Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beats Per Minute and Beats Per Measure - The Two Important BPMs of Every Song!

When should the male dancer begin to lead his partner into her six-count or eight-count footwork once the swing music begins? The answer is that he should begin leading her on any of the song's downbeats; that is, on the "1" count, the "3" count, the "5" count or the "7" count. These "base beats" are the backbone or pulse of a song! You don't need to be a trained musician to understand a song's tempo (or timing), just listen to music and pick out the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar or piano).

To take the pulse of the song and determine its number of beats per minute (bpm), count these downbeats for fifteen seconds and then multiply by four. Very slow swing songs have around 70 bpm and very fast ones have upwards of 200 bpm. The swing songs that I personally enjoy dancing to the most, average about 125 bpm which coincidently approximates my optimum cardio-training heart rate when I exercise. Notice that these downbeats differ from the upbeats that occur on the "2" count, the "4" count, the "6" count or the "8" count. In St. Louis Imperial Swing, we begin stepping immediately on any of the music's downbeats; however, this is not true of all styles of dance. In the Cha-Cha, for instance, dancers begin stepping after any of the music's upbeats.

Beats per minute became common terminology in popular music during the disco era because of its usefulness to DJs; and it remains important in dance music today because both our style of dance and our footwork rhythms are determined by the tempo of the music! The original or classic style of Imperial Swing, which is danced "in the round," is performed to music with a faster tempo (130-185 bpm) using primarily the slower single step and double step footwork rhythms. Today's contemporary style of Imperial Swing, which is danced within a slot, is a combination of both East Coast Swing (135-175 bpm) and West Coast Swing (75-115 bpm). Dancers perform this popular, "slot-bop" hybrid to music with a slower tempo (100-135 bpm), and they use primarily the faster, triple step footwork rhythms. Remember, the terms are music timing (or tempo) and footwork rhythms (or steps) but not vice versa!

The "time signatures" of different music styles tell dancers how many beats there are to a measure, and which note represents that beat. Swing music uses 4/4 timing; that is, there are 4 beats to a measure (4/4) and the quarter note gets the beat (4/4). For example, on the 1 and 2 count of your six-count, triple step footwork, the "1" is an eighth note (or a half-beat) and the "and of 1" is an eighth note (or a half-beat). Together they add up to a quarter note or 1 beat; and the "2" count is a quarter note or 1 beat. On the 3 and 4 count, the "3" is an eighth note (or a half-beat), and the "and of 3" is an eighth note (or a half-beat). Together they add up to a quarter note or 1 beat; and the "4" count is a quarter note or 1 beat. These 2 beats bring the cumulative total up to 4 beats or one measure.

Finally, on the 5 - 6 breakstep, the "5" count is a quarter note (or 1 beat) and the "6" count is a quarter note (or 1 beat). These final two 2 counts bring the total up to six beats or one and a half measures. To summarize this footwork count, dancers take eight steps in six beats of the music. Good dancers let the music tell them what to do with their feet. If they begin their footwork on any of the song's downbeats, and then end it on the sixth (or eighth) beat, then they are dancing in time with the music and finishing their steps when they are supposed to. As Skippy Blair, the renowned swing dance teacher, author and recipient of the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame Award, tells her students: "please don't tell me how long to hold the beat; just tell me what the count is, so I can place my feet!

Copyright 2008 Skip Culver, Certified Swing Instructor. Member of the West County Swing Dance Club and author of the manual: Imperial Swing Dancing (visit:

Henry H. "Skip" Culver, Jr. is a member of the West County Swing Dance Club in St. Louis Missouri. He is a Gold Seal Instrument Flight Instructor and the author of the bestselling book on navigation titled: IFR 'Pocket Simulator' Procedures. In 2000 Skip turned his attention from aviation towards the dance floor. He became a Certified Swing Dance Instructor in 2004, and then with over seven years of detailed notes from various classes and workshops in hand, he began assembling the Imperial Swing Dancing manual which he published in June of 2007. Skip is a frequent contributor of articles on swing dancing to different club newsletters throughout the United States.

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Try Writing A Humorous Or Novelty Song

If you are a songwriter, you may sometimes feel like you're in a rut, like you keep coming up with the same basic ideas and situations to write about. One way to break out of this endless loop is to purposely write a song dealing with something lightweight, funny, or just plain strange.

