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Musical Contexts


Exploring Rhythm, Chords and Metre in Music for Dance

Dance Music - The Baroque Dance Suite Resources

Dance Music - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

1. The Baroque Dance Suite

2. Paired Dance: The Waltz

3. Latin Dance: The Tango

4. American Line Dance and Country and Western Music.

5. Folk Dance: Irish Jig and Reel and Folk Music

6. Disco

7. Club Dance

Dance Music - Paired Dance: The Waltz Resources

Dance Music - Plenary Review Activities

A series of lesson reviews where pupils review their learning and understanding.

Dance Music - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

Dance Music - “DOITNOW” Presentation

Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” Dance Music lesson openers Presentation contains a smaller range of generic dance music lesson openers than other units (due to the flexible pathways) when delivering the Dance Music unit in just one place - all media files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section. 

Dance Music - American Line Dance/Country and Western Music Resources

Dance Music - Latin Dance: The Tango Resources

Dance Music - Cover and Homework Resources

Dance Music - Folk Dance: Irish Jig and Reel Resources

Dance Music - Improvised Dance: Disco/Disco Music Resources

Dance music takes an explorative look into rhythm, chords and metre in a variety of different types, styles and genres of dance music.  By exploring the characteristic musical features of dance music from different times and places, pupils will understand the important connection between the steps, movement and formation of the dance and how these are inter-related within musical features such as time, metre, rhythms and chords in the music.

The unit is entirely flexible in delivery with several lesson pathways and may be delivered as a ‘double unit’ over an entire term, culminating in pupil’s creating and promoting their own Club Dance track.  From simple marches in 2/4 time, to waltzes in 3/4 time, The Baroque Dance Suite to Latin Dance: The Tango, from Country and Western music that accompanies American Line Dance to Irish Folk Music used for the Irish Jig and Reel and modern improvised dance music such as Disco and Club Dance.  To gain a deeper understanding of dance music, it’s a good idea to watch brief performances of the chosen dance music genre ‘in action’ or even attempt basic dance routines and steps with pupils, along with performing, composing, listening and appraising activities: all fully resourced below.

The emphasis throughout the unit is on the characteristic rhythms, time signatures and metre (simple and compound time) and use of chords (primary and seventh chords) in a range of dance music from different times and places.

Dance Music - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Dance Music - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Includes Scheme of Work Overview, Unit Learning Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Lesson Pathways.

Dance Music - Club Dance Resources

Dance Music - Music Theory

Time and Metre

4-page worksheet on beat, pulse, simple duple, triple and quadruple metre and time signatures.  Contains answers.

Simple and Compound Time

3-page worksheet on simple and compound time signatures.  Contains answers

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Dance Music - March Music Resources

Key Words, Concepts and Musical Knowledge

Dance Music from Different Times and Places: Marches, Baroque Dance Suite, Waltz, Tango, Irish Jig and Reel, American Line Dance, Disco, Club Dance.

Accompaniment Patterns in Dance Music, Rhythms in Dance Music, Texture: Melody and Accompaniment, Primary Chords (I, IV, V, V7), Simple and Compound Time Signatures (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8)

Music Theory

Simple and Compound Time Signatures

Links to GCSE Music

Musical Forms and Devices

Popular Music



The Baroque Dance Suite Sort

Pupils sort musical features and characteristics of dances in the Baroque Dance Suite into correct columns. 

Contains answers.

The Baroque Dance Suite Study Guide

A 4-page Study Guide introducing The Baroque Dance Suite, characteristic musical features of each dance and 3 Listening Questions on The Baroque Dance Suite. 

Contains Teacher’s Notes and answers.

The Baroque Dance Suite Listening Starter Audio            Baroque Dance Suite Example—Allemande            Baroque Dance Suite Example—Courante

Baroque Dance Suite Example—Sarabande            Baroque Dance Suite Example—Minuet            Baroque Dance Suite Example—Gigue
Baroque Dance Suite Listening Question 1            Baroque Dance Suite Listening Question 2            Baroque Dance Suite Listening Question 3





Oom-Cha-Cha (Waltz Warm-Ups)

Waltz Keyboard warm-ups for Right then Right and Left Hands.

The Waltz Study Guide

A 4-page Study Guide on the background and development of the Waltz including listening questions. 

Contains answers.

