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.
“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 –
RETRO-Fitting a STYLE
All Over Again
Mass Media Consumes Itself.
The Meaning of a Word is its Use.