What's the difference: Lindy Hop Vs. East Coast Swing?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by achilles007, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    I can't find or link in sound clips right now so I'll just type stuff out but hopefully can add in some examples later or send you in a PM if I can't post links and all that being new here.

    Now if you've got 4/4 count music there are 4 beats in a bar so bar goes

    |1 2 3 4|1 2 3 4|1 2 3 4|1 2 3 4

    dancers count up to 8 but in music notation with bars you just go to 4 since the bar has four beats in 4/4 music. Those beats all are even except there's usually a slight emphasis on the 1 (that's how you know it's the one normally). Those notes are usually called quarter notes and four quarter notes make up a full bar in 4/4 time.

    Music doesn't only use quarter notes though so you can divide one quarter note into two eighth notes (that's where the one-a two-a type counting comes in for dancers often). You can also divide a quarter note even further into 4 sixteenth notes. So in the time it takes to play one quarter note you could also play 4 sixteenth notes, when you hear fast runs in classical music it's very often 16th notes.

    |1...2...3...4...|1...2...3...4...|1...2...3...4...|1...2...3...4...

    These bars are basically the same as the ones I wrote out earlier except now I'm marking 16th notes (it would get too cluttered writing out the 1,2,3,4 for each bar so I just write out the 1 and then have dots for 2,3,4

    Normal unswung 8th notes take up 2 16th notes each, so same bar, still keeping the 16th note dots for reference but have put a semi colon where the pulse for the unswung 8th notes go (the a in one-a, two-a)

    |1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:.|1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:.|1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:.|1.:.2.:.3.:.4.:.

    When you have swung rythm the two 8th notes that take up a quarter note or a beat don't have equal duration. One borrows a bit of time from the next 8th note so the rythm isn't even anymore, it's swung.

    Bit like this

    |1..:2..:3..:4...:|1..:2..:3..:4...:|1..:2..:3..:4...:|1..:2..:3..:4...:

    However that notation isn't accurate either because the 8th note that's stealing a bit of time usually steals a bit less than a full extra 16th note and it does depend on the song exactly how much the 8ths are swung (or how uneven a pair of 8th notes is. Together they always fit in one count so it's still 4/4 music.

    It's much easier to describe this with examples, I'll try to add some in later.

    In lindy the triple steps are swung, as in the time between the steps is not even but follows the swung 8th notes, but this can only happen if the music actually swings. If the 8ths are not swung you end with a more of a cha cha cha rythm in the triple steps because no 1 is to be with the music and that' why I much prefer dancing lindy to swung music because I can really feel it in my body and the timing of my steps.
    Lioness likes this.
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh my gosh! That is perfect! I'll take some time to read through and may ask questions later. :) Thank you so much.

    If you have links/videos, etc, you can PM them to me. I'd be happy to post them. :)
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I would love those examples,whenever you get a chance. I think I've got it, but if there are songs that illustrate, that would really help.

    I'm thinking that the idea of a swung rhythm is similar to that augmented second interval my violin teacher used to make such a deal about. If you want to sound in tune, you have to stretch that second finger a bit (my fingers are big, so I'd just kinda of tilt forward and stretch a little bit. It's still a second, but it's exaggerated.

    Or kind of like a triplet, that stretches three notes over the space that two would normally take.

    Or kind of like a reeeally long legato.

    None of these is what you said, I know. But I think I have the concept. Please correct me if I'm off base. If I'm on the right path, an audio example of swung versus non-swung would cement my learning.

    Not that you work here or anything, but if you have information to share, I would love to learn from you.

    You rock. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out. :)
  4. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    I'll get examples together at some point in the next 24 hours. I love sharing stuff I love so I can talk for hours on this sort of stuff.

    You're not far off and if you understand triplets (three notes in a beat) it's sometimes a lot like playing a triplet where the first two notes of the triplet are slurred and are the same note so you still have two notes over the space that two notes would normally take but they don't stop and start in the middle. Does that make sense?
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Perfect sense. Thanks. :)
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Siggav, really appreciate the time you are taking to address this.

