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Swing Dance Songs

Keeping the "swing" in swing dance music
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Swinging Dance Songs
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For best presentation some tracks may require edits or tempo adjustment.

To listen to a compilation of all of our published lists, download the Spotify application and search for the
'AllSwingDJ - Swinging'

About Our Swing Dance Songs

"Good SWING music - SWINGS!"* says Skippy Blair.

All of the selections in our Swinging Dance Songs lists swing, by definition, having been performed in "swung note," or shuffle rhythm, style. Coupled with a backbeat, this syncopated style is also known as a rolling backbeat, which defines the upbeat pulse* and the triple rhythm unit* in swing dance.

The "longer" (stretched) eighth note followed by the "shorter" (swung) eighth note encourages the dancer to accelerate into the next beat. The underlying eighth-note triplet of shuffle rhythm uniquely supports the dancer's "rolling count,"* which, also, enables smooth acceleration into "body flight."* This dance technique combined with swinging music helps the dancer create the "elasticity of tension and release," which is the essence of swing dance.

For a better understanding of how musicians produce the sound and feel of shuffle rhythm, link to the instructional videos for the following instruments: drums, bass, and guitar.

Skippy also recommends* that music for swing dance should (1) contribute to the dance and (2) not interfere with, or challenge, the dancer. In other words, whether the music swings or not, it should be swing danceable, or swingable.

One of the contributing characteristics, a rolling backbeat, is explained above. One of the interfering characteristics that Skippy cites is any dance rhythm that is identified with another dance form such as Cha Cha, Hustle, or Rumba.

Some other interfering characteristics are:
  • Meter: 3/4 (Waltz) time signature
  • Tempo: outside of the standard or comfortable range
  • Pulse: on the downbeat
  • Syncopation: so complex as to cause the dancer to lose track of the downbeat or upbeat, that is, to be off time.
  • Structure: irregular (mixed) dance rhythm, meter, tempo, pulse, syncopation, or phrasing

Most people associate the term "swing music" with big band jazz of the Swing Era. Most of our member DJs, however, play for slower forms of swing dance, such as, West Coast Swing, Texas Push/Whip, Carolina Shag, and Lindy groove.

Many people believe that Blues music is the primary genre associated with these dance forms and, therefore, swings, by definition; but not all Blues performances swing. We find the sound and feel of swing in other genres, also, including various styles of Jazz, R&B, Pop/Rock, and Country.

About every two months our member DJs post to our Yahoo! group their top 10 or 10 new songs in various styles and rhythms for swing dance. They also have the option to post 10 swinging songs that they've recently played at an event or their local venue. To generate our Swinging Dance Songs lists we compile all of the DJs' lists into one, rank the songs, and then select the top songs that swing.

AllSwingDJ offers these lists as a clear example of music that swings, because we are concerned that many of today's dancers and some newer DJs are unaware of the traditional connection of shuffle rhythm to swing dance. To preserve the roots of swing dance, we encourage you to include in the mix more of your favorite swinging songs.

We believe that we're the only DJ group that publishes lists of all swing selections. Other organizations publish lists that include selections that do not swing, but may be swingable. Some of those organizations are:
ABSCDJ, GSDJ, NARBDJ, NSDC (Music Preservation List), UCWDC (Competition Music), and USA Swing Dance Network (Classic Swing Songs).

*For all articles by Skippy Blair, see

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