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Dance music

Dance music is music composed, played, or both, specifically to accompany social dancing. It can be either the whole musical piece or part of a larger musical arrangement.

Dance music includes a huge variety of music, including traditional dance music such as Irish traditional music, waltzes, rock and roll, country music and tangos. An example of traditional dance music in the United States is the old-time music played at square dances and contra dances.

From the late 1970s, the term dance music has come to also refer (in the context of nightclubs) more specifically to electronic music offshoots of rock and roll, such as disco, house, techno and trance.

Generally, the difference between a disco, or any dance song, and a rock or general popular song is that in dance music the bass hits "four to the floor" at least once a beat (which in 4/4 time is 4 beats per measure), while in rock the bass hits on one and three and lets the snare take the lead on two and four (Michaels, 1990).

Dance music works usually bear the name of the corresponding dance, e.g. waltzes, the tango, the bolero, the can-can, minuets, salsa, various kinds of jigs and the breakdown. Other dance forms include contradance, the merengue, the cha-cha. Often it is difficult to know whether the name of the music came first or the name of the dance.


Related articles


  • Michaels, Mark (1990). The Billboard Book of Rock Arranging. ISBN 0823075370
Last updated: 08-27-2005 21:20:33
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