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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Rhythm or Melody? (Yorkshire Dales (2))

I discovered something interesting about my dancing and the way I respond to music. At Scandimoot, I did the first couple of dance workshops without trouble. In fact, they were great, learned much about using various bits of my body, interaction with partners, etc.
In the third workshop, it all started to go wrong. I just couldn't find the rhythm of the dance in the music. The fiddle player seemed to be running up and down esoteric scales fairly randomly. Looking around, the other dancers seemed to coping OK.

After struggling for some time, I talked to the teacher. She understood straight away “Ah, that's Rättvik music!” (It's a place in Sweden). I also talked to the fiddler and verified what my ears had been telling me – the melody sometimes smeared the notes over the beat. Or completely off the beat, or missing altogether! Watching the  fiddler play, he tapped his foot in the usual 1_(no 2)_3 rhythm of Swedish Polska but the melody was usually somewhere else. 
Other participants tried to help. Suggestions included:
  •           Following the fiddlers feet instead of his fiddle.
  •          Running a metronome in my head
None of these really work for me.
This experience illuminated some discussions I've had from time to time about what's “good” dance music. I dance to the melody. It's not enough that there's a “good beat”. If I was tone deaf it would be a different story.

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