Above is an image showing an example of a common song structure. I want to share a little more about why understanding the song structure is vital to understanding the power of the big 1s in the music. Realizing the different phrases & sections of the song will help you the big ones and identify their differences.
The music is speaking to you through this structure, do you have enough mental space while you are dancing to listen and understand? I’ve talked about awareness of your mental space while you are dancing and knowing how well are managing your awareness across the connection trifecta.
There are three phases I currently have in my mind when it comes to awareness of the 1s:
- The build-up and anticipation before the 1
- The actual hit of the 1 at the end of the phrase
- Awareness of what the new phrase is and what has changed musically
A typical phrase for a verse or a chorus is four 8-count bars. As the songs are being produced, the producers of the song typically place a unique musical element in the last four counts (5, 6, 7, 8) before the end of one phrase in the beginning of another.
If you're able to identify this “phrase end marker sound”, as a dancer of gives you a few seconds to come up with a way to express it. I feel the stronger your basics are, the less mental space you will need to execute them well which in turn frees up more mental space to focus on being present with your partner and the music.
Training your ear to hear the hints of an end of a phrase and also recognizing the similarities and differences of different sections of a song will create confidence to get your body in a position to hit and express these musical changes!
It's also important to note that the energy at the end of a phrase can either transition up and spike (think of a cymbal crash), stay the same, or the energy can transition down into a more mellow feel.
Applying a lens of things within and outside your control; how you understand the music, and how you move yourself through space is within your control. The element that is outside of your control is your partner.
I have a few worksheets that I’m designing to help actually map out what you hear in a song on paper so you can see it with your eyes as you are hearing it with your ears in my upcoming musicality course for dancers! Click here to find out how you can support it's creation!
Below I handpicked 3 songs for you to listen to how the ends of their phrases sound, listen closely and see if you can hear when the unique musical element happens in the beginning of each song into their first verse!
Example Song #1: Sweating - Alewya
Example Song #2: Flora by Animl & Virtue
Example Song #3: Como Un Bebe - J Balvin, Bad Bunny, feat. Mr. Eazi