Music vs Dance

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Dances that have some unusual connection with their music. (Not just dances whose music has nonstandard or irregular meter; those dances are collected here.)

Please keep this list in alphabetical order.

  • Ashreichem Yisrael: The music of the second part has 19 counts, in measures of 4-4-4-7 (or 4-4-4-3-4). The dance has a section of 5 counts repeated 3 times, followed by a 4-count walk: 5-5-5-4. So the dance crosses over the measures of the music in interesting ways.
  • Baba Kosmi: First part has pieces with counts 7-8-17, against eight four-count measures. More information here.
  • Chatan Bar Mitzvah: The end of part 3 has a pair of quarter-note triplets, and is otherwise an even/normal 4.
  • Debka Meshuleshet (Debka Debka): The dance does not start on the first beat of the music, but rather on the fourth (pickup) beat of the intro measure. Each section of the dance follows this pattern, starting on the last beat of a measure.
  • Eretz Nehederet: The singing begins on the second beat of a four-count measure, and the dance begins on the following beat, that is, halfway into the measure. The dance continues in this way throughout, every section beginning halfway through a measure, rather than at the start of a measure. That's why there's often confusion about when to start the dance; it seems to start too late. (Compare Zemer Nugeh, below.)
  • HaChinanit: The music of the second part is a fairly regular phrase of 4 measures, 4 beats to a measure, ending with an extra measure of 2 beats (4-4-4-4-2). However, the movements of the dance are grouped into four steps, four steps, five steps, and five steps. These different phrases of music and dance add up the the same 18 beats, and therefore cancel out before the first part comes back around.
  • HaGavia: The dance does not start on the first beat of a measure, but rather on the third (pickup) beat of an intro measure, giving dancers the sensation that the dance begins too early. The first phrase of the dance is also three groups of four steps, while the rest of the dance is four groups of three steps. The 6/8 waltz rhythm of the music is unchanged. more
  • Leah: The dance does not start on the first beat of a measure, but rather on the third beat of the preceding measure. (Frequently the count is eight—that is, combining two measures—in which case the dance starts on count 7.) The singing starts half a beat earlier yet.
  • Lenagev Lach Et HaDma'ot: The first section of the dance is done twice, to the first section of the music, but offset by two beats; that is, the second time through, the dance starts half a measure later against the same music.
  • Matzlichim: The first repetition of part II starts with both-R-both-L, four counts. The second repetition, to the same music, starts with a two count sway R sway L. As a result, the following steps of part II fall differently against the music. There is a compensating hold on the right foot at counts 11-12 which puts the two repetitions back in sync.
  • Mishal: The first section of music comprises five measures of six counts each. In the same thirty counts, the dance is four repetitions of a seven-count phrase followed by two stamps. So the dance keeps crossing measure bars in different places.
  • Na'ari Shuv Elai: The music of this dance is in 4/4 throughout, with 4 beats to a measure and 4 measures to a phrase. However, in the first part, the phrases of movement in the dance comprise counts of 7-7-8-8-2. This adds up to the same 32 counts as the music (8-8-8-8), and so the difference cancels out by the time you begin the second part.
  • Shechani: The music has four beats per measure regularly throughout, but the dance is eleven counts long (4-3-4), so dance and music keep crossing each other and rarely line up.
  • Shir Al Etz: The music has three beats per measure throughout the whole song, but the last part of the dance has a walking feel (during the cross-open section), which plays a counterpoint 2 feeling against the 3 of the music. This can make it confusing to stay on the right foot (since every other measure during this part will begin with a different foot, but the cross-open step always begins with the right foot no matter where you are in the measure).
  • Sovev Galgal: The dance does not start on the first beat of a measure, but rather on the final (pickup) half-beat of the intro measure.
  • Tsiporei Nedod: The pattern of the music is AABCDCD (each letter representing four measures of four beats each) but the pattern of the dance is AABCDBC. So, for example, the second repetition of part II of the dance is done to the music that was just used for part III of the dance. (This confusion of which piece of music to use for which piece of dance is appropriate for a dance about wandering birds.)
  • Uzi (Ozi v'Zimrat Yah): The dance does not start on the first beat of a measure, but rather on the penultimate beat of the intro measure, that is, a beat before the single pickup beat of the music, so that the dance actually starts before the music. This pattern continues through the dance, in both sections. The rock back-forward that begins the dance is quick and quite distinct from the deliberate walking steps that follow, making it in structure very much like a pickup itself; a couple of light eighth notes before the downbeat.
  • Yalel Ha'awa: The music for this dance is in regular 4/4, with four measures to the phrase. However, the dance parts are of unequal length. Part 1 has 18 counts, part 2 has 16 counts, and part 3 has 18 counts. Given that the dance is called, it has very unpredictable phrases and ending.
  • Zemer Nugeh: The singing begins on the second beat of a four-count measure, and the dance begins on the following beat, that is, halfway into the measure. The dance continues in this way throughout, every section beginning halfway through a measure, rather than at the start of a measure. That's why there's often confusion about when to start the dance; it seems to start too late. (Compare Erets Nehederet, above.)