One of the things I enjoy most about the musci4dance project is when I get feedback from people who have found the site useful. I’m especially happy when it comes from a direction that I don’t expect. It’s exactly that kind of feedback that I received from Mister “D” (David Simmerly) – a musician who performs for Ballroom clubs and weddings and was looking to expand his repertoire with music that would be well received in those contexts.
I asked Dave to expand a little on how he used music4dance and (paraphrasing) here are a few of the things that he came back with:
- I search for songs that I already have to see what kind of dance music4dance says it is
- I use your Dance listings to get ideas for other songs
- I search by artist to see what artist’s songs you have on the site
- I listen to your snippets of songs to see if it is something I might want to add to my repertoire.
The first and second points led to an extended discussion about songs that are listed as Waltzes but are not in 3/4 time – check out my blog post on “Fake” Waltzes for more on that.
But there is a more general point that I would like to make here with respect to “correctness” of music for dance. I’ve compiled this catalog with an eye for finding music that inspires dancers to dance. This makes for a very loose definition of what songs “work” to dance a particular dance to. In a setting where a dancer is choreographing to a specific piece of music, even when that choreography is a traditional ballroom dance like in Dancing With the Stars, there is quite a bit of latitude in what music will “work”. Whereas in a social situation the dancers are more dependent on the beat and feel of the music to enjoy the experience of partnering in a specific dance style. And then of course when one is dancing competition rounds, there are even stricter rules about tempo.
In any case, I hope that many of the songs in the music4dance catalog fall into the category (as Mr. “D” says) of “making your pants want to get up and dance.” In the future, I hope to do a better job of tagging dances in a way that separates the strictly ballroom from the fun to choreograph to from the great songs for social dancing. The system is at least theoretically set up to do this since I’ve enabled arbitrary tagging of songs. It’s a big project to go through each song in an 11,000+ song catalog and make the kind of distinction I’m talking about here. On the other hand, it is exactly the kind of thing that works well when others jump in to add their own ideas to the mix.
As always, I welcome your feedback and participation. Thanks to David Simmerly for permission to use his name and information in this post. If you’re in the midwest and are looking for a great solo entertainer for your Ballroom Club, Wedding Reception or another occasion, you can find him on gigsalad.com.