Dance Music

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Dance music is music that is composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing. Dance music consists of a huge variety of music, from waltzes to rock and roll. However, the term has come to refer more to electronic music such as disco, house, techno and trance.

Most dancers agree that good dance music helps them "feel the beat" of the music. Popular dances songs can be heard on the radio and in dance clubs.

Dance music uses simple beats and baselines, incorporating catchy melodies and lyrics that seem to stay in your mind for long after the music stops. Following are various genres of dance music.

Electronic Dance Music:

Electronic dance music is made using electronics and is usually heard in dance nightclubs, on popular radio stations, and on television shows and movies. Electronic dance music became popular after the boom of personal computers during the 1980's.

Electronic dance music is composed using computers and synthesizers instead of physical instruments. Synthesizers, sound cards, samplers, and drum machines interact with each other to achieve perfectly-synchronized sounds.

Folk Dance Music:

Folk dances are traditional social dances of ethnic groups from all over the world that are generally performed at weddings, parties, and other social gatherings. The tempo (pace) of folk dance music can be anywhere from slow and meditative to vigorously aerobic.

Many people feel that live music at folk dances helps the dancers to experience feelings of community more so than recorded music. An example of traditional folk dance music played in the United States is music heard during square dances.

Historical Dance Music:

Dance music can be traced back as far as the Ancient Greeks.

Dancing was very popular during the Dark Ages, although the Christian Church thought dancing was linked to the devil. Early Western dance music consisted of medieval dances. During the Baroque period, composers started to write pieces of music based on dance rhythms.

During the Classical music period, composers wrote symphonies and string quartets. A lot of music during this time was written for dancing or easy listening. The waltz popularized during the Romantic era. French operas also contained plenty of dance music.

1920's Dance Music:

Dance music became very popular during the 1920's, as people began to frequent night clubs. The standard music at these clubs was a form of jazz consisting of string instruments. The fox-trot became extremely popular during this time. The music of this time is simply known as "jazz", but some people refer to it as "white jazz" or "big band" today. During the late 1960's, lavish orchestral arrangements paved the way for soul and R&B music.

Disco Dance Music:

The disco craze peaked in the late 1970's when nightclubs were referred to as "discos." Disco music contains soaring, often reverberated vocals over a steady beat, and a prominent, syncopated electric bass line.

Background sounds may include strings, horns, electric pianos, and electric guitars. The flute is often used for solo melodies, but lead guitar is used sparingly. Popular disco performers include Bee Gees, Amanda Lear, Donna Summer and The Jacksons.