Tag Archives: Cha Cha

Share Your Favorite Searches

Have you found a particularly useful or exciting way to search for music on the music4dance site?  Just for instance, were you choreographing a swing-cha combo and constructed a search for songs that can be danced to both East Coast Swing and Cha Cha and that are not categorized as Latin Music?  Or did you perhaps want to see a list of songs that could be danced to Cha Cha, Bachata, or Rumba but that are specifically 120 beats per minute?

You can do both of those pretty easily by using the Advanced Search page.  And then you can get back to your own searches by using the My Searches page.  But what if you want to share that cool list of songs with someone else?  You can do exactly what I’ve been doing here – do the search and then copy the link from the address bar in your browser.  That is a perma-link to the search that you just did and can be shared with anyone, anywhere.

As a bonus, if you’ve created an account, the searches that you share with your friends can include your likes and dislikes.  For instance, you can share a list of all Cha Cha songs that you have “liked”.  Or if you have a search you are particularly fond of but one of the songs just doesn’t work for you, you can unlike that song and then when you or your friends look at the list using the link you built you won’t see that song, and neither will your friends.

Feel free to share your favorite or most interesting searches here.  If enough people do that, we can add a new section for interesting searches to the site.

Oops, I didn’t mean to throw that needle into the haystack…

I recently heard from a customer that he was searching for “Oh, These Dark Eyes on the site and this is what he saw:

Search with bad sort

In fact, “Oh, These Dark Eyes” by Tango No. 9  is in the music4dance catalog, but it wasn’t even showing up on the first page.  That seems crazy.  And wrong.

After a little digging, I discovered my mistake.  When I merged the Search Like Google feature into the default search I left the default sort set to “most recent”.  So when you search for anything with a bunch of words in it, there will be a whole lot of results (in this case 464) and if I sort by anything other than closest match what I’m really looking for is likely to get lost like a needle in a haystack.

This should now be fixed.  When you search by default you’ll get the most relevant results at the top of the page (just like a normal search engine).  I’ve also added a “Closest Match” button to the search order possibilities on the Advanced Search Page which is the default.

So hopefully there will be less searching for needles in haystacks.

dark-eyes-good

Thanks to the gentle customer that pointed out my mistake.  I’m always looking for ways to improve the site so please feel free to send me feedback if anything looks like it’s not working the way you suspect.  Even if it’s not an outright bug (like this one was), I’m happy to take feedback and see if I can make music4dance a more useful resource for you and others.

And lest you think I’ve dropped my head completely back into code and failed to continue to improve the content, I’ve added some more DWTS songs this week as well as digging up and integrating some fresh lists of  ballroom music, including some fun new Cha-Cha, Rumba, and Tango songs.  You can still find the most recent changes to the catalog by sorting by modified date.  That’s the little pencil icon right below the “Advanced Search” text on any search results.   Or if you want to get tricky and just find the songs that have been most recently added, you can go to the Advanced Search Page  and choose “When Added” in the “Sort By” field.

What are your favorite Prince songs for partner dancing?

I, like many, am mourning and listening to Prince‘s music. Over and over again.

Since I’ve been thinking a lot about music and partner dancing recently, this lead me to think about what I would dance to each song.  Especially when Leader of the Band popped up in my playlist and screamed Cha-Cha at me.  Of course a lot of his seminal work has more of a blues feel that I would associate with West Coast Swing (or possibly even more directly blues dancing).  But there are certainly some things in his catalog that one might Quickstep to (Let’s Go Crazy) or dance a Slow Foxtrot (Strollin‘) to.

Here’s a link to the list of Price songs currently in the music4dance catalog.  If you’ve got other favorites (along with what you would dance to them) let me know by responding to this post or sending feedback and I’d be happy to add them.  Or sign in and vote on what style you would dance to the songs already in the catalog.

The Prince Feature

One of the things that I noticed as I was looking for Prince music in the music4dance catalog was that I hadn’t implemented an artist page of any kind.  You could search for Prince but you would both get everything I had catalog by Prince and everything by Prince Royce songs with Prince in the title.  So I did a quick fix – if you click an artist’s name you’ll be taken to a page with a list of the first 100 songs I’ve catalog by that artist.  Since I’m only tracking artist by the full name this has a couple of implications, one of which is that Leader of the Band won’t show up under Prince since the artist is actually “Sheila E. featuring Prince and The E Family.”

