Search This Blog


Monday, October 22, 2012

Beginner's Class in Belly Dance Review Notes: Classes 1-4, Music Review

Alay'nya Studio Beginner's Belly Dance Class: Review Notes for First Four Classes, Autumn Quarter, 2012, Part 1: Music Review

Although I've posted extensively about the esoteric belly dance component and the energy-building practices (ch'i cultivation), our Beginner's classes in Oriental dance (belly dance) have recently focused on:

  • Music rhythms for Oriental dance,
  • Music structure analysis, including in-class work and take-home exercises to identify and analyze, and
  • Matching dance movements to the music.


Mideast Music Rhythms Used in First Four Classes

Music rhythms for Oriental dance include:

  • Beledi, an Upper-Egypt (southern Egyptian) rhythm, used in up to 80% of common "belly dance music,"
  • Sai'idi, a "reverse beledi,"and
  • Chifti telli, a Turkish rhythm.


Music Structure Analysis

Music structure analysis, including in-class work and take-home exercises to identify and analyze:

  • Musical measures: the basic "counting unit" (typically an 8-count),
  • Musical motifs: an identifiable musical phrase or set of phrases - a "building block" for that piece of music,
  • Pace and timing: overall fast, slow, or moderate?, and time (in seconds) for each motif,
  • Taxims: literally, an improvisational solo, typically with the Mideast instruments of a ney (flute-like instrument), kanoon (string instrument), or dumbek (drum), and
  • Transitions: most important in choreographing a good dance.


Matching Dance Moves to the Music

Matching dance moves to the music includes strategies and micro-choreography units for structured (motif), unstructured (taxim), and transition units:

  • Structured musical motifs: typically repeat two to four times, and the choreography for each "set" of motif repetitions should have some logical consistency; a common approach is to do a set of movements to one side, and then transition and do the same set to the other side (mirror image),
  • Unstructured phrase-based musical interludes, in taxims: at first, developing a dance interpretation to taxims seems unusual to Western ears, but as we learn to match our breathing to the musical phrases, a set of expressive movements can naturally emerge,
  • Transitions: these can take us from one motif to another, from structured (motif-based) music to unstructured and vice versa, and overall are essential to skilled dance; we're developing numerous strategies.


By now, students should have their first CDs of music for at-home practice, various worksheets to play with for their own "music interpretation" studies, and other worksheets detailing music structure and/or choreography notes.










No comments: