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Tap - Advanced
Musicality in tapping
By oz_helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11196, member since Sat Aug 10, 2002
On Tue Apr 28, 2009 05:08 AM

This board's been a bit quiet for a while, so here's some questions for you all about musicality.

Are you a counter or do you feel the music?

What in the music do you listen to to decide how to use light and shade in your tapping?

Helen

8 Replies to Musicality in tapping

re: Musicality in tapping
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Tue Apr 28, 2009 01:04 PM
Until this year I never counted. Ever. With tap it's hard for me to count because I will rush it.

This school year I only started to count because some of the music was funky and I didn't feel it.

I'll get back to you on the second question.
re: Musicality in tapping
By adageacemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3982, member since Thu Sep 01, 2005
On Tue Apr 28, 2009 03:37 PM
Hm, yes, I'm more of a feeler than a counter - which is a pain, as I have to be able to count everything for teaching exams! I've found myself just memorising the counts in most cases, whereas if I could get away with just going "dum de dum diddly dum" I could do it standing on my head.

The other girls in my Adv 1 class are the same - we started the set rhythmic response the other week, and when told the proper counts beforehand, our reaction was "huh?"... As soon as the music came on, though, it suddenly all fell into place.

Funnily enough, out of the three teachers who have taken me for tap classes, two think I'm naturally rhythmical and musical... and one insists that I'm not. I'm assuming that latter is from seeing me dance less often, and the fact that in her mind I'm "the late starter" in the school who's going into teaching as I'm too old and too inept for performance. Very frustrating, though.
re: Musicality in tapping
By oz_helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11196, member since Sat Aug 10, 2002
On Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:25 PM
I both count and feel the music. When I am choreographing, I don't bother counting, because I feel the music and memorise how the rhythms fit. However, when I'm teaching that choreography to somebody else, I make sure I count it out accurately.

My pet hate is when choreographers/teachers are teaching me a combination and they are neither counting it, nor keeping any semblance of continuity of tempo. So I have no idea how it fits with the music until they actually show me the completed steps to the music. I don't mind people that don't count as long as they demonstrate all parts of the combo at the same tempo. Then at least I can figure out the counts and how it fits with the music before it's all put together.

Helen
re: Musicality in tapping
By glitterfairyPremium member Comments: 12135, member since Tue Oct 01, 2002
On Thu Apr 30, 2009 08:25 AM
Edited by glitterfairy (42646) on 2009-04-30 08:26:12
Edited by glitterfairy (42646) on 2009-04-30 08:26:27
Edited by glitterfairy (42646) on 2009-04-30 08:27:48
Edited by glitterfairy (42646) on 2009-04-30 08:28:10
I'm a feeler. I've never had to count out loud unless it was for other people's benefit - eg demonstrating or teaching.

Ironically, none of my main tap teachers counted much out loud, although I know at least one of them is a counter (I only found out they counted when I overheard them telling someone else they counted in their heads all the time in my teens!). I tend to incorporate quite a lot of counting and basic rhythmwork in my tap classes though, as I'm very sensitive to timing and even an eighth of a beat out can my ears twitch :S (is this the rhythm equivalent of being pitch-perfect? Seems to be common amongst drummers and high-level tappers)

I rejoice at finding natural 'feelers' amongst my students, however I also feel it is very important for me to say that I would never withhold counts from my students (including the feelers) unless it was a specific exercise to test their counting ability. I strongly believe that there is nothing more crucial in tap than to be in time and understand why. I've had a teacher who saw nothing wrong with leaving her students in the directionless timing-wise to complex polyrhythm music, and I found it very frustrating, and hope none of my students are ever in the same situation.

Light and shade - again, I feel it out and get a sense for when it's right or not, using the music as a guide/base. I'm sure there's a fancier theoretical version, but that's it in a nutshell ;)
re: Musicality in tapping
By OddSockPremium member Comments: 795, member since Tue Dec 20, 2005
On Fri May 01, 2009 02:39 AM
I'm a feeler too. I can count, I just don't like to most of the time. Actually, in my last tap class, we had choreography assignments, and we had to notate everything. It drove me NUTS. haha

If I'm teaching choreography, I usually ask the person/people I'm teaching if they want counts or want me to scat it/just demonstrate it. If it's a technique class, I do a combination of both.

Light and shade...that's a tough one. I just...do it? It's hard to explain. I listen to the music, what all the different instruments are doing, and go from there. If I can think of a better way to explain it I'll come back later. ;)
re: Musicality in tapping
By dancetree Comments: 237, member since Sat Sep 15, 2007
On Fri May 01, 2009 12:51 PM
For myself, I mostly feel the beat in the music. As a percussionist (piano and drums), I think I'm naturally a rhythmic person, in that I can hear the beat and the emphasis/non-emphasis in the music rather than the counts. Does that even make sense?!

Sometimes I do think I count, though. When I'm teaching, I make sure to count everything out, just in case my students don't necessarily "hear" the music the way I do.

As for light and shade, my biggest pet peeve in tap is when choreographers teach an entire routine on one level, with no emotion behind the taps. It's all well and good to perform a tap routine at high volume the whole way through, but I think the addition of light and shade shows the dancers' musicality - which impresses me way more than their steps.

~ dancetree, proud recipient of the "Musicality Award" at Rhee Gold's way back in high school for her tap solo to an a cappella Bobby McFerrin song ;)
re: Musicality in tapping
By martyCTT Comments: 176, member since Sun Jan 04, 2009
On Tue May 05, 2009 12:23 PM
I think musicality is beyond either counting or feeling- its more of a combination of both.

Musicality comes from LISTENING and UNDERSTANDING, then REACTING. As loud as our feet can get, we must still be good listeners.

When it comes to understanding, what is it that is interesting in the music? Why is the composer doing that? Is it interesting because of that triplet rhythm being laid over the duple? or maybe its that run of 1/8th notes? Don't forget the swing and syncopation! Anyway thats how I see it, I need to count in my head(mind you I never was a "good" counter) but I need to count in my head to give the rhythm something to grip to.

The other thing I listen for is the music's phrasing. I guess you could call this the "feeling" aspect. Phrasing really gives you a direction, and I think really sets the tone for the piece. Maybe the music just has a simple idea repeated over the whole piece, something you can maybe emulate or act in opposition to. Or maybe the music will explore one idea for a while, go do something else, and then come back to that first idea, like in Bebop with an A A B A pattern. All exciting stuff to think about. I think once you really start digging into the nitty gritty of music you can start to see how those structures in the music can influence the structure of your dance.

Oh yeah, and when it comes to improvisation... all this business has to happen in real time, so yeah.
re: Musicality in tapping
By blochpointesalltmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1689, member since Sun Oct 14, 2007
On Tue May 05, 2009 05:05 PM
It sort of depends. I don't really consciously count, but when the choreographer does while teaching, I sometimes do. However, most teachers I have usually go by rhythm and timing in the music, not specific counts.

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