Waltz Audio 1 - Minuet from Symphony No.41 in C Major (Mozart)

Waltz Audio 2 - Voices of Spring (Johann Strauss)          Waltz Audio 3 - Blue Danube Waltz (Johann Strauss)

Waltz Audio 4 - Waltz Listening Question

Composing a Waltz Melody

Pupils create a melody to a waltz accompaniment using notes of the Primary Chords (I, IV and V) in the given oom-cha-cha accompaniment.

Performing the Blue Danube Waltz

Melody parts (including B flat and E flat) and a two-part duet arrangement. 




Dances Research

Pupils research the internet to identify the type or style of dance from given clues.

Requires ICT and internet access.

Dance Music Word Search 1

Can be done without ICT.

Dances from Around the World Word Search 2

Can be done without ICT.





Tango Rhythms Warm-Ups

Performing Chords I, IV and V7 in D minor to 4 different characteristic Tango rhythms.  Contains “rhythm counts” to help pupils with the dotted rhythms and syncopation. 

Performing Tango Argentino

8-Bar Tango in D Minor for Ensemble Performing with Melody, Harmony, Chords and Bass Line Parts using Chords I, IV and V7.

Full Score and Individual Parts with and without note names.

Chords in Tango Argentino

2-page worksheet analysing Chords I, IV and V7 in D minor (used in Tango Argentino) and D Major (to prepare pupils to create their own contrasting “B” section to Tango Argentino in the Major key)

Composing and Evaluating a Contrasting “B” Section to Tango Argentino

Staged compositions task where pupils use chords I, IV and V7 in D Major to create a contrasting “B” section to the given “A” section in D minor using melody, harmony, chords and bass line parts before putting together a performance of Tango Argentino in Ternary Form. 

Contains optional evaluation and peer assessment sheet. 


The Tango Study Guide

A 3-page Study Guide introducing Tango and Tango Dance Music including Listening Questions.  Contains answers.

Tango Audio 1 - Tango Listening Starter                Tango Audio 2 - Habanera from Carmen (Bizet)

Tango Audio 3 - Bandoneon Solo Example                Tango Audio 4 - Libertango (Astor Piazzolla)

Tango Audio 5 - El Tango De Roxanne from “Moulin Rouge” (Listening Question)


American Line Dance Music Study Guide

A 6-page Study Guide introducing American Line Dance (Country and Western) Music including Primary Chords (I, IV and V) in G and A Major, Listening Questions and a GCSE-style Listening Question on Country and Western Music.  Contains Teacher’s Notes and Answers.

Line Dance Video 1 - Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)            Line Dance Video 2 - American Line Dance in Action

Line Dance Audio 1 - Contra Dance Example                      Line Dance Audio 2 - Steel Guitar Example                Line Dance Audio 3 - Crotchet Bass Line Movement Example

Line Dance Audio 4 - Chord Changes in Achy Breaky Heart            Line Dance Audio 5 - Listening to Country and Western Music (5 Extracts)    

Line Dance Audio 6 - GCSE-style Listening Question on Country and Western Music



Performing “Achy Breaky Heart”

In the Key of A Major prefaced by a revision of the A Major scale, Chords I and V in A Major and characteristic crotchets bass line patterns.  Contains song sheet with lyrics and chords, melody line (with and without note names), chord patterns, crotchet bass line and full score. 

Composing a Country and Western Song for an American Line Dance

Staged composition task providing skeleton lyrics for an 8-bar chorus using Chords I & V in the style of a Country and Western Song suitable for an American Line Dance using musical features of Country and Western Music and American Line Dance. 




Performing the Riff and Hook to “I Feel Love”

Staged performance activity focusing on the Riff and Hook (using chords I, bIII, IV and V in C Major) of Donna Summer’s disco classic “I Feel Love”.

Performing Disco Riffs from “Night Fever” and “Boogie Wonderland”

Featuring Syncopation and Seventh Chords. 

Disco Music Study Guide

A 7-page study guide introducing disco, the origins and influences on disco music, disco dancing, exploring “I Will Survive” in terms of form and structure, harmony (focus on seventh chords), “Four on the Floor” drum rhythms and a GCSE-style listening question on disco. 

Contains full Teacher’s Notes and answers. 

Disco Audio 1 - Boogie Wonderland (Earth, Wind and Fire)           Disco Audio 2 - Love to Love you Baby (Donna Summer)

Disco Audio 3 - Precious (Ronnie Walker)            Disco Audio 4 - Funky Stuff (Kool and the Gang)

Disco Audio 5 - I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)            Disco Audio 6 - Diminished 7th Chord in I Will Survive

Disco Audio 7 - Seventh Chords in I Will Survive           Disco Audio 8 - Four on the Floor Drum Rhythm Example

Disco Audio 10 - GCSE-style Listening Question on Disco Music            Disco Audio 11 - I Feel Love (Donna Summer)


Irish Jig and Reel Study Guide

A 5-page Study Guide introducing Irish Folk Dance (Jig and Reel), instruments of Irish Folk Music, Listening Questions and a GCSE-style Listening Question on Irish Jig and Reel.  

