|| 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 labels.
- 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)