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Author Topic: musicallity - what is it?  (Read 6100 times)
elisedance
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« on: April 11, 2010, 07:38:37 AM »

Musicallity.  We use the term quite liberally I think - but I'm not really sure we all mean the same thing.  What is 'musicallity' to you?
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Lioness
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 08:01:28 AM »

For me, two levels.

The first is the most basic: the ability to hear and recognise the beats of the music. The ability to dance on time, distinguish between 'this is a waltz', 'this is a tango', etc.

The second is deeper - it usually requires a knowledge of music, but not always. It's the ability to sense the nuances of the music, and adjust your dancing accordingly. I mean, you could dance a cha cha to that. The beat and timing are correct, but the style of music isn't really cha cha-like. Taking it deeper, it's also the ability to predict what the music will do next, and then dance to that.

Put simply, musicality is, first and foremost, the ability to dance on time. It is also the ability to dance, not just to the music, but with the music.
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elisedance
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 08:28:16 AM »

For me, two levels.

The first is the most basic: the ability to hear and recognise the beats of the music. The ability to dance on time, distinguish between 'this is a waltz', 'this is a tango', etc.

The second is deeper - it usually requires a knowledge of music, but not always. It's the ability to sense the nuances of the music, and adjust your dancing accordingly. I mean, you could dance a cha cha to that. The beat and timing are correct, but the style of music isn't really cha cha-like. Taking it deeper, it's also the ability to predict what the music will do next, and then dance to that.

Put simply, musicality is, first and foremost, the ability to dance on time. It is also the ability to dance, not just to the music, but with the music.

Well put L.  I think thats exactly the dichotomy.  But these are so different I think they need different terms.  To me the word musicallity has nothing to do wiht beat ("wow, the rain beats on the window so musically!") and everything to do with connection and expression. 

I suggest we come up with a new term for staying on time.... or maybe for both...
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Lioness
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2010, 08:33:49 AM »

Perhaps making the distinction between rhythm and musicality. That seems to be the term that fits best.

"That couple has good rhythm, but their musicality is lacking."

"That couple is both musical and rhythmic; it's a delight to watch."
[heh...musical...as they dance they play a little tune]

Perhaps not the best wording on that last one, but it amused me, so I kept it.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 08:42:08 AM by Lioness » Logged
ZPomeroy
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 08:53:52 AM »

The first is the most basic: the ability to hear and recognise the beats of the music. The ability to dance on time, distinguish between 'this is a waltz', 'this is a tango', etc.

I wouldn't classify this as musicality. We have actually talked about this before and surprisingly with albanich of all people Roll Eyes This is a quote from one of my posts in his first thread "lets start with this: Musical is"of the nature of or resembling music" so therefore musicality is the quality or condition of being musical, or in other words the quality or condition of resembling music." to expand on this more i believe this means how well the dancers can actually imitate the music being used, rather than the recognition of music as expressed above.

Zac
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Lioness
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2010, 08:56:47 AM »

It's still musicality of a sort. It's the most basic level. It's identifying with the music, rhythmically, rather than also musically. While it isn't an all-encompassing definition, it's certainly a part of it.

For example, you wouldn't call a couple who were dancing with great musical expression, but off-beat, particularly musical. Well, I wouldn't.
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ZPomeroy
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2010, 09:04:27 AM »

For example, you wouldn't call a couple who were dancing with great musical expression, but off-beat, particularly musical. Well, I wouldn't.

Well they could not be dancing with musical expression if they are not on time, but i don't think it should be a part of the definition of musicality. In my opinion first a couple must achieve the ability to hear and recognize the beats and dance on time, and then musicality can be placed over top of this, they cannot be learnt at the same time so should be separate ideas...

Zac
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 09:11:09 AM »

I get what you are saying, but I think rhythm is an integral part of musicality. While it may not necessarily be included in the 'official' definition, it is still there, and should not be taken for granted.
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ZPomeroy
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2010, 09:24:03 AM »

i never said it should be taken for granted, its more important than musicality

Zac
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Lioness
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 09:29:30 AM »

I guess I was reading it wrong. I somehow thought that by not including it in the definition, it was somehow considered unimportant.

