Playing Dance Music with Cool Tempo-ratures
By Raymond Cyr
The purpose of music is to make you happy, dance, and sing, and to unite with others as we share an enjoyable time of experience. I recall the first time I went to a dance and listened to music fill the room. I looked around and some people were dancing like the night would never end, and some just stood around talking and making friends. I spent most of my time studying people who were like me,“trying to find someone to dance with”. My height was all of 5’ short, such that all the girls were taller than me. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from approaching available girls who were always in a group. I would ask each girl to dance, and each one would laugh and walk away. However, there was always one who felt bad for me and would say, “yes I will.” My persistent determination always found a dance partner. It was a lesson in dancing.
My “dancing lessons” formed my attitude towards rhythm so much so that when I joined a rock and roll band in 1963, as a drummer, I purposely focused to create a drum beat that would make people dance. I purposed to have a dance beat in every song that I performed whether it was an original or a copy of another band. My drumming technique helped my group win a battle of the bands.
Every style of music has a purpose, but not all music will make you dance. Even the best songs are in need of being played correctly to produce the best response. Musicians know that the notes they play must synchronize, be in tune, and harmonize with the other notes being played by other instruments. The concern for unity during performance is directly connected with the tempo of the piece.
I consider musical “tempo” as the “temp”-erature of the song. Hot tempo is fast music, normal tempo is walking pace music, and cool tempo is dancing music.
Known as the “heartbeat”, tempo is an essential part of a musical piece. Each song has a certain speed which plays so many “beats per minute” (BPM). That certain speed or tempo of a song offers a variety of beat combinations that will fit into that time zone (BPM). Those combinations inspire people to create unique, fun, and reminiscent dance movements.
From my perspective, over the last 50 years, the temperature of music has gone through many “climate changes”. We have come a long way from the simple hip swaying dance music. In the 1960’s, we danced so much that it was hard to gain weight! Eventually, the balance between musicians and dancers got “out of control”, and for many seasons, the dancing focus shifted from group to self, rather than a dance party where everyone was cool. I suggest we create greater dance floor space, with live music by musicians who perform to cool tempos which will cause a revival of unified, happy, group dance.
Ray Cyr is the drum instructor and administrator at Studio 237 Music School located in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Private music lessons are taught to students of all ages (5 and up) on a variety of instruments. For more information contact Ray or Lisa Cyr at 850-231-3199, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit their website at www.Studio237Music.com.