Contains Teacher’s Notes and Answers.

Irish Jig and Reel Video 1 - Jig and Reel Dances in Action          Irish Jig and Reel Audio 1 - Irish Folk Music Instruments          Irish Jig and Reel Audio 2 - Listening to an Irish Jig and Reel

Irish Jig and Reel Audio 3 - Simple and Compound Time in Suite No.2 (Holst)          Irish Jig and Reel Audio 4 - Beat Grouping in Simple and Compound Time

Irish Jig and Reel Audio 5 - Listening to Irish Jigs and Reels          Irish Jig and Reel Audio 6 - GCSE-Style listening question on Irish Jigs and Reels

Irish Jig and Reel Audio 7 - Carraroe Jig (The Corrs)



Performing “Cooley’s Reel”

Binary Form Irish Reel melody in 2/2 time with the option to create a (drone) accompaniment using the chords of E minor and D Major.  Audio Example on Cooley’s Reel Audio

Performing “Kesh Jig”

Binary Form Irish Jig melody in 6/8 time with 1st and 2nd time bars in G Major.

Pupils create Chords I, IV and V in G Major and create a suitable jig accompaniment. 


Performing a Baroque Dance Suite

An easy 2-part complete Baroque Dance Suite (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Minuet and Gigue) which can be put together via different ensembles and then performed as a “class Baroque Dance Suite”.  Pieces differ in ability but all have the characteristic features of the different movements of a Baroque Dance Suite.  Scores given with and without note names. 





Club Dance Study Guide

4-page Study Guide covering the main types, styles and genres of Club Dance Music.

All music in copyright, so suggested listening for each genre given which can be found on all usual media sites. 

Creating and Producing a Club Dance Track

Creating and Producing a Club Dance Track.  Suggested composition process with outline Form and Structure together with suggestions to producing supporting marketing material (the latter could be useful for cover!)

Performing “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited

Arrangement of the 1990’s early “techno” Club Classic “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited.  Includes riffs and verse along with two “rapped/MC’d” sections, chords (I, IV and V in A minor) and opportunities for pupils to create their own chord patterns, bass line and drum loops to create a performance either based on the original or their own arrangement.  

Listening for Structure and Riffs in “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited

Structural analysis of “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited in terms of musical material, riffs, repetition and instrumentation.

Uses a video with structural prompts and questions.

Contains answers. 

Club Dance Video 1 - “No Limit” (2 Unlimited) with sectional prompts





Listening to Club Dance Samples

10 linked audio extracts for pupils to classify as either: Bass Riff Sample (1, 7 & 10), Vocal Riff Sample (2, 4 & 8), Drum Loop Sample (3 & 6) or a

Synth Riff Sample (5 & 9).

(Could be useful as a DOITNOW when exploring Club Dance.)

Club Dance Riffs to Perform

Riffs from: “Slam” (Pendulum); “Ecuador” (Sash); “Sandstorm” (Darude); “Levels” Avicci; “Poppiholla” (Chicane) with audio extracts of originals.


Club Dance Riffs Audio - Club Dance Riffs Extracts (from originals)

Listening to “Around the World” by Daft Punk

Identifying and then sequencing, using a graphic score/table the layers of riffs, sounds and textural layers in “Around the World” by Daft Punk. 


Club Dance Around the World Audio - “Around the World” (Daft Punk)


Performing “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap

Arrangement of the 1990’s early Club Classic “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap.  Includes introduction riff, “la, la ooh” riff and melody and lyrics to chorus (constructed on Am, F, G, Am chord sequence throughout).  Optional stretch and challenge to work out melody notes for the Bridge.


Listening to “Levels” by Avicii

Listening questions on the Club Dance track “Levels” by Avicii.  Contains answers.

Club Dance Levels Audio



4 Simple Marches for 2-part Keyboard

“Pomp & Circumstance Military March No.1 (Land of Hope and Glory)”, “March of the Toreadors from ‘Carmen’”, “The Dam Busters March”, “Radetzky March” with and without note names.

Listening to Marches

Selection of March Music for listening/moving/conducting.