Milonga Syncopation

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#41
.. am beginning to think there is a difference between a dancer's and a musician's syncopation. A musician could play the same 8 note scale and put emphasis on different notes: 1.3.5.7. would be "expected" (that's also a confusing word), whereas 12.45.78 would be unexpected. (Remember, still playing the same 8 notes, just changing the emphasis). How would a dancer change the emphasis on beats? By stamping? Or could a dancer only adhere, or not, to the syncopation presented in the music? I'm beginning to think a dancer could only leave out steps where steps are expected, maybe omitting them entirely, or maybe by putting the step somewhere else.
Forget about "expected". That would mean you would dance with or against an build-in metronome or memory. But actually that occurs and occurred. Watch that milongueros of BsAs that enter a milonga at a certain time to dance the same certain piece for the hundredth time,
unable to dance (sic ! dance ) to unknown music. All the same with the golden age music. Show stars like d'Arienzo and Biagi found approval with a mixture of confirming and confusing the audience. Real interpretation isn´t aware of anything like syncopation, traspie or the like!
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#42
I am puzzled because you are writing the milonga steps like
x.x.x.x. or 1.2.3.4 - x.....x.....x.....x or 1.....2.....3.....4

If these x are marking regular steps these series are describing two measures - Is it so?
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#43
I am puzzled because you are writing the milonga steps like
x.x.x.x. or 1.2.3.4 - x.....x.....x.....x or 1.....2.....3.....4

If these x are marking regular steps these series are describing two measures - Is it so?
My intention was to describe a single measure, and no, it doesn't make complete sense. Since we don't have musical notation to work with, and some people would not understand it anyway, we're just doing the best we can.

Don't forget, some milongas are written in 4/4 and others are in 2/4.
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#44
Forget about "expected". That would mean you would dance with or against an build-in metronome or memory. But actually that occurs and occurred. Watch that milongueros of BsAs that enter a milonga at a certain time to dance the same certain piece for the hundredth time, unable to dance (sic ! dance ) to unknown music. All the same with the golden age music. Show stars like d'Arienzo and Biagi found approval with a mixture of confirming and confusing the audience. Real interpretation isn´t aware of anything like syncopation, traspie or the like!
Umm, haven't I seen that axe you're grinding somewhere else before?
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#45
Here's an interesting take on vals:

The music is not syncopated. The follower is dancing on 1, while the leader is dancing on 12 or 23.
If we keep the idea that syncopation is playing against an existing, stable pattern we could get this play of thoughts

Music
No syncopation - If there was one they could have danced it

Couple's relation to music
No syncopation -Here the couple dances the regular accents.

Dance steps
Maybe syncopated - If they have been dancing, stepping together all the time and now introducing these steps
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#46
I am beginning to think there is a difference between a dancer's and a musician's syncopation. A musician could play the same 8 note scale and put emphasis on different notes: 1.3.5.7. would be "expected" (that's also a confusing word), whereas 12.45.78 would be unexpected. (Remember, still playing the same 8 notes, just changing the emphasis). How would a dancer change the emphasis on beats? By stamping? Or could a dancer only adhere, or not, to the syncopation presented in the music? I'm beginning to think a dancer could only leave out steps where steps are expected, maybe omitting them entirely, or maybe by putting the step somewhere else.
Well, my (very messy) conceptualization is of the dancer as "emphasizing" beats by either using them, not using them, or "messing" with them. I have been thinking about this mostly in the context of salsa music (just because lots of people put examples on the web (my salsa is horrible - i basically gave it up when i started tango) )
E.g. looking at http://scphillips.com/dance/salsarhythm.html :
The basic rhythm would be something like "cowbell(basic)". The melody and the other instruments do all kinds of different things (that will make me look more or less in tune with what is happening in the music). The "milonga con traspie" somewhat similar to the clave - so if i do traspie i am creating a similar pattern of emphasis of beats and parts of beats as you can hear when listening to those two together, just by the way that my movement and that part of the music aligns and disaligns itself. (i know that tango rhythms are not really like that, but this is how i conceptualize the question "how much freedom and influence on how my follower experiences my dancing and the music do i have?" - i think i have a lot of freedom, and that freedom is to a large part by dancing not on the basic pulse of the music, but by dancing around it in some way that is supported somehow by the orchestra.