Let's face it. Most pop and rock-type songs are about one and only one subject: good old-fashioned L-O-V-E. That's right, in music it's always boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl, singing about it the whole time. There are songs about being lonely and songs about being trapped. There are songs about good relationships, and even more songs about the others. And of course, there's the physical side of things.

Back in the Ancient Days (i.e. the 50s and early 60s), most of the songs were about love all right, but there were always two or three "novelty songs" on the charts and on the radio. The very first song I remember learning to sing along with was "Witch Doctor," by David Seville, with its evocative chorus, "Oo ee oo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang." Good stuff. There was also "The Purple People Eater," written by Barry Cryer, about a creepy alien who....well, you remember. And who can forget the Chipmunks? (Especially since they're apparently still around.)

Some songs were basically about love, but with a novel take on the subject. Does anyone remember Dodie Stevens singing "Pink Shoe Laces," written by Mickie Grant?

He wears tan shoes with pink shoelaces

A polka dot vest and man oh man

Tan shoes with pink shoelaces

And a big Panama with a purple hat band

It's a little hard to picture the guy she's singing about, but you have to admit they're novel lyrics!

Laugh At Me

There just don't seem to be as many humorous or novelty songs around any more, unless I'm looking for laughs in all the wrong places. As a songwriter, you can take it as a challenging exercise to write at least one song that has an noticeably light touch. But where would you get an idea for such a song? Don't make me laugh! There are ideas all around. The next time your friend cracks you up, make a mental note of what you were joking about and what she said. Odds are you can build a song around it! (I'm serious. This works.)

If someone (maybe you) tells a funny story that has everyone in stitches, guess what? That's another possible subject for a song. You must have heard the ultimate story-song, "Alice's Restaurant," by Arlo Guthrie. Your story doesn't have to be as involved as that one to make for a good song. And feel free to fudge the facts! It's a song, not testimony. Use your imagination. Embellish.

People on TV are always saying things that could be song titles or lines from songs, if you'll just set your ears to listen for them. I've written a lot of songs based on things people said on TV. One of them is "Shut Up and Dance," which was something someone said on an otherwise lame sitcom I saw one night. You can listen to the song here.

As soon as I heard that phrase, I thought it would make a good call-and-response chorus, going back and forth between "shut up and dance" and something else. Once I started writing the verses, I got it all written right away, which is rare for me. I usually have trouble with the third verse, especially when there is a tight pattern of rhyme and rhythm. I really got into being this frustrated guy who just wants to dance. I could have written even more verses if I'd needed them!

Something you might find interesting about this song is that the chord pattern in the bridge is the same as the chorus. I can't remember whether I did that on purpose (probably not), but I can't remember another song where that's true.

Anyway, the point is, if I can do it you can too. Unless you're in a Norwegian death metal band or something, your music is sure to benefit from a touch of humor, a dash of wit. Go for it!

Mark Bendig is The Cheap Advice Guy, owner and operator of, offering "Tips from the trenches on Songwriting, Home Recording, and Live Sound." A series of eBooks on these very topics will be available on the website in Summer 2008.

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Music Review of YogaMotion - White Swan Yoga Masters Volume 4

Lauren Peterson, another nationally recognized yoga practitioner and teacher, meticulously crafted Yoga Motion: White Swan Yoga Masters Vol. 4, as a sacred blend of male and female energies. Lauren is one of the few advanced (Fourth Series) ashtanga yoga practitioners in the United States. She has been featured in many magazines including Yoga Journal, as well as on television in the PBS series Healing Quest. If you're familiar with Dance Wave or Sweat Your Prayers events, you will readily appreciate the fabulous selection of music Lauren made for Yoga Motion. Starting with the slow, sensuous "Invocation to Water" by Shaman's Dream, by the third track, "Partner World" by Mass Ensemble, you'll be dancing like there's no tomorrow.