I also didn't phrase my bit terribly well. I didn't really mean 'taken for granted'. I was trying to put myself into the position of a newbie to dance reading the definition. They might read a definition that, for example, says "Musicality: Being able to hear the nuances in the music and respond accordingly through your dancing" and go "Oooh. I can do that. I listen to music all the time.". Then, if they have rhythm problems, they may be inclined to think "oh, but it doesn't matter. I have musicality."

Just trying to put myself in a worst-case scenario and work around it, I guess
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dlgodud
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2010, 10:21:47 AM »

This is a recent project of my dancing to figure out what musicality really is and how I can learn this?
I don't even know if it could be learned or not.

For me, I think that musicality is how you interpret the music and dance with it.

You can dance on the beat, but dancing on the beat is not everything especially if you want to be an advanced dancer.

Also, I think the connection with a partner is a really important of creating musicality as well.

Once, my teacher put a chacha music and asked me to dance jive. I could find a jive beat out of the music, but it was so difficult to dance.
But, my teacher had no problem with it. Wow! It was very interesting.
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MusicChica
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 12:58:46 PM »

I mean, you could dance a cha cha to that. The beat and timing are correct, but the style of music isn't really cha cha-like.

I think there's a flip side to that coin, though.  I think being able to take an "inappropriate" piece of music and make something out of it definitely has elements of musicality.  Take, for example, Igor Litvinov and Julia Ivleva's infamous Standard showdances to heavy metal--I think there's a lot of musicality there.
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elisedance
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2010, 05:40:12 PM »

I agree - in a sense thats the best test of musicality - how would you dance a foxtrot if someone put a paso doble on?  Could you keep to foxtrot technique while expressing the bull fight? 

And the interesting debate on whether rhythm is musicallity is really why I started this topic.  I happen to agree that it is not: musicallity is expression to me.  I'll grant L's point that you can not be musical if you are also off rhythm - but you also can't be musical if you have no ballance: failure due to the lack of something doesn't necessarily mean its the same thing. 

But that said, the way the dance language is right now musicallity includes both elements of rhytm and expression. 
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drj
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2010, 10:10:32 PM »

Classical musicians have extra tools that pop musicians and most dancers don't get to play with.  F'rex, classical musicians have dynamics; things are louder and softer for us, and we can take a scalewise passage and express different things with it simply by starting softly and swelling the volume, then letting it soften again -- or not. We create meaning by using all the tools given us: tone, pitch, timbre, volume, meter, tempo etc. I'm not a mature dancer, I don't know what are all the tools partner dance uses to create meaning, but, like the infamous judge who said about porn that he couldn't define it, but he knew it when he saw it, I do indeed know musicality when I encounter it, even though it is difficult to define.

For me, musicality is the ineffable expressed in music, by a human agent, whether an instrumentalist, a singer, or a dancer. Yes, there's a huge component of time and timing in musicality -- not "is this a waltz or paso?" but "how long can I linger here before this headsnap?" Even for those who are themselves musical, it is hard to explain why or how they are musical. How exquisite is the nuance that makes the anchor in this WCS really swing? How delicious is it to feel the grandeur of a couple who are playing with the music, with each other, with the audience, and their foxtrot is a thing of beauty that sweeps you with it? Not to mention, how magnificent does it feel to be part of that couple? God calls us with the music; we answer, when and how we can, but only if we hear the call. Hearing that call in the music, and expressing it, is musicality.

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elisedance
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2010, 01:13:24 AM »

lovely drj.  [Wanna play some time Cheesy]  but do you put being on time in the same catagory as musicallity in timing?  I think musicians also distinguish 'being off time' from musicality - its sort of a killer failing (if you are off, your music is off) wereas musicallity is recognized as an individual expression.  Thus, someone can exhibit musicallity that you detest - but you still have to admit that its their musicallity.
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