|| by Vic Ceder
Alternative Music can be used as a great:
- Pick Me Up
- Mood Changer
- As with any piece of music, you need to know it, work with it, and use it
to your advantage. Don't make it just background noise.
- If the alternative music has a driving beat, your choreography needs
to be molded to it. Don't make the dancers think; let them dance.
- Alternative music can be relaxing, but make sure it has a good solid
dance beat that dancers can easily pick up. Music with a weak or ambiguous beat
will cause hesitant dancing.
- Vocals can add to or detract from the dance experience.
- Continuous vocals can be distracting to many dancers. Look for pieces
of music that have long instrumental sections or frequent breaks from
- Foreign language vocals tend to be less distracting as
they act more like part of the music.
- Familiar vocals can be used in clever ways as the dancers will
sing along to the tune, adding to the dance experience.
- Don't assume that using alternative music is easy and will greatly improve
your calling. I've heard well-known callers use it poorly. Beware of these pitfalls:
- calls can't be heard over vocals
- too many instruments (music is too 'busy')
- inappropriate choreography
Selecting Alternative Music
- Good alternative music has these characteristics:
- It should make you want to dance.
- It should have a solid beat.
- Appropriate BPM (124 to 130 BPM). A computer can adjust the
BPM to the appropriate range. Sometimes a slower BPM works well.
Modify Original Music to Fit Your Needs
- Use a computer to:
- Reduce vocals (via an equalizer)
- Change tempo
- Change pitch
- Remove inappropriate sections
Where to Get Alternative Music
- Listen to what other callers are using, then ask them about it.
- If you find yourself enjoying a particular piece of music,
think about whether you can use it for square dancing.
- For variety, don't overlook oldies, or newer music from square dance
- Blue Star
- Ozark Productions
Music I Often Use
- Two Times (Ann Lee)
- Voices (Ann Lee)
- Chaka Chaka (Rosanna Rocci)
- Winchester Cathedral (The New Vaudeville Band) -- tempo +2.5% to 128 BPM
- Spann Salad (Rob Rio) -- tempo -16% to 125 BPM
- Where Do You Go (No Mercy)
- Bonita [with reduced vocals] (No Mercy)
- Never Let You Go (Jakaranda)
- A Banda (Herb Alpert)
- Funkytown (Lipps, Inc.)
- Jazzy (Lipps, Inc.)
- Addicted to the Night (Lipps, Inc.)
- Last Night (Mar-Keys)
Music I Occasionally Use
- Blue [slow bridge part removed] (Eiffel 65)
- Come To Me (Ann Lee)
- You Make Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac)
- Yes, Sir, That's My Baby (Firehouse Five Plus 2)
- Please Don't Go (No Mercy)
Music I've Heard Others Use
- Voulez Vous (ABBA)
- Mission: Impossible Theme
- Paso Dobles music
- (Eiffel 65)