Of course, you may choose to do yoga or other forms of movement instead of dance with this incendiary collection of songs, but dance is my thing. "Napas," the next track, by Mercan Dede, continues the intense, even outrageous world beat groove. But then, a few tracks later, Jai Uttal and Ben Leinbach slow things down a bit with "Mahadeva." Before this exquisite CD concludes, we're treated to Prem Joshua and Manish Vyas doing "Habibi" and Deva Premal singing "Guru Rinpoche Mantra" as only she can. In short, Yoga Motion: White Swan Yoga Masters Vol. 4 takes the listener on a most extraordinary journey. With over 77 minutes of music, by the time you're finished moving your body to this delicious selection of tracks, you'll be ready for a break.

As is often the case with great compilations, one of the joys of Yoga Motion is the opportunity to get to know some terrific artists who you might not otherwise get to hear. I urge you to spend some time soon with the exotic, over-the-top joy of Yoga Motion: White Swan Yoga Masters Vol. 4.

Steve Ryals has been writing music reviews since 1994, and to date has published more than 1200. Steve specializes in World Beat, Native American, New Age, Meditation, Contemporary Instrumental, Chanting, Devotional Singing, and more. He currently writes two music reviews every month as part of his Drunk with Wonder Newsletter. To sign up for his FREE newsletter go to

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How To Energize Your Workout With Music Downloads

Listening to upbeat vibrate music during an exercise workout is an excellent method for completing a set. Music downloaded to a MP3 player directs your thoughts and actions while in a gym or jogging outside. Your brain and body react to the tempo, the genre and the volume of music to the ears.

A group of discouraged workout clients were recently polled asking why they feel burned out trying to get back in shape. The most common answers received were boredom and lack of concentration to stay the course.

In the quest to provide the best environment for guests, the health club industry has invested heavily in flat screen TVs and wireless audio transmitters. What they failed to test was the medium. TV is still TV. Whether on a big screen or small screen, the shows have not changed. In fact, if you want a serious down mood, watch the local noon news. That will not get you pumped up to push harder!

In fact, my gym invested in a new wireless transmitter system for the six new flat screens. Guess what? I have never seen anyone actually hookup their headphones to the fitness equipment. Why? It is still TV.

If you choose not to listen to the daily tube antics, you soon find yourself spacing out. You can chat to your neighbor, or hum a song in your head. After awhile, you start to feel the pain of your arms or legs or both. Then you notice the sweat dripping constantly down your back.

You start to think about your body type. You may look around and ponder the bodies that are rock solid and fit. The self conscious voices may start to talk about your "looks". The result of this inner conflict is a slowing in intensity of the exercise. When will this be over? Maybe I will push the "cool down" button on the bike. No one will notice but me.

The secret, my friend, to a vigorous cardio workout that stays the course is positive, lively music. Think about the last time you were singing in the car, clapping your hands and swaying back and forth to a tune. Yes, we all do it hoping not to be seen! Your mental mood is much happier.

The invention of the small MP3 player has transformed the music industry. Now, a computer, the internet and the MP3 player create an on-demand library of virtually any type of music. Music from around the world is easily downloaded and stored.

I have a love for contemporary Christian music. The more drums and trumpets a song has the better. I will get online at night and within a few minutes download music of my choice, my genre, and my tempo for my workout.

After starting out with slower music to clear my mind of the day's events, I step it up to rock the elliptical machine! You will find yourself wanting to sing out loud because this is your favorite music.

What happens next is the miracle. You glance down at the computerized display on the cardio equipment. You are already one half of the way through your workout. This is the best time to ADD more minutes to the clock.

You also have not heard any moaning from your body. You hear no inner voices wanting you to stop. Your mood is incredibly positive. Some songs will actually have the same beat as the pedals on your feet. This is fantastic when it works. You are in the zone now.

After 10 songs are over, you have pedaled right through the cool down cycle and the clock has stopped counting. What a rush that creates. Will you contain yourself and not dance down the hall to the showers?

More than likely, you are reading this article on a computer. Download music from the many sites available for nominal cost. Our website's Blog has numerous links to great music download sites.

In conclusion, skip the TV. You owe that to yourself. Do not allow the boredom and lack of concentration to derail your workout. Power up the MP3, load some great songs with fast beats. Mix up the music tempo if you are moving from one set of equipment to another. It is now OK to sing back to the showers!

