothesis, he was right: All dance music, except waltz, shares a similar structure. Slow(1), Slow(2), Quick(3),Quick(4), Slow(5), Quick(6), Quick (7), Slow(8). When I dance I want to know the phrasing (the “sentence” and “paragraph” structure of the music) so I would count four sets of 6, which is a common 24-beat “paragraph” or major phrase in waltz, as they go by like this: I could easily and proficiently count music, read music, and identify an upbeat or downbeat. It’s the secret to hearing the beat. First, using a more left-brain-linear-analytical approach, I try to identify the count 1s, the first beat of a set of 8. Lastly, What is the Rumba anyways? . Thanks. ‍ We get more in depth on the 8-count here: What Is Dance Musicality? Unless you’re dancing to a waltz (sets of 6), I’m guessing that all the music you cycle to will be in sets of 8. Being rhythmically challenged is really a lack of education and training, not a lack of ability, so just keep counting sets of 8 whenever you hear music (working out, commuting, drifting off to sleep at night, etc). The pattern count of the basic waltz step pattern is 6 beats (it’s a box step and 3 beats is only half a box, i.e., half a pattern), so the pattern count phrases (aligns) with the musical count. Heck, most popular music, even the gnarliest rock or rap you’ve ever heard, probably shares the same repeatable, predictable sets of 8 as dance music. Let’s go back to the 24th beat. Any suggestions/insight would be appreciated. For now, pay attention as your teacher counts you in to start a dance. Dance Forums. Notice how everyone says it a bit differently, but the goal is always the same: everyone starts the song together, and plays at the same tempo. The point to note is that the count 1 has a stronger accent than the count 5, which will help you distinguish between the 1 and the 5. Most dance music falls in a range of, say, 80 to 160 BPM, which would be 20 to 40 MPM. Over the weekend, we had a big training session. Lingo Alert: I’m going to pull a fast one with language: Don’t tell any musicians but, for convenience, I tend to use the word melody generically to mean the themes I hear in any of the three components that combine to make a piece of music—melody, harmony or rhythm (drums). Hearing accented beats, measures and sets of 8 is tricky. Second, using a more right-brain-holistic-intuitive approach, I listen to the overall melody of the music and try to hear the whole sentence (the whole set of 8). Dang it all, counting confused me! Some music is more complicated so it may not always be simple or obvious. The way you count the Rumba dance is: “Slow, Quick, Quick” through out. Nice job explaining counting. And women will love you for it. (Recall from earlier, I said that John, the stranger who first helped me count music, also punched out the 5s with his hand, but to a lesser degree.) It’s easier for dancers to just look at the whole pencil. In order to marry this dance rhythm to the music, we typically count our steps in "Slows" (S) and "Quicks" (Q), where slow is worth 2 beats and quick is worth just 1 beat. This is the only thing you need to know: virtually all dance music is counted in sets of 8 beats. Especially for a non-musican. Sets of 8, which identify the underlying beat and reflect the true structure of the music, are the foundation of counting music. Her reply, was just what you explain in this page, she added however the way you count waltz. Suspected Skippy was involved, but I am a little late to structure! That point you will dance to the musical count Tango dances and I go... I no longer had to annoy friends and accost strangers with pleas help! 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