The problem with this is that for this to work it has to be somehow understandable to me and to my follower how my and the musics rhythm interweave, and i have no real idea how this works in an abstract sense - i am reduced to saying the usual things about "it is all the music, you can hear where traspies fit, you can feel the milonga pulse, and just go with it". So, nothing useful at all. The best milongas seem to offer tons of ways to fit in there, and to dance with and against the different things the orchestra offers.

Gssh
 

Gssh

Well-Known Member
#47
All the same with the golden age music. Show stars like d'Arienzo and Biagi found approval with a mixture of confirming and confusing the audience.
That is the perfect definition of what we are trying to achieve! :) Confusing the audience (or in this case the follower) - and it only works because there is enough confitmation around it. Not following the expected rhythmic pattern just often enough to be a surprise and not often enough to allow the dance to become incomprehensible chaos.

Gssh
 

LadyLeader

Active Member
#48
I am not really sure if this is visible on youtube, especially as the music tends to be a bit offset on these videos so that subtle rhythmic variations are not really visible. (because of that i tend to watch tango on youtube with the sound off- the fact that music and picture are sometimes off-sync drives me crazy). Gssh
An off-beat question: I have had some experience about that with earlier videos but thought that the videos today are better because it is not bothering me now. Have you seen a change to the better with newer videos or had I just adapted?

It is illogical but when I want to see if a couple is dancing musically I turn the sound to zero. I suppose, I can fully concentrate to watch the movements, how connection and variation of rhythm is for the couple when music is not carrying and camouflaging the steps.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#51
Don't forget, some milongas are written in 4/4 and others are in 2/4.
But written does not mean "is". Musical notation is a crutch for transferring ideas from one individual to another. You may also choose the complicated or inconvenient way. Think we once had this discussion by the example of the deCarian revolution (the guardia nueva changed from 2/4 to 4/4).

- I only want to add some vids, Jenna and Dominic Bridge dancing to something that is closer to a milonga campera instead of a porteña.

- Next is a traditional habanera (contra or formation dance) for comparison. Watch that the habanera rhythm pattern is imaged in the stepping and thus resembles what is taught in some places as a milonga basic.

- And finally just for fun, Jenna and Dominic dancing a "milypso" spontaneously on Time Square.
 
#54
Syncopation to me is about playing with anticipation. Either stepping a fraction before or after the follower or observer might expect.

When I use it, I use it just once at a time - just before a new phrase or at the start of a new phrase - and not continuously. For me, it's a 'melodic' effect rather than a 'rhythmic' one (I'm using melodic and rhythmic in the sense that many tango people use the words - literally it is of course a rhythmic thing).
 

AndaBien

Well-Known Member
#55
Syncopation to me is about playing with anticipation. Either stepping a fraction before or after the follower or observer might expect...
I like to do what I call "dragging" or "pushing" the beat sometimes. On slow, lyrical music sometimes I dancing just slightly slower than the actual beat, feeling a sense of lingering (not loitering). For certain dramatic types of music (Pugliese) I sometimes rush the music a bit, creating (I hope) a sense of urgency or pandemonium. I usually don't let that last too long, to give me and my partner a respite.
 
#56
I like to do what I call "dragging" or "pushing" the beat sometimes.
Jazz players (also latin and r&b players I believe) often play behind the beat or in front. If it is the same idea that you're talking about, that's quite fascinating in a dance context.

(I was talking about delaying or advancing a single step by a half-beat (or quarter-beat depending on how you're counting)).
 
#57
I am pretty convinced that traspie is a group name for all steps faster than double-time steps in tango. This kind of steps come up every now an then in tango but regularly in milonga.

Milonga goes double as fast as tango; when you are taking two steps in tango in milonga you put down your feet four times. So if you are doing an ordinary double-time step in milonga it actually means double-double-time step in tango. I would call them for traspies. And i understand why they are also called QQS or SQQ.

But there is one more possibility for milonga traspie when you will base your steps on music and it is when you dance the habanera2 accent followed by milonga's base beat2. That is actually double-double-double-time step if we use the tango time frame. You don't have time for an ordinary step but are just moving the foot two more cm forward - stumbling forward. This can not be described by QQS.

Milonga
Music teori Basic Milonga base.JPG

Tango
Music teori Basic 4_4. Beat 2.JPG

More detailed story on my blog: http://leadingladyl.blogspot.com/
 

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