Quiet into the Verse

West Coast Swing Online Musicality & Timing

We’ve been practicing how to accentuate the layers of music within Maroon 5’s song Maps. As we wrap up the chorus, it’s time to think about how to shift from back into the verse.

Listen to the song one more time, and this time focus on how you would describe the difference between the chorus and the verse:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrP1o6DV5-g

The biggest difference is in volume: the verse is a lot quieter because many of the instruments that were present in the chorus have disappeared or faded. So, we need a way to quiet down the dance.

One of the easiest ways to drop the volume is to take out weight transfers. But, that technique won’t fit this song because the verse still has a drum playing every beat—even though it’s quiet, it’s clearly present. So, we need to dig deeper into our tool bag.

As we entered the chorus, we turned up the volume by increasing the length of the slot and opening up our patterns. Let’s try undoing both of those things. Shorten your slot, or at least the post distance. Then, stay rotated into your arm instead of opening up at the end of patterns.

That definitely drops the volume, but it would be nice to have even more contrast to bring. So, let’s experiment with the intensity of our footwork.

On your own, practice doing triple steps. As you are dancing, exaggerate the downward motion by lifting your feet higher off the ground and really driving down. That definitely raises the volume level! Now try going the other way: keep your feet as close to the floor as possible and don’t accent the motion of your legs in any way. You are still tripling—do not let your feet get lazy and just shuffle back and forth—but you are doing it as subtly as possible.

Now try putting it together. Start dancing through the song, and be sure that you have lengthened and opened up the slot during the chorus. As the chorus ends and the verse begins, simultaneously shorten and close up the slot while you quiet your feet. It should be a dramatic difference, which is perfect because the shift from chorus to verse in this song is equally dramatic.

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