Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of American music that developed in the early 1930s and became a distinctive style by 1940. Swing uses a strong rhythm section of double bass and drums as the anchor for a lead section of brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones, woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets, and sometimes stringed instruments such as violin and guitar, medium to fast tempos, and a “lilting” swing time rhythm. The name swing came from the phrase ‘swing feel’ where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music (unlike classical music). Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise on the melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of big bands and bandleaders such as Benny Goodman was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1946, a period known as the Swing Era. The verb “to swing” is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic “groove” or drive.


Swinging 2


Swing dance is a group of dances that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s-1950s, the origin of the dances predating popular “swing era” music. The most well-known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a fusion of jazz, tap, breakaway, and Charleston, which originated in Harlem in the early 1920s, but includes a number of other styles such as Balboa, Shag, West Coast Swing, and Boogie-Woogie to name a few.

While the majority of swing dances began in African American communities as Street dancing-vernacular & African American dances, some swing era dances such as West Coast Swing and the Balboa developed in white communities.

Swing dance was not used as a blanket term for this group of dances until the latter half of the twentieth century. Language transmutes and changes – swings in meaning and metaphor shifts like  dancers responding to currents of culture………

Expressed through Media

in a Metamorphosis of Societal Rhythms 

the energy of youth

expels the old

in an abandonment of energy –

pounding the present into memories of the past. 

Everything Old is New Again


It has been Forgotten –

put away in a dusty cupboard 

creaks, clatters, gouged and grooved…

its doors swing open

to young eyes


an earlier generation’s treasures


the First Time –





New Age

All Over Again


Improvised Rhythms.




Childhood Memories


Coming Back.

Mass Media Consumes Itself.

The Meaning of  a Word is its Use.



7 thoughts on “Swinging

    1. Most welcome. My parents were part of the original Swing Generation, coming of age in the Dirty Thirties. I was a late arrival and was a child of the 60s, but the music in the house was of the 30s & 40s, whether my mother singing or the folks dancing to it.

      My daughter loves to dance & watch dancing – some of her Baba & G’Dido musicality remains. 🙂

  1. Great reflections. It’s fascinating to see how music and it’s associated symbolisms remain embedded in the human consciousness. Seeing Stevie Ray Vaughn wearing a feathered dandy hat with frock and tails emblazoned with symbols of musical notes during a blues festival set, really triggered a line of thinking in me about how it all returns cyclically. How the spirit of musical “genius” (Geni Loci: Roman = animistic spirit of place or object) returns to us again and again where it’s needed to feed and elevate our collective soul. To understand such phenomena astrologically is useful. It shows correspondences between planetary and stellar alignments and reoccurring modes of human consciousness over extremely long periods. To examine the star charts of music Icons it extremely telling in this regard. It really speaks to me of a pre-existent quality of consciousness expressing itself through the life and times and associated mythos of certain enigmatic and charismatic entertainers and thinkers.

    1. There are musical patterns, that I suppose, are almost archetypal. Movement and rhythm can influence brain wave patterns so it is likely that we keep returning to certain musical & dance styles/forms in the guise of different cultural & technological expressions. What is old becomes new again. 🙂

    1. See, that’s why we need Juicy Fruit Gum. We chew it and watch those dancers. They are quite the thing are they not. Reminds me of my parents. 🙂

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