Tag Archives: Vote

What is a fake Waltz?

I was recently asked why there are songs tagged as Waltz in the music4dance catalog that are in 4/4 time.  This seems almost like the dance version of an oxymoron.   In my brief description of the Waltz on the website I start with “Waltzes are dances that are danced to music in 3/4 time…”

To be honest, the main reason that there are “Waltzes” that aren’t Waltzes in the catalog is that I pull from lots of different sources and even with something this fundamental there are different schools of thought.  I intentionally error towards the inclusive in these decisions since I think that dance should be as inclusive as possible.

A substantial number of these songs come from sources that cater to people looking for wedding dances.  But there are definitely “Waltzes” in 4/4 coming from other sources as well, I’ve certainly seen some exhibition Waltzes performed to music that has almost no discernable beat,  much less a strong 3/4.

I’m not sure where I picked up this term, but these songs are what I have been calling “Fake” waltzes.  If anyone has a better term for this, I would love to hear it.

In any case, a “Fake” waltz is generally a song that is in 4/4 but has a strong downbeat and very weak rhythm otherwise, so that one can dance three steps to a measure without being too distracted by the actual rhythm of the song.   You can find all of the songs that I’ve tagged as “Fake” waltzes by following these steps:

  1. Go to the Advanced search page
  2. Under “Dance styles”, choose Waltz
  3. Under “Include tags” click on the blue drum (tempo tags)
  4. Choose “Fake” and click Include
  5. Click the Search button

Or just click here for the pre-built search.

You can use the same process, but replace step (4) with choosing “4/4” and you can find all the songs that are cataloged as both waltz and 4/4.

The more interesting variations are to use the same process to find all waltzes that are not tagged “Fake” and not tagged “4/4”.  You can do this by using “Exclude Tags” in step 3 above.  And you can do one or more tags at the same time.

And while I’m on the subject of unusual waltzes, there is another variation on this theme. It is a song with an extremely slow primary tempo where you can fit a very fast waltz half basic (three steps) on each beat. I’ve been labeling these as “triple-time” and the list can be found here.  Although that’s an exaggeration, there is only one song on that list as of this writing – Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful Life”.  Perhaps I’ll find more by the time you read this.

I’m looking into ways to make the fact that a waltz is “Fake” more obvious.  Currently, it’s a tag on the dance which can only be seen when you click on the dance tag in a song list or by going to the song details page.

In the meantime, if you have a strong objection to songs in 4/4 being labeled as Waltz, you’re welcome to sign up and start voting them down or tagging them as “Fake.”

Even more than usual, I’m interested in how other people view this, so please feel free to comment on this post or send feedback directly to me.

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.

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.