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Finding the Beat

 :: Resources :: Music

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Finding the Beat

Post  Hitendra on Mon May 10, 2010 1:57 am

I am learning salsa for considerable amount of time and yet not able to understand songs. Lyrics are in alien language and music is very complex. The material we got in class taught about clave and conga. Clave is outdated and conga is played in lots of songs (but not in most of songs I hear) so I found this article on web which gives some idea about how to understand the western music at large. Thought it would be helpful to all so just pasting it here.

Finding the beat of music is often one of the most difficult tasks facing new dancers. The ability to pick out the beat of a song is important when learning how to keep time to music. Timing in dance is a critical skill a successful dancer must learn through practice. Dance timing is especially critical for partner dances, as both you and your partner will depend on each other to hit certain moves at precisely the same point in the music.

Beats and Rhythm

As soon as you can pick out the beat of a particular song, you will be well on your way to becoming a great dancer. A beat is the basic time unit of a piece of music. A sequence of beats is referred to as the rhythm, or groove, of a song. Most often, music is characterized by both strong (stressed) and weak (unstressed) beats. The speed at which these beats occur is known as tempo.

Finding the Beat

The first step in finding the beat of music is to listen for the stronger beats. Perhaps you hear a group of four beats, with the first beat seeming a little "louder" or "stronger" than the next three. Look at the following set of beats:

ONE two three four
ONE two three four

Now try clapping your hands to the stronger, louder beat, and stomping your feet to the next three, weaker beats. You should be clapping once and stomping three times: this is the beat.

The best way to become good at finding the beat is to listen to lots of music. With time and practice, you will soon be keeping time to music without even trying.

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Re: Finding the Beat

Post  Sheetal on Mon May 10, 2010 2:48 am

Thanks for sharing this informative article Hitendra. I am sure there will be a lot of students who will be benefitted by this.
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