All rights reserved Keith Crovatt

Are you looking to get back in top physical shape without the hype and lies? Keith Crovatt has assembled leading experts, tips, tricks and techniques to guide you. Sign-up for the FREE newsletter and get the mini-course "Why You Should Say No To Quick Weight Loss!" Click here=>

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Why Multimedia Content Is Good For You!

Whilst competition is, in many instances, a good thing, in terms of pushing up the quality, reducing the cost to the end user, creating greater choice in the marketplace and harbouring innovation it presents the problem of engagement, particularly in the online sphere.

The rich media and applications of sites like the BBC, YouTube, Trip Advisor, the quality editorial of shopping portals including Amazon and the major social networking sites of Facebook and Bebo fight for attention against conventional platforms, and whilst this statement doesn't consider the innumerable users and their diverse online needs it goes in some way to illustrate the state of the playing field, and how the bar really has been raised.

But what is your strategy? How can you engage customers? How do you compete for their attention? And once you've got customers, how do you retain them? In addition, how can you make cost savings in your marketing by turning visitors into loyal repeat customers who might in turn spread the word about your products and services?

One such engagement tool is multimedia content, which encompasses audio and video content. These multimedia mediums, allow business and website owners to engage with users and communicate differently to the traditional static pages of text and images users might expect from much of the web.

An excellent example of this might include branded videos which describe your services, 'sell' your products and encourage readership in a way that pages of content just can't, as well as differentiating yourself from the competition.

This user centric approach serves the needs of the ever savvy user, who craves information and will just as quickly move off your website if they cannot find the information they need, and multimedia content is another tool to effectively communicate.

Multimedia content needn't stop at video either as the use of podcasting technology represents a further opportunity to demonstrate authority in your sector by communicate news, interviews and other discussions in the form of a downloadable podcast, over, or in additional to, traditional static pages.

Therefore the opportunity to increase your conversions is presented when harnessing multimedia content, which can

- Heighten the perception of your brand

- Cement your position as an authority within your field

- Enhance the user experience

- Naturally attracts links to your website

- Differentiate from your competitions and

- Encourage customers to visit the other pages of your website or 'find out more'

In this age of competitively, engagement is a key consideration, and this is just one reason why multimedia content is good for you.

Adventure Connections specialise in stag weekends and hen weekends all over the UK, offering an extensive and exciting range of stag party ideas.

This article is free for republishing - One link must be active. 2008 Simon Dance

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Mark Knopfler Kill To Get Crimson Rock Music CD Review

The exceptionally talented Rock artist Mark Knopfler has released him CD entitled Kill To Get Crimson. I am very confident and happy to announce that I believe Mark Knopfler fans, and Rock fans alike will be pleased with this one. With the release of Kill To Get Crimson Mark Knopflers artistic excellence is on full display as Knopfler has once again delivered a brilliant collection of tracks that could very well be him best work to date.

Unfortunately, its not everyday that I get a CD from an artist that I can just pop in and comfortably listen to from beginning to end. There is usually a song or two that I just cant force myself to get through. Not at all the case with Kill To Get Crimson. Every track is enjoyable and was pretty easy for me to listen to from start to finish.

Mark Knopfler possesses the characteristic of being able to win you over with him talent alone. The kind of artist I frankly just flat out enjoy listening to.

This is a first rate CD, delivering a little something for everyone. I give it two thumbs up. Its quite simply great listening. A must buy if you're even mildly into Rock music.

While the entire CD is outstanding some of my favorites are track 1 - True Love Will Never Fade, track 9 - Behind With The Rent, and track 12 - In The Sky

My Bonus Pick, and the one that got Sore [ in "Stuck On REpeat"] is track 7 - Punish The Monkey. Outstanding!

Kill To Get Crimson Release Notes:

Mark Knopfler originally released Kill To Get Crimson on September 18, 2007 on the Warner Bros. Records label.

CD Track List Follows:

1. True Love Will Never Fade

2. Scaffolder's Wife, The

3. Fizzy And the Still, The

4. Heart Full Of Holes

5. We Can Get Wild

6. Secondary Waltz

7. Punish the Monkey

8. Let It All Go

9. Behind With the Rent

10. Fish And the Bird, The

11. Madame Geneva's

12. In the Sky get useful information for actors and extras.

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