Context is king. The context of any communication matters more than its content. When creating, choosing, or communicating anything, consciously consider context.
Content is created with context in mind. This is just as true when it comes to music – and how people move to it. The influence of the intended or experienced environment on almost every aspect of music and dancing is far greater than most people realize.
Music and movements meant for outdoor environments are different from music and movements made indoors. Music meant to be heard on a car or portable radio or through personal headphones from a cell phone is as different as music intended for a local café, crowded nightclub, community concert hall, or outdoor sports stadium.
Sound quality, song selection, and listeners’ reaction and interaction are different for live bands than they are disc jockeys playing recorded (and often remixed) music.
Surroundings, “special effects” (like strobe lights, smoke, smells), and specific social situation, alter sights, sounds, and sensations. The size, shape, and some structural characteristics of a venue’s construction or composition affect the acoustics and thus not only what and how well people can hear, but also the kind of music that is played, performed, and even permitted – let alone consciously composed with it in mind.
Venue size, shape, seating, stage and floor or ground surface area and quality affects how many people can come – and when – and how and how much room they have to sit, stand, move, dance, respond, and interact. Lighting affects what they can see.
Venue type, location, function or perceived purpose often determines who may be there as much as what may or may not happen there. Who dances and how is affected as much by the presence of food, drinks, and social status as it is by the music itself.
When choosing, making, or moving to music, consider context – and keep it in mind.
© 2012, Oren Pardes. All rights reserved.