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  1. #1
    Senior Member nightdancer's Avatar
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    Default Mapping your music

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if you do anything special when you are learning your music. One of my fellow dancers, the lovely Ameena (a member here) showed me some handy things. I was curious what, if anything, you all do.

  2. #2
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    I listen, listen and listen even more until I know every little turn of it (big surprise, huh? )

    I could listen to the whole song over and over and over, but I also analyse the music looking for some sort of structure; if it is pop music, could I find patterns such as verses and refrains? If it is a more classical piece, I look for shifts in rhythms, instrumentation etc.
    If it is a complicated part with lots of ornamentation and details I sometimes lower the tempo until I get it, or just focus on parts of it.

    What do you do?
    --
    Daim.

  3. #3
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    For class I know it'll be repeated over and over so I'll get it, and I don't bother breaking it down (I am so lazy ). Eventually the choreography and the music help each other, if that makes sense - I know what's coming in the choreography because I know what the music is going to do, and vice versa.

    If it's something I'm doing for myself I'll break it down by writing it out in sections alongside the time to find the repeats and patterns - this usually involves daft descriptive names so I know which bit I mean and can fix it in my mind. Then I can work on each section, breaking it down further if necessary.

    I've just taken it to extremes to find and cut part of a repeated section (wouldn't do this to do the choreography, it's too weird)

    2.59 Daaaaaah da, deedle dayyyyya doodle doodle, Daaaaaah (flourishy twiddle) … doodle doodle, 1 2 3
    3:08 Dadeedi dahdahdahdah 1 2 3 pingy drum...

  4. #4
    Moderator Daimona's Avatar
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    Yes, I sometimes write the music as well. Here's an example from a drum solo:
    02:11
    Brrt brrt
    Brrt brrt
    Brrt brrt
    brrtaktak

    02:17
    Brrr taka
    Brrr taka
    Brr brr
    Taktak tek
    --
    Daim.

  5. #5
    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    I wonder if Ameena uses Brianna's technique, which we both learned when our troupe hosted Brianna for a workshop a few years ago . . .

    Brianna has you listen to the music over and over, until you can hear the key tempo changes. Once you start to think of it as "this part sounds like veil" and "this part needs some turns" and "this part is a traveling step," then you can either start writing down the timestamps of those music changes, or (what I do), just start dancing to those sections. Brianna had this whole method of mapping all the music on paper, which is probably great if you are teaching others the choreo. But, for me, when it is JUST me, I tend to just choreograph certain parts of the songs, such as the choruses, or a major music change. And, there will be whole sections where the extent of my thinking is, "I'll just do whatever I feel like <here>". Real fancy, I know, but in my heart I am an improv dancer, who occasionally slips into choreography. It's funny, because I can do true choreography only in a group -- on my own, I can go out there with the best of intentions and will get sidetracked into improv land within minutes . . .

    Regards,

    Anala

  6. #6
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I learnt this method which I sometimes use but not always. And sometimes I do it when choosing the music, just to sort it out, and then I don't look at it any more.
    Let's see if I can explain.

    1st listen: make a line for each count grouped in eights (or fours, if the music sounds like it. like this:
    llllllll
    llllllll
    llllllll
    etc...
    2nd and 3rd: Draw a line between the groups when the music changes to divide the parts (intro, vers, refrain, break or part A, part B, etc. whatever you like to call it) and name the parts, like this:
    llllllll intro
    llllllll
    llllllll part A
    llllllll
    llllllll
    llllllll
    llllllll
    llllllll part B
    llll___
    llllllll break
    llllllll
    llllllll refrain
    llllllll
    llllllll part A (again)
    ..... etc

    4th: listen to the rhythms and write each part's rhythm on the sheet.
    5th: listen to the instruments, write them on and mark which is the main instrument for each part.
    6th: could be whatever you feel necessary to add, like any special feeling for the parts, styles, levels or whatever you like to use for getting a sense of the expression: Baladi, floaty, energetic, snakey, jumpy, veil, floor, etc

    We did this exercise with instrumental music but I think lyrics could come in as step 6 too.

    After this you can begin to add a few moves that goes with the feelings or style.

    I am very intuitive and not an excel-sheet kinda girl so I don't use all of these steps for mapping but I found it very useful to know.
    Hopefully I have been able to explain it to you too.
    Last edited by gisela; 06-01-2010 at 09:15 AM.

  7. #7
    Member LeylaLanty's Avatar
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    When I am working on a choreography to teach, I use the same method as Gisela. My notes look very much like hers! I use that method like she does to sort out the music. Before I start writing it down, though, I listen to the piece over and over and get a feel for what the music "tells" me to do. Then I map the counts in it like Gisela does, separating the counts into sections and making notes about repetition. Then I fill in with notes about what the music tells me to do in each part.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nightdancer's Avatar
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    My notes look like that, too. Is that what Briana taught, Anala?

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    Gisela's method is very close to what I do too. I also write the music time in sections, like 2:54-3:01, so I can find the phrase on my ipod without looking too hard.

    Having iTunes open in the mini player mode helps me a lot while I dink around with the choreography in Microsoft Word.

    At the bottom of the page I write combos and movements I'd like to incorporate if there is a good spot in the music for it. That way I don't forget stuff I'd like to possibly put in.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I am glad to see that what I was taught is used with success by others too
    Perhaps I should do it more, also for practice.

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