As a dance music authority, it’s your duty to help callers and dancers learn how to dance properly. Your ability to play in time with appropriate authority, as well as knowledge of which tunes work best for different dance forms is essential.
What is dance music?
Dance music, also referred to as a dance track, is music designed for listening and dancing. This can include electronic sounds as well as more traditional genres like rock, country, folk, and jazz.
Ballet and modern dance often incorporate music to accompany their movements, creating a powerful performance element. Music helps keep dancers in step, enhances the pleasure of movement, and adds to the power of a performance.
Music often dictates the style and dramatic quality of a dance piece. Composers may use music to portray characters, emphasize an emotion state, or clarify an otherwise unclear plotline.
Another essential element in dance is isochronicity, or rhythmic order that allows dancers to coordinate their movements with a fixed and recurring pulse. This pulse — commonly referred to as the “beat” or “tactus,” serves as the foundation for many fundamental rhythmic elements such as meter and groove.
Dancers usually move in a set pattern, such as the four-beat meter of a waltz or three-beat meter for swing. Furthermore, how music is arranged can have an enormous effect on performance dynamics and even determine its length and structure.
One major influence on dance music was the Renaissance, when musicians were required to compose music to accompany the new dances being developed. Other major influences have come from Baroque period and classical era composers who created pieces for noble courtiers.
Disco music first gained mainstream acceptance during the 1960s, characterized by electronic beats produced on-site at nightclubs, radio stations and shows.
Disco music is a subgenre of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), an umbrella term for various percussive dance music styles. Usually produced for playback by DJs, this genre can be heard at clubs and raves worldwide and may either feature instrumental or vocal components.
EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is a genre of dance music that has gained momentum over the last several years. Initially, it served as an umbrella term for all sorts of electronic genres like house music, trance, drum & bass, dubstep and more; however it soon evolved into its own distinct entity.
Cuba has long been a source of dance music that resonates around the globe. Its styles are heavily influenced by both its African heritage, as well as other Latin American and Caribbean nations’ sounds.
Cuban music is distinguished by powerful percussion instruments and the use of piano, bass and drums. It’s a fusion of different musical genres such as traditional forms with contemporary innovations like electronic music and jazz.
Cuban musicians were renowned for their ability to fuse styles and genres together to create new sounds. These songs have had an immense impact on many genres around the world, such as rhumba, salsa, soukous (West African re-adaptations of Afro-Cuban music created by Orchestra Baobab) and flamenco fusion genres in Spain.
Cuba, despite the immense popularity of its music and dance styles, remains a one-party communist state that outlaws political pluralism, restricts independent media outlets, and severely curtails basic civil liberties. Despite recent reforms, government remains in complete control of most aspects of Cuban life with little private-sector activity permitted.
Cuba has an island-based economy based on tourism, with the state playing a significant role. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, economic recovery started to occur on Cuba, allowing artists to earn their living outside of the state system.
Cuban popular music gained respectability and began to flourish again. This led to the emergence of various commercial and cultural enterprises, providing Cubans with additional income while foreigners began visiting for a taste of the exotic paradise they had only heard about.
These developments spawned an expanding industry of dance clubs and discos, which in turn made timba bands a central element of Havana’s nightlife. By the mid-1990s, timba bands had successfully utilized Cuban sensuality as well as social capital represented by their body, dance ability, and musical knowledge to draw young locals and tourists to these establishments.
By breaking away from the social-political discourse of their time, timba bands were able to impact Cuban society deeply. By creating music that not only looked beautiful but had a socially relevant message, these musical collectives left an indelible mark on Cuban culture, society and politics.
Timba is a Cuban style of dance music that first gained popularity in the 1990s and quickly spread throughout Cuba. Its sound, featuring large horn-driven instrumental sections, draws inspiration from other genres and technologies (such as electronic keyboards) not often heard elsewhere in Cuban music.
Origins of Cuban electronic music can be traced back to the 1980s, when young Cuban musicians started combining rumba with funk and other dance music styles in an attempt to create a challenging musical form that would test their abilities as performers. The result was an exciting new genre which quickly became lucrative for many musicians in Cuba.
In the mid-1990s, as Cuba transitioned from a state-run welfare state to one based on tourism and foreign business, timba played an increasingly significant role in creating a culture of sensuality. Timba provided music for dance club encounters between foreigners and young locals – drawing them together, projecting a tropical image of Cuba and providing funds to companies managing these establishments.
As with other styles of Cuban popular music, timba utilized language to express its black identity; drawing heavily from Afro-Cuban youth’s street lingo. Furthermore, the music often employed expressions and themes from santeria religion – an important form of Afro-Cuban thought and practice.
Timba songs tend to be short, but their rhythmic structure is intricate and fluid throughout the composition. The tempo may shift throughout the piece, similar to how hip-hop or rap music is structured – with repeated refrains and calls-and-responses answered by chants within the music itself.
Timba music is divided into four sections: la salsa, el montuno, los pedales and el despelote. In the first two parts, the tempo is slow with a soloist leading the chorus with new refrains introduced every few seconds. El tembleque follows with rapid-fire dance moves with arms moving back and forth.
Electronic dance music
Electronic dance music (EDM) is an expansive genre of electronic music that encompasses various styles. It’s become immensely popular worldwide, particularly among clubbers and music connoisseurs alike.
EDM, popular since the 1970s, consists of a repetitive rhythm track with melodic synthesizer added over top. It can be divided into various subgenres.
Under the umbrella term EDM, popular electronic music genres include future bass, big room house, hybrid trap, dubstep, electronic pop and others. These styles are widely played at festivals and clubs worldwide due to artists such as Hardwell and Skrillex.
However, the genre has expanded to encompass many other subgenres like dream trance, tech trance, vocal trance and other music styles. As a result, categorizing this genre has become difficult due to its commercial success and diverse range of styles.
Electronic dance music’s evolution can be traced back to technological innovations that have shaped its style and sound. Examples include digital audio workstations (DAWs), which enable DJs to compose and edit their tracks digitally.
Electronic dance musicians now have more access to recording and producing their own music, since vinyl records no longer need be used; CDs and DVDs can now be used instead.
Electronic dance music has evolved since its origins in the 1970s, yet it remains heavily influenced by older forms of music. This can be seen through its similarity to disco and use of Roland TR-808 drum machines as primary instruments.
In the mid-1980s, dance music underwent a dramatic evolution with hip hop becoming the dominant genre. This resulted in new styles of dance music more heavily influenced by hip hop than disco had been.
One such style was electro, which was heavily influenced by hip hop and German synthpop. This mainly involved replacing traditional instruments with synthesizers and drum machines.