Tag Archives: Rumba

Holiday Music for Partner Dancing (Take 2)

It’s that time of year again – people are searching for holiday music for showcases and holiday party dances.   So I decided to take another round at what I could do to improve that experience on the music4dance website.  Take a quick look at my post from last year since that is still 100% applicable.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

You’re back?  Great!  As you can see, I took some pretty big shortcuts to get the Holiday Music page up before Christmas last year.  This year I spent a little while to improve the page.

First, I made the pages work like the other song search pages so that you get 25 songs at a time and can scale up to much longer searches.  There are only 261 songs on the main Holiday Music page as of this writing, but I hope to get that number up to the point where loading them all on one page is prohibitive.

Second, I added the functionality to list all of the Holiday Music for an individual dance style.  So if you are choreographing a routine for Quickstep or Rumba, you can now list just the Holiday Quickstep or the Holiday Rumba songs.

Over the course of this holiday season, I hope to add more music.  If you are interested in helping, here are a couple of things you can try:

  • Sign up for our add song beta and add holiday songs yourself.
  • Browse our music catalog and tag songs as Holiday when you find them.
  • If you have a list of holiday songs categorized by dance style that you are willing to share, please send us an email at info@music4dance.net or contact us through our feedback form.

I’ll also get things set up to push these lists out to Spotify soon.

As always if you have comments or suggestions please feel free to reply to this post or contact me here.

Finding the latest music on music4dance (take 2)

There are enough people that visit music4dance regularly that I thought it would be worth revisiting how to make it easy to find the most recently added and changed music on the site.  I did one pass at this back in November of 2016 when I had to change the default away from listing songs in order of most recently changed.

But that involved adding a link the home page and some options in the Advanced Search page and didn’t do a great job of leading people to that option if they didn’t know it was already there.

So I’ve added a “New Music” option in the “Music” menu.  This will take you directly to a page showing the songs with the most recently added first as well as an easy link to switch over to the most recently changed songs.  I hope this is a bit more discoverable than previous methods.

Once you’re on the New Music page you can use all of the usual methods of tag filtering to narrow down your search and we’ll preserve the sort order that you started with.

You can still use Advanced Search to do things like finding the most recently added Rumbas or Tangos.

We’re adding new music as we find it.  You can help in a couple of different ways.  Sign up for beta feature to add your own songs, mark exiting songs as danceable to a particular style, or send me lists of your favorite songs and what you dance to them – I can import any reasonably formatted list and will be happy to associate those songs with your account and set up a back-link to your site.

It’s great to see so many people use the site.  Please let me know how you use the site, I’m always delighted to hear your feedback both positive and not so positive (the latter is often what leads me down the path of new and revised features).

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.

Are there songs that you never want to dance to again?

I know for me there are a few songs that I spent way too much time listening to while learning choreography or cutting medleys.  I never want to hear them again, much less dance to them. And as much as I love music, there are some songs that I just don’t like right off the bat.  So I don’t want either of these showing up time after time because other people find them to be particularly good Rumba or Foxtrot music.

Up to now that’s been a bit of a problem with the music4dance site since there wasn’t a way to explicitly like or not like a song, Everything was based on collective voting to match a song with a dance.  But today I’ve added a feature where you can like and dislike a song.  Then by default when you’re signed into the site, you won’t see those songs in your searches.

While I was at it, I added a few additional ways to filter searches based on how you’ve tagged and liked songs.  Check them out on the Advanced Search page (remember you have to be signed into your account and have tagged or liked some songs for this to be useful).

And while you’re thinking about this, I have a question.  What is a reasonable opposite of ‘like’ in this case?  I’ve been using ‘not like’, but hate seems like it might be more accurate.  Unlike and dislike were other options.  But none of these seem quite right.  If you’ve got any ideas, please comment on this post and let me know.

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.

Wedding Music Part II: We’re learning to Rumba, help us find a good song for our first dance

In my last post I showed you how to use the music4dance website if you already had a song in mind that you wanted to use for your first dance, and wanted to figure out which dance style(s) would work with the song. But what if you are particularly in love with one dance style or are just learning to dance one particular style and are looking for an inspiring first dance song in that style?

Let’s take a concrete example. Assume for a moment that you are learning to Rumba, so you’re looking for songs that will work for rumba but are also good songs for a first dance.

  1. Go to the music4dance web site (https://www.music4dance.net).tag-menu-annotated
  2. Choose Music->Tags from the menu at the top of the site by first clicking on Music (A) then on Tags (B).
  3. Click on the “Wedding” tag (C).wedding-tag-page
  4. A menu will pop up, choose the option “List all songs tagged as Wedding.”
    A list of all of the songs in our catalog that have been tagged “Wedding” appears.wedding-dances Since this list includes not only songs tagged as “First dance” but also “Father Daughter” and “Mother Son” tagged songs, let’s further refine our list to just “First Dance” songs.
  5. Click on any “First Dance” tag (D) in the tags column, a small menu will pop up.  Choose “Filter the list to include only songs tagged as First Dance.”  You will now have a list of songs that have been tagged both as “First Dance” and “Wedding.”first-dances
  6. But you are looking specifically for songs that you can dance the Rumba to.  So click on the dance selector button (E) (All Dances) and choose Rumba (F).
  7. You will now have songs that you can dance the rumba to that have been tagged as “Wedding” and “First Dance.”first-rumba
  8. The play button (G) on any song  will give you a list of music streaming and purchase options, which at minimum will let you listen to 30 seconds for free to make sure this is the song you were thinking of at if you’re subscribed to one of the services like Spotify or Groove you can listen to the entire song.
  9. You can click on the title link of any song (H) to get even more details including albums that contain this song.
  10. Or click on the Tempo column header (I) to sort the songs by tempo.

Is the style of dance you’re interested in not included please leave a comment or take a few minutes to go through my dance classification survey and help me generalize this system to the style of dance that you know.

The Pink Martini Solution

Not all artists are created equal when it comes to creating dance-able music.  For instance, one of my favorite artists of all time is John Coltrane.  Do you see him well represented in the music4dance catalog?  Absolutely not.   Because a consistent tempo just isn’t a core part of his music.  Which is part of the appeal when listening, but doesn’t work particularly well when trying to Lindy Hop.

Towards the opposite end of the spectrum, sits Pink Martini.  They are a band that plays a combination of original works and updated covers of classic melodies.  Many of both types of song are in a musical style that co-evolved with a partner dance.  Take “Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love“, which is a classic Tango if I ever did hear one, but still has the unique Pink Martini flare.  Or “Amado Mio“, which has a extremely dance-able Rumba beat.  And don’t forget “Hang On Little Tomato“, a wonderful Foxtrot as long as you can dance through the lyrics without cracking up, or possibly tearing up.  That little tomato has quite a challenge ahead of him!  And if you are up for a challenge yourself, try to West Coast Swing to “Hey Eugene” while keeping a straight face.

Pink Martini’s catalog is both broad and deep and most of their songs are well suited to partner dances.  Check them out on music4dance.net and if you like what you hear, let me know and I’ll catalog some more of their songs.