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What Does Tag, Restart & Out of Phrase Mean in Line Dancing?

Learn what the musical terms tag, restart, and out of phrase mean from champion line dancer Robert Royston in this Howcast dance video.

Transcript

Hi my name is Robert Royston, I'm a five time World Champion of Country Dance working with artists like Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley. I really hope that you learn how to line dance and experience what it's like to move to Americas music and that's country music. So this is all about some line dance terminology when it comes to phrasing or music. We're gonna talk about 3 specific things here. We're gonna talk about being out of phrase, what a tag is and what a restart is. So in a perfect world the song that we're dancing to will be perfectly phrased. What does that mean? That means that it happens in 32 beats and then starts over, happens in 32 beats and then starts over. Or for dancing to blues music it happens in 48 counts. So a 12 bar blues rythym right, which would be 6 measures for a dancer would go; a one two three four five six seven eight, two two three four five six seven eight, three two three four five six seven eight, four two three four five six seven eight, five two three four five six seven eight, six two three four five and a six and a seven and a eight, one two three four and start over. So we would just draw six eights and then it starts over. But we do have things that called tags and off phrase music and a lot of the music that we dance to is off phrase. What would that look like? So if I took something like doe a deer, so if I went doe a deer a female deer, ray a drop of golden sun into this you know, me a name and I go through this whole thing right. If we counted this, doe a deer a female deer, ray a drop of golden sun, there's another 8 right, me a name I call myself, far a long long way to run six seven eight. Sew a needle pulling thread, la a note to follow sew, tea I drink with jam and bread, towards the end, that'll bring us back to doe doe doe doe doe. And we start back over. That's perfectly phrased yes? So I have 32, 32 and then it starts over. But what if somebody did a club remix of do a deer and they went, that'll bring us back to doe doe doe doe doe doe doe doe doe a deer and then start it over. They added four beats, they went five six seven eight, five six seven eight before the restart. That would be out of phrase, that song is out of phrase because you have 32 and now we have 36, we have, we have 4 extra beats there that'll bring us back to doe doe doe doe doe doe doe doe doe a deer. And actually that sounds ok, it's ok to do that 4 beat tag. It doesn't feel ultimately wierd, somebody might be just