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February 2, 2010



This is the first of a series of follow-ups to previous post on DJing.

I had mentioned that a requisite for a tango DJ is the ability to play music which is danceable. The point here is that what makes for great listening is not necessarily what makes for great dance music. In general, what most dancers like is a steady, clear beat. Concert music is designed to appeal to the musicians and to those who are listening; things that work in concert, such as creating subtlety, or having a beat that is partially or completely dominated by vocals, etc., don’t help the dancers. When dancers cannot hear a discernable beat, the dancefloor can become very chaotic. The usual tell-tale signs are having many couples stepping out of sync with the music.

By the way, in case some of you may be wondering: having a steady beat does not equate to the metronomic electronic thumping typical of “Tango electronica”, e.g. pieces from Gotan Project. A steady beat can manifest itself in various forms: light-hearted as in D’Arienzo’s “Pensalo Bien”, the driving rhythm in Biagi’s “Racing Club”, romantic and silky-smooth like Di Sarli’s “Bahia Blanca”, or playful as in many of Donato and Rodriguez’s recordings. There is a richness which is unfortunately not replicated by many of the modern orchestras.

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  1. Feb 2 2010

    I can’t read your blog with the new background, FYI.

  2. Feb 2 2010

    There are many different levels of dancers. In my first two years, I found certain vocal pieces were not danceable; now I love to dance to them.

    Yes, your average dancers could only dance to the beats. Sometimes it is nice to play some “not-so-danceable” beautiful pieces to clear the floor, so the average dancers could sit, listen, and learn to develop musicality. That doesn’t mean that one should do it even though an empty floor is expected when such music is played. 😉 Again, a good DJ plays to the level of the dancers.

    In the end, it is the music that moves us, not the other way around.

  3. Feb 2 2010

    Elizabeth: Is this what you are seeing?

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