Bringing the Text to Life
What is this? (Have your musician play a few lines of a Strauss waltz or play a waltz over the sound system.)
Even those of us who are not gifted with an ear for music -- or to be blunt, those of us with a tin ear -- can recognize the signature sounds of a waltz. What gives a waltz its characteristic lilt and lift is the number of musical beats it contains in each measure of music. That easily identifiable waltz beat is called "3/4 time" -- it has three beats to a measure.
Listen again to a waltz, and you'll hear it ... (play it again). The first of the three beats is usually the accented beat, the second two beats softer and unaccented: "Dum-de-de, Dum-de-de." The waltz, popularized in the later 19th century by Strauss in the lavish social circles of Vienna, became enormously successful. Everybody who was anybody was dancing the waltz to Strauss' hypnotic 3/4 beat. If you were waltzing, you were with it.
But what makes a waltz a waltz is also, ultimately, what makes a waltz a...