Music for Dance Through the Decades

One of the ways that I like to search for music is by era.  At least as far as twentieth century American music goes, this tends to be categorized by decade.

Early on, I tried some experiments around pulling publication date for a song to help with this kind of search.  But the sources I had generally listed release date as whatever the most recent release of the song was, which was often on a compilation album and had nothing to do with when the song was first published.  Even more importantly, when we think of music associated with a particular decade it’s a very loose definition and involves a judgement call about style as much as any technicality around original the release date.

But since I’ve been grabbing information from a bunch of different places and a few of them have been tagging music by decade, I’ve got a decent catalog of songs that have decade tags.  You can take a look by going to the tags page and clicking on any of the decades like the 1970s  or 2000s

If you’re interested in finding songs for a particular dance style from a specific decade, that’s exactly what the Advanced Search functionality is for.  You can go to the form, choose Rumba from the “dance style” chooser and go to the “Other” tags under “Include Tags”  (the brown pencil).  Choose 1980s from the list of tags and click include.  Then click search, and you will get a list of songs from the 80’s that you should be able to dance a Rumba to.  If you’ve got particular tempo needs, for instance, if you’re looking for a slower or faster Rumba, you can always restrict the tempo in the advanced search form as well. If you don’t have a good handle on dance tempi for dances, check out our tempi tool.

Speaking of searching for specific tempos.  One of the features that we’ve recently added is the ability to find songs by tempo even if we haven’t identified a specific partner dance for the song.  As of this writing, we are trying this out as a premium feature.  If you have purchased a premium subscription, you can check the box on the Advanced Search page to include the “Not categorized by dance” bonus content, specify your tempo range and get a larger list of songs that meet those criteria.  (Check out more details on my bonus content blog post.) This should be useful for people that are looking for music of a specific tempo for dances that we haven’t categorized yet or for exercise that isn’t dancing.

As always, I’m interested in your feedback. Let me know how you use this feature, or what would make it better.

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