    Don't let me side track you, but am interested in "swing fiddle." As in Stuff Smith, Joe Venuti, Stepane Grapelli, rather than the people who played with the Western Swing outfits? Might have another quesition or two for you there.

    Very nice to have a musician who both plays AND dances swing.

    You've never looked into Argentine Tango? I understand there's some great violin parts to play there. (Told to me by a violinist who played, amongh other things, a tango in one of the casinos in Vegas.)
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    An aside: Is it possible to tag this thread or split off the *excellent* description of what a swing/swung rhythm is? I spent days looking and never found our older threads. I know that dnice and others had the discussion before (although not from a musician's perspective, or I'd have understood.) I would hate to have somebody else have to go scrambling to find such awesome info.
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Thought of this, also. It's a good idea.
    Would like to #1 see how much farther it goes, and #2 maybe have Siggav start the thread with some sort of intro, and a title such as "Swing Explained" so it's obvious that it's her contribution - a "by line" if you would for the thread.
    Or does that not seem important?

    Want to suggest a title?

    Will check around to see how to work it.
    It WILL happen one way or another.
  9. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    Steve - yep that type of swing fiddle, Grappelli is pretty much my idol. I've just dabbled a bit and am no where near actually competent at it. Wish I were but I don't have the spare time to try to learn it better at this point (too busy learning how to dance lindy, blues and balboa at the moment)

    I love tango music and I have played some tango influenced pieces but it would be too much for me to add learning another dance at this point. I have a day job and play in a community orchestra, do pilates and go dancing 3x a week. That's plenty for one person.

    Also feel free to split off my post or something, I should probably have started another thread with it originally but didn't think to do that
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I <3 Stephane Grapelli.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Got another incredibly helpful post from Siggav via PM. Now I have to figure out how to post it. Working on it. :) Thanks, Siggav.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Was it something I said?

    Jan Savitt played in LA during the WW II years, and in checking on him ran across this. Would you say it swings?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=OfcFxeoAC2Q&NR=1

    Synapses connecting....
    So I did a little search.
    Although he may not be remembered as a major figure of the American big band era, Jan Savitt helped popularise a style of music known as 'shuffle rhythm' which was later utilised by performers such as Lionel Hampton, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima and Fats Domino, and can still be heard in the music of recent years.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Nope. Siggav is too new to post links and I haven't figured out how to get all the links in, but I will.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  15. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, right!
    Will help if you(pl) want, but not til tomorrow. I see DWTS is on tonight.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    No problem. I'm working on it now. :)
  17. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Is that like Picard on Star Trek TNG? (I have a LOT to learn.)
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Awesome post from siggav:



    Glen Miller's in the Mood starts with a run of swung eigths, it's what gives the music the lilt and the swing. The whole song is swung and has that swung rythm but it's nice that it starts solo with the swung 8ths so they're easier to hear




    If you can imagine all those 8th notes played "straight" i.e. not swung the song would feel really flat.

    My current jam song, Carsie Blanton's Baby can Dance,




    She sings her 8ths swung but it's harder to pick out I guess if you're not looking for it.
    Anyway in that song at around 2:08 time you get a solo where you should be able to really clearly hear the swung 8ths again.

    Then a counter example, this verison of Elvis Presley - Hound dog does not swing. You can hear how the 8th notes in the guitar are not swung




    Then for fun, this is one of my favourite lindy dancing clips at the moment. Don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!




    This is from a jack and jill competition, i.e. they entered as individuals and then got randomly paired up and have to dance to a song where they have no idea in advance exactly what song will play. The playfulness of their connection and musicality is just brilliant and that sort of lilting fluid playfulness is much harder to try to get when dancing to non swung music.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh my gosh! That makes it so obvious!! Elvis sounds stiff by comparison (no disrespect to Elvis, btw.) I can finally hear it!! Yay.

    Thanks siggav. :)
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Picardy third = song in a minor key ends in a major key. Or, if anyone doesn't know what that means, a song that sounds sad ends on a happy note.

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