Saturday, November 24, 2012

A feeling of speed

After thinking a lot i noticed that the speed in music has two aspects as i see it. I try to explain how i am reasoning.

We keep us to the four quarter notes, 4/4 time signature

The first option is how long every and each quarter note is sounding. If we think ordinary tango with 5 parts, 16 measures each, then we get totally 80 measures which usually takes 2,5 mins to play. But we could modify the music file and play it faster, in 2 mins or slower so it takes 3 mins.

How many measures are passing per minute?

Another way to create a feeling of speed is the number or accents within a measure demanding our steps.

How many accents there is per measure?

As dancers we can decide the number of accents we want to use for our steps. Usually in tango we have two accents per measure. If we would step only on 1 and the same for next measure we create a much calmer, slower feeling. In milonga there is 4 accents and when we take them all it can go quite fast!

How many accents we step per measure?

When you are playing a dance video in slow motion you are using the first alternative. The music and dansers steps are the same but sloooooower.

                    In dance the steps are the changing element and the music a constant

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Traspie thoughts!

I am pretty convinced that traspie is used as a group name for all steps faster than double-time steps in tango. These fast steps come up every now an then in tango but regularly in milonga. Follow me!

When we are talking about ordinary tango, 4/4, there is a shared understanding for the usual steps, where they should be placed and how they relate to the music and the notes! The following variations are known even if there is a lot of frustration because of the names of them. In the illustrations below you find all the four beats, accents, for a 4/4 tango written as B1, B2, B3 and B4. The accents we use for ours steps will be marked with red color.

Half time-step

We take only one step during a whole measure.

You can take a step extremly slowly or decorate during the *waiting time*.

Simple time-step

We step on B1 and B3.
 The usual way to walk, to go in caminata.

Double time-step

You can do it like B1_B2_B3  or  B1_B3_B4 as illustrated below!

These are the fastest basic steps in tango in two variations.

These are the names for basic speeds for tango steps but there is a lot of situations when it goes faster and those steps are called traspie. There is traspies in tango, but it happens far more often in milonga. The ordinary milonga steps are double as fast as for tango. When you in tango take two steps you are putting down your feet four times in milonga.(*) So basic milonga steps are as double-time steps in tango, continuously. It means that if you do some kind of double-time steps in milonga they end up in traspie group; they are double-double-time in tango.

To review the traspie possibilities in milonga we need to understand the structure of milonga first. It has a basic rhythm with two accents, two beats marked below as B1 and B2, and the measure is 2/4. Above this basic rythm we have a fixed rhythmic pattern often called habanera and here marked by H1, H2, H3 and H4. Pay attention for the differences in duration for habanera accents. The basic rhythm and habanera are sounding together at B1/H1 and B2/H3 but H2 and H4 are sounding alone. Please check here! The red ones are for your steps!

The explanation below is valid for all milongas but it is not so easy to hear or produce them during a fast milonga. So try them while listening to a slow milonga, for example Milonga Sentimental.

Traspie variation 1
We step on both beats in this milonga measure, B1 and B2, as well as H4. This could be seen as a double-time step in milonga - but keep in mind that it is double-doble-time compared to tango steps above.

You can dance this in many different ways but to start with use rock step. B1 right foot forward, B2 left foot forward, H4 rockstep backward, B1 forward

Traspie variation 2
Here also we step on both beats, B1 and B2, as well as on c. There is no clear accent for c and if you have a trained ear you can get a feeling to step offbeat.This could also be seen as a double-time step in milonga/double-double-time step in tango as the case was for Traspie variation 1 above.

You can dance this in many different ways but to start with use rock step. B2-right foot forward, B1 left foot forward, c rockstep backward, B2 forward

Traspie variation 3
This traspie is fundamentally different compared to the ones above because it introduces a double-double-doubel-time step compared to tangons double-time step. We use the both basic beats B1 and B2 but this time we step even on the second habanera accent H2.

We can use the rockstep here too but the time space is so short that there is hardly time to rock but only replace the foot before us some centimeter further forward. This gives me a clear feeling of stumbling.

Here you have a link to Milonga Sentimental as a guitar version with sheet music.


Measure I                                                                                    Measure II



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

To dance with a beginner

In different discussions the combination advanced/beginner dancer is promoted as an ideal. Sometimes I find it as an expression for greed in tango context, when the beginners try to get in to a Ferrari for a fast development. Other times the leaders, it is mostly leaders in this case, want to make a good impression to the readers by announcing their generosity in this way.

The dance skill is also more seen as a Beauty kind of quality instead of a Skill for example in skiing. The first one is a static one - you got your share and that's it.There are feelings of rejection and frustration, when your goals are far a way from your place today. Only few are using these negative feelings as fuel to grow their skill.

When I compared the dance situation to a conversation I clearly understood the difference between the appreciation for a person and the skill level.

An enjoyable dance is not only about chemistry between the partners but it's a lot of about skill too! There can be a totally wonderful person but if s/he can only 10 words of our shared language there wouldn't be a conversation.

If s/he knows 2000 word but is unexperienced, our conversation is still a struggle with the language, our communication tool.

But when we know our grammar, we know the words and we have the flow after many years of use of this language, then we can forget the tools and focus on our subject. Sometimes this kind of conversation is so intense, the exploring so focused on what is within us, me and the partner - we just forget everything else!