Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Live Bands Usually Play Music Too Fast

A friend of mine has a swing band. I sent him the following.

Almost all live bands play too fast or too slow for people that know how to dance. The tempo should be between 110 and 130 beats per
minute most of the time. The range should be between 90 to 150. Extremes can be faster or slower, but should be rare.

Contra bands are play at the correct speed for dancers. Go to a Contra dance and you can see.

A simple test is to see if you can walk comfortably to the speed of the music. That is what dancing is. Walking to music.

Here are music speeds for dancers in beats per minute.

110 - Samba

110 - 130 Lindy Hop comfortable
140 - 160 Fast Lindy Hop
170+ Super fast

90 - 120 West Coast Swing
130 - 140 Fast West Coast Swing

110 - 120 Hustle (Disco) comfortable
120 - 130 Fast Hustle

Steps per beats of music

3/2 - Samba (3 steps in 2 beats - counted One a-Two)

8/6 and 10/8 - Swing, all types - counted One Two Three-and-Four Five-and-Six
or One Two Three-and-Four Five Six Seven-and-Eight)

4/3 - Hustle (counted a-One Two Three)

Latin dances are variations on the same theme. The dances are Bolero, Rumba, Cha Cha, Salsa (Mambo)

These dances are 3 steps and pause on 4 beats. They are counted Quick Quick Slow or One Two Three pause. Cha Cha varies this with a
cha cha on the pause, counted One Two Three-and-Four.

3/4 - Bolero, Rumba, Salsa (3 steps on 4 beats)

5/4 - Cha Cha (this is the same as Swings 10/8)

Typical Speeds for Latin dances

? 70 - 110 Bolero
90 - 140 Rumba
110 - 140 Cha Cha
140 - 200+ Salsa, Mambo

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