When I first started publishing lists of swing music on the music4dance site, I grouped all of the swing style dances together and then used tempo ranges to guess at specific dance styles. This method works reasonably well for some of the core swing dances such as Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, and Jive.
But a helpful Carolina Shag DJ contacted me to let me know that this method did not work at all for Carolina Shag since the dance ancestor might be swing, but the music that one typically dances to doesn’t even have a swing rhythm. And of course, both Hustle and West Coast Swing are very much part of the swing family of dances but don’t require a swing rhythm to dance to. So I went back and made the default searches only return songs that someone had explicitly tagged as a type of swing rather than inferring anything from general category and tempo.
Since the only exposure I had to Collegiate Shag was a reference that it was a swing style dance to music between 180-200 beats per minute when I turned off the “infer by tempo” feature, I stopped listing any Collegiate Shag songs. Well, that seemed wrong, so I did some digging around the web and found a few lists of Collegiate Shag songs and incorporated them into the music4dance catalog.
Do you dance or DJ Collegiate Shag? Please, let me know if there are other songs that I should add to this list.
One of the things that I’m struggling with in the music4dance project is the pull between finding lots of recommendations for songs to dance to against the desire that those recommendations being in some sense ‘good.’ As I noted in my last post, more manual curating will certainly help.
Another way to attack this problem is to tune down the mechanical methods I’m using to find recommendations. So for now I’ve changed the default for most dance recommendations to only pull up songs that someone has explicitly noted are good to dance to that particular style. So, for instance, the Carolina Shag catalog doesn’t get polluted by songs that someone has tagged generically as ‘Swing‘ that happen to be a reasonable tempo to dance Carolina Shag to. And the top 10 lists for individual dance style pages are filtered the same way.
Hopefully this will give you a better start at ‘core’ songs that work for each dance style. Check it out and let me know what you think.
P.S. What if you’re interested in getting the broader range of recommendations? Say you’re looks for songs that might work to dance a style to that might not be quite the musical style that is normally danced to. There are a couple of things you can do. First, you can go to advanced search page and check the “Include Inferred” check-box. This will give you the old results where we pull in songs that are marked with a related dance style and are of an appropriate tempo. Or you can just do a tempo filter on the advanced search page and see what comes up…