Buyer's Guide

Music Terms



Bar
Has come to have the same meaning as measure. There are usually 2,3 or 4 beats in a bar of music.

Beat
(1) A steady and continuous pulse in the music, within which rhythms are formed.
(2) A single pulse of music. Beats are usually arranged into groups of 2, 3, or 4 to form a measure (or bar). The first beat in a bar is usually more pronounced than the others.

Beats and Bars
A method of counting both the beats and bars at the same time in order to keep track of how many bars an amalgamation contains. In 4/4 time, counting in beats and bars could be 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 3, 4, 4, 2, 3, 4, etc.

Beat Value
The number of beats on each step of a dance figure.

Canter Timing/Rhythm
A rhythm used with music written in 3/4 time (Waltz and Viennese Waltz), where no weight change is made on the second step resulting in only two weight changes danced over three beats of music.

Downbeat
(1) In music, the first beat of the bar as indicated by the downward stroke of the conductor’s arm.
(2) Refers to whichever beats are pronounced in a bar of music. (i.e. counts 1 & 3 in 4/4 time, or all four beats).

Measure
The space between two bar lines in music in which there are a specific number of beats that repeat throughout the music. Typically there will be 2,3, or 4 beats in a measure. Being able to hear how many beats there are in a measure will help to determine the kind of dance it is.

Musicality
Used in connection with describing whether a dancer hears, feels, and expresses the music in their body while dancing and whether they stay on the correct beat of the music.

Phrase
A specific number of measures that make up a complete “thought” of music. It is similar to a sentence, having a beginning and a clear end. There are small phrases (as few as two measures or eight counts) as well as longer phrases of 8, 16, or 32 measures.

Phrasing
(1) Choreographing a dance to fit the phrases of the music.
(2) The sequence of dance patterns put together to match the characteristics of a musical sequence.

Quick
A term used to count steps usually having one beat. A slow is double the value of a quick.

Rhythm
The regular occurrence of accented beats that give character to music.

Slow
A term used in counting steps usually having two beats. A quick is half the value of a slow.

Syncopation
A variation of the regular occurrence of accented beats.

Tempo
The speed of the music measured in measures (bars) or beats per minute.

Time or Time Signature
The number of beats in each measure of music. I.E. 4/4 time equals four beats per measure. The upper number tells us the number of beats in a measure, and the lower number tells us the kind of musical note (a quarter beat) that gets one beat.

Timing
Refers to the commonly used counts or words associated with counting a particular dance.

Upbeat
(1) In music, the last beat of the bar as indicated by the downward stroke of the conductor’s arm.
(2) Refers to whichever beats follow a downbeat in a bar of music. (i.e. counts 2 & 4 in 4/4 time, or the “&” counts between the beats as in 1&2&3&4&).

Reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. Copyright by Dance Vision. All Rights Reserved.