You can, of course, still search for Prince and manually go through the songs to find the ones that actually involve Prince, but that’s obviously not the perfect solution.  How much does this matter to you?  Is it important to have a more specific idea of artist when you’re sorting through songs to dance to?

As always, please send me feedback or just respond to this post with any issues or ideas.

Search like Google Part II: Autocomplete, Filter by Dance Style and Sorting

I am continuing to rebuild the music4dance database capabilities in the more intuitive style of current search engines like Google and Bing – the initial attempt at this is documented in this post.

Auto-Complete

Auto-complete is something everyone expects when searching these days.  So if you were to type “Peab” into the search box on the simple search page you should see suggestions like the following pop-up:

  • Peabody
  • Peabo Bryson
  • Tonight, I Celebrate My Love (feat. Peabo Bryson)
  • Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
  • Peabo Bryson And Roberta Flack
  • Love and Rapture: The Best of Peabo Bryson

And just like Bing or Google, clicking on the selection will take you to a list of songs that contain the selected text.

The thing that is a little different for music4dance than a generic search is that one might want to do combinations of things like a fragment of a title and a dance style name.  I haven’t figured out an easy way to do that, but as always I’m open to suggestions.

Filter by Dance Style

But I can fall back to the original way that I landed on for just searching within a single dance style.  So now on the Simple Search page, you can select a dance style from the drop down to the left of the search box and we’ll just show you results for that dance style.  So if you select Cha Cha and then type “tea” into the search box you should get only songs that have the word tea somewhere in the description that have also been tagged as Cha Cha.

Sorting

And finally, I’ve implemented sorting by Title, Artist, Tempo, Beat, Energy, Mood and Recency.  Just click on the appropriate heading in the Simple Search Page, just like you did in the classic search page.  I’m still looking for a reasonable way to sort by votes on dance style.

BETA

This is a BETA feature because I haven’t fully integrated this search with the basic and advanced search features, so let me know what you’re missing the most in this simple search method and I’ll get those pulled back in first.  As always, please send me feedback or just respond to this post with any issues or ideas.

If you like to dance Cha-Cha to a song does that mean you “like” that song?

One of the first things that I wanted to do with the music4dance project was to build a system where dancers could vote on whether a song worked for a particular dance style.  That morphed into something more like “do you like to dance style x to song y.”  Which still seemed like a pretty reasonable system.  And I started using heart symbols to show like/indifferent/don’t like for the dance style entries on each song.

But then Amanda (the music4dance intern) pointed out that there wasn’t any way to actually say that you liked or disliked a song.  So we implemented a top-level like/indifferent/don’t like for each song and I used the same heart symbols. But then things got confusing, since you could vote to like to dance a particular style to a song as well as make a song as something that you like.

I still think that there is a value in both of these attributes.  For me the overriding value of the like/dislike a song is to be able to dislike a song and not have to see it again.  Especially for a song that I may have particular bad associations with – a song that was massively overplayed in a dance studio, for instance.  These are particularly troublesome as they are probably overplayed because they are well suited to a particular dance style, so I certainly don’t want to exclude them from other people’s searches by voting them down for matching that dance style.

In any case, this came to a head while I was implementing the quick voting mechanisms where you can like/dislike a song anytime you see it in a list – any kind of search results or dance style details pages.  Once I got that feature in, I saw that it was so much easier to like/dislike a song than it was to vote on whether you find a song dance-able to a particular style.  And that made me sad, since I think the dance-able vote is much more interesting (and also why you would be looking at a site like this rather than a purely music rating/referral site).

dance-vote

So I added in the voting link to the songs in any list where there is a single dance being listed.  This includes the dance style pages as well as any searches where you choose just one dance to search on (like for instance, this list of all of our East Coast Swing songs).  And while I was doing that, I started using the shoe symbol rather than the heart symbol for voting which helps with the ambiguity.

Well this all works, and I’m reasonably happy with the results.  But I’m not sure I’ve minimized the number of clicks that you would use on average.  Should I assume that you like a song if you vote it up as a good Cha-Cha – you could still explicitly dislike it for those cases where you actually don’t like the song even if you agree that it’s a particularly good song to dance the Cha-Cha to.

Why don’t you give it a try and let me know what you think.  Go to your favorite dance page (find them here) and try both voting on the songs as dance-able to that dance (by clicking the shoe icon) and liking/disliking them as songs (by clicking the heart icon) and let me know what you think.  Feedback is always welcome via the music4dance feedback form or our company email info@music4dance.net.

 

What if I want to build a list of songs that are tagged as either Bolero or Rumba?

There are a bunch of different reasons that you might want to build lists of songs that are more sophisticated than just the songs that can be danced to a specific style.  For instance you may be choreographing a piece that you want to switch between Cha Cha and East Coast Swing.  Or you might want to get a more comprehensive list of songs that are in the Bolero/Rumba range so you want everything that’s tagged with either of those dance styles.  Or, you’re like me and just want to see what dances people have tagged as both Waltz and Foxtrot (two apparently contradictory labels – more on that in a future post).

I’ve just added a feature that enables all of those scenarios.  The documentation is here, but let me break a couple of the scenarios down into specifics.

First, let’s say you’re looking for a song to choreograph a mixed East Coast Swing/Cha Cha routine to. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to the song list page by clicking on Music -> Songs in the menu at the top of the music4dance.net website.
  2. Click on the “more” button near the top of the page
  3. Click on the “any” button that appears and choose “all”
  4. Click in the text box that says “Choose some dance styles…” and start typing “East Coast Swing”, after the first letter or two you should be able to choose from a list.  Do the same with Cha Cha
  5. Click on the search (magnifier) button and you should see a list of songs all of which are tagged with both East Coast Swing and Cha Cha

Next, let’s take a look at finding a mixed list of songs.  For example, if we want to find all songs that are labeled as either Rumba or Bolero, here’s what you do:

  1. Go to the song list page by clicking on Music -> Songs in the menu at the top of the music4dance.net website.
  2. Click on the “more” button near the top of the page
  3. Make sure that the “any” button that next to the “Dance to” label reads “any.”  If it reads “all” then click to choose “any.”
  4. Click in the text box that says “Choose some dance styles…” and start typing “Bolero”, after the first letter or two you should be able to choose from a list.  Do the same with Rumba
  5. Click on the search (magnifier) button and you should see a list of songs all of which are tagged with both East Coast Swing and Cha Cha

I hope this is useful to you.  If there are combinations of dances that you find particularly useful, please let me know by commenting.  Similarly, if there are combinations that you can’t manage with the current implementation please comment and I’ll look at extending this capability even more.

Question 2: What dance styles can I dance to my favorite song(s)?

Again, I rephrased the question from my original post.

One of the things that amazes me about the best dance teachers I know is that they seem to do this matching instinctively.  They hear the first bar or two of a song and immediately know which dance(s) to dance.  I imagine “instinct” in this case is some combination of natural talent, many hours of practice and the amount of time that they spend listening to music and thinking about how it fits with dance.

After dancing for 20 years, I have something of this sense myself, but being a techie first and a dancer second I feel compelled to break it down a bit more.

There are two sub-questions here; let’s call them 2a and 2b.

Question 2a: “Does the style of music match the style of dance?” This is very much about the general feel of the music – so salsa music sounds like music that you would want to salsa to and swing music sounds like music that you would want to swing to.  But it’s also about the rhythm.  The most straightforward example of this is Waltz, where the three-count rhythm is very distinctive.  Conveniently, every partner dance that you can dance to three-count rhythm has waltz in its name.  There are more subtle variations on this concept: Cha Cha music has a distinct “4 and 1 (or cha cha cha)” emphasis that makes it feel like a cha cha, mambo music sounds a lot like salsa, but with emphasis on the second beat, and there is something called “Swing Rhythm” that distinguishes swing music from other kinds of music. And the list goes on.  I don’t have a great idea for a tool to help with this, but I’m considering writing a more in-depth series on how this relationship works.  So if you’re interested please let me know and I’ll move that up my to-do list.

Question 2b: “Does the tempo (speed) of the music work for the dance?”   Swing is a great example since there are a whole bunch of different dances that can be danced to music that is in the swing style, but they are each danced at  a different tempo.  For example, West Coast Swing is best danced between 28 and 32 measures per minute (MPM), East Coast Swing between 34 and 36 MPM and Jive between 38 and 44 MPM.  I’m building a web application  that at least partially solves this problem.

Snapshot of Counter page on August 13th 2014
Snapshot of Counter page on August 13th, 2014

With this app. you can count out a few measures by clicking the count button on the first beat of each measure and it will not only show you what the tempo is, but also suggest a number of dances that will “work” for this tempo.  Pretty slick, no?  What would you add to this to make it more useful?