Swing Music

Will I like Swing Music?

If you’re like most of our teachers, you might not have grown up with swing music. Yet, there is something natural and familiar about it. Swing music is created using classic instruments such as the guitar, piano, drums and horns to just name a few. Because of a strong rhythmic base-line our bodies tend to synchronize with the music, and then the playfulness of the music makes us want to stomp our feet, clap our hands and simply MOVE! Swing dancing is an art form that came out of satisfying this natural desire to move. In the video to the right you can hear a beautiful piece of music played live, and four fantastic dancers performing to it.

Click here for a danceable 60 minutes playlist of Swing Music


Vintage to Modern

There’s something amazing about the 1920s – 1940s era; from the birth of swing through the famous big band era, incredible music flooded all of popular culture, brought to us by legendary swing musicians such as Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and Jimmie Lunceford to mention a few. This is why most artists today, both dancers and musicians, spend a lot of effort in re-creating and learning from these legends in order to bring back the art form from its glory days. However, consistent with the original spirit of swing dance and music, we also push for further development and making something new with it! Here are few clips that can give you an impression:

 

Jimmie Lunceford (Vintage)

Hot Sugar Band (Modern)

Electro Swing


Swing music comes in many different tempos

With SwingStep, you’ll learn the techniques to comfortably dance to any tempo of swing music. At each tempo of music, you’ll both get the “easy-does-it” steps as well as the fancy treasures that make people go “wow”. This combination will enrich your swing dance experience tremendously as you will always be able to hop on the dance floor if you wish to.

Slow

Sometimes it’s slow and full of little nuances that you can play with, as you’ll see in this wonderful clip.

Click here for our slow tempo training playlist

Medium

Other times, the music can be slightly faster like you see in this video, danced by the founders of SwingStep.

Click here for our medium tempo training playlist

Fast

Every once in a while it’s fast… really fast!

Click here for our fast tempo training playlist

 

Enjoy our playlists as they are or get inspired to start your own selection

Here are some musical selections that you can use for yourself when you want to practice or simply listen to some good Swing music. Of course, the amount of Swing music out there is huge, so what you find here is just a very little taste. Also tastes are quite different, so we simply tried to find a slice of the music that our team enjoys and uses while teaching and DJing. Also tastes change and so will our playlists from time to time. To give you the best flexibility, we added the playlists for immediate playing with Deezer*, links that let you open the playlists both in Deezer and Spotify and also the plain text song list, in case you want to find the song on your own. If you want to buy MP3s, we can recommend you for Example Amazon or iTunes.

* You can listen to the playlists as radios, even if you don’t have an account on Deezer, but as soon as you skip a song the player switches into a 30 second prelisten mode.

60 Minutes Social Dance Playlist (115 - 235 BPM)

Here is a playlist has a nice range of tempos from slow to fast in a very danceable order. Just put on the playlist, grab yourself a partner and pick whatever dance fits to the music. Feel free to copy this playlist into your favorite player to change and extend it to your personal liking.


Song List

  1. June Christy – Shoo-Fly Pie (1946) – 125 BPM
  2. Glenn Crytzer – Ten ‘Til Five (2011) – 140 BPM
  3. Benny Goodman – Flat Foot Floogee (1938) – 160 BPM
  4. Artie Shaw – One Night Stand (1939) – 195 BPM
  5. Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Short Dressed Gal (2009) – 165 BPM
  6. Jonathan Stout – Oomph Fa Fa (2003) – 130 BPM
  7. Mildred Bailey – Wham (1940) – 115 BPM
  8. Jesse Stone – Cole Slaw (1949) – 145 BPM
  9. Cootie Williams – Do Some War Work, Baby (1944) – 145 BPM
  10. Fats Waller – Scram (1940) – 175 BPM
  11. Hot Sugar Band – Flip Lid (2014) – 185 BPM
  12. Bunny Berigan – Little Gate’s Special (1939) – 205 BPM
  13. Artie Shaw – Just Kiddin’ Around (1941) – 150 BPM
  14. Lionel Hampton – Don’t Be That Way (1938) – 135 BPM
  15. Count Basie – Splanky (1958) – 120 BPM
  16. Jonathan Stout – Squatty Roo (2003) – 170 BPM
  17. Ella Fitzgerald – Jubilee Swing (1940) – 175 BPM
  18. Count Basie – Jumpin’ At The Woodside (1938) – 235 BPM
  19. Lil Armstrong – You Shall Reap What You Saw (1938) – 180 BPM

Add playlist to your favorite streaming service

Deezer | Spotify

20 Minutes Training Playlist - Slow Tempo (115 - 145 BPM)

How can I dance to this?

