Don't believe that.  I called with a DJ who didn't know how long their tracks were and couldn't tell me how they started and often went down on the floor to dance once the music started.  One track ended in the middle of the A2.  And there was no clear "start" to any of the phrasing in most of the tracks.  Not a fun evening for me. 

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-----Original Message-----
From: Maia McCormick via Callers <>
To: jim saxe <>
Cc: Caller's discussion list <>
Sent: Fri, Mar 29, 2019 1:06 pm
Subject: Re: [Callers] Calling techno?

I don't think you would ever play a random non-vetted techno track for contra, though. The DJs who get booked for these events are specifically techno contra DJs.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 11:59 AM jim saxe via Callers <> wrote:
On Mar 28, 2019, at 2:39 PM, Bob via Callers <> wrote:

> ...
> Live or mixed recordings? If live then it should be perfectly square AABB. If mixed, the only thing you can count on is 8-beat phrases. ...

Can you even count on 8-beat phrases if someone, such as a caller or a knowledgeable DJ, hasn't vetted the tracks?

I know practically nothing about techno music, but recordings in other genres that aren't made for phrased dancing will not necessarily follow strict 8-beat phrasing.  For instance ...

It's pretty common for a folk singers accompanying themselves to play a few bars of guitar strums--and not always the same number--while trying to remember the first line of the next verse.  While I haven't gone looking for examples, I'd be surprised if such variable inter-verse vamping didn't sometimes appear even on studio recordings.

In some fiddle traditions, such as southern and Quebecois, besides straight tunes and wildly crooked tunes, there are also tunes that are mostly straight but have an occasional odd phrase.  Even medleys of straight tunes can sometimes have some extra beats at the transitions between tunes, as heard around 0:59 in this video:
     Yo-Yo Ma - Fiddle Medley ft. Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile

Line dances are mostly choreographed to music that's in multiples of 8 beats, but exceptions are hardly unusual.  Also, in order to fit recordings that were made for listening and not specifically for dance routines, line-dance step sheets may prescribe various irregularities in the routines.  Here are just a few of the examples a little searching turned up:
     Boot Scootin’ Boogie
     38 count, 4 wall, beginner line dance
     Every Little Honky Tonk
     32-count, 4 wall line dance with 12-count tag after wall 2
     Came Here To Forget
     Description: Line Dance - 2 Wall (24ct.) - Intermediate 1 Restart, 2 Tags
     Sequence: 24, 24, Tag 1, 14cts- Restart, 24, 24, Tag 2 (6cts.), 24, 24...

For some other examples of music that's largely, *but not entirely*, in chunks of 8 beats (or eight bars of triple meter), try listening to any of these while tapping your foot or fingers and counting along:
     Paul McCartney - When I'm 64
     Julie Andrews - My Favorite Things
     Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made for Walkin'

So here's my question, for those of you who are more familiar with techno music than I am:  If you play a random track not already "vetted" for phrasing, if you find a place where there's sufficiently discernible phrasing to establish a starting point for your "mental metronome of 8 counts" (to quote Donna Hunt), if you use that mental metronome to carry you through a part where phrasing is less evident, and if you then get to another part with findable phrasing, how reliably (or not) can you expect that the phrases will still line up with your mental eight-counts?


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