On slow tempo music you can flow nicely with your Triple Steps. Dancing Groove Walks or Charleston Kicks might be a bit too flat, but you can use them and other Solo Jazz moves as rhythmical variations. A little Challenge: The slower the music, the harder it is to stay in rhythm and not get too fast.


Song List

  1. Mildred Bailey – Wham (1940) – 115 BPM
  2. Count Basie – Splanky (1958) – 120 BPM
  3. June Christy – Shoo-Fly Pie (1946) – 125 BPM
  4. Jonathan Stout – Oomph Fa Fa (2003) – 130 BPM
  5. Lionel Hampton – Don’t Be That Way (1938) – 135 BPM
  6. Glenn Crytzer – Ten ‘Til Five (2011) – 140 BPM
  7. Jesse Stone – Cole Slaw (1949) – 145 BPM

Add playlist to your favorite streaming service

Deezer | Spotify

20 Minutes Training Playlist - Medium Tempo (145 - 175 BPM)

How can I dance to this?

Depending on your experience you might choose to dance Triple Steps, Groove Walks or Charleston Kicks. This tempo range is ideal to practice mixing between different energies and rhythms. Do you want to challenge yourself and inspire your partner? Try to choose how you are dancing according to what the music gives you.


Song List

  1. Cootie Williams – Do Some War Work, Baby (1944) – 145 BPM
  2. Artie Shaw – Just Kiddin’ Around (1941) – 150 BPM
  3. Benny Goodman – Flat Foot Floogee (1938) – 160 BPM
  4. Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Short Dressed Gal (2009) – 165 BPM
  5. Jonathan Stout – Squatty Roo (2003) – 170 BPM
  6. Hot Sugar Band – Wham!!! (2014) – 170 BPM
  7. Ella Fitzgerald – Jubilee Swing (1940) – 175 BPM

Add playlist to your favorite streaming service

Deezer | Spotify

20 Minutes Training Playlist - Fast Tempo (175 - 235 BPM)

How can I dance to this?

If the music gets fast, you are well served with Groove Walks or Charleston Kicks, depending on how much energy you want to give into the dance. You might also want to test your skills in keeping Triple Steps on fast tempos. Are you up for a Challenge? Try swing outs on the fastest songs in the playlist.


Song List

  1. Fats Waller – Scram (1940) – 175 BPM
  2. Lil Armstrong – You Shall Reap What You Saw (1938) – 180 BPM
  3. Hot Sugar Band – Flip Lid (2014) – 185 BPM
  4. Artie Shaw – One Night Stand (1939) – 195 BPM
  5. Bunny Berigan – Little Gate’s Special (1939) – 205 BPM
  6. Jonathan Stout – Diga Diga Doo (2003) – 225 BPM
  7. Count Basie – Jumpin’ At The Woodside (1938) – 235 BPM

Add playlist to your favorite streaming service

Deezer | Spotify

14 Minutes Training Playlist - Musicality

How can I dance to this?

When do you hear the “call for home” in each song? What is changing in the music at the end of the phrase? Are the vocals different? the rhythm section? something else? Try dancing to each song, either alone or with a partner… dance basics (rocks & triples) during the phrase; when you hear the call for home, dance heel-toes or a freeze; start your basics with a rock on the “1” of the new phrase. Hint: the first two songs are classic and easy phrasing structure, the last two are a little tricky ;)


Song List

  1. Louis Jordan – Knock Me a Kiss (1941) – 116 BPM
  2. Slim Gaillard – Atomic Cocktail (1945) – 130 BPM
  3. Gordon Webster – Long Gone John (2009) – 140 BPM[not available on Spotify]
  4. Peggy Lee – You Deserve (1959) – 124 BPM
  5. Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons (1955) – 140 BPM

Add playlist to your favorite streaming service

Deezer | Spotify


Any questions? Write us an email: dance@swingstep.com or call us: +49 (0) 30 - 40 36 4 36 36*

* You will most likely reach us Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday from 12 - 2pm. If not, we promise to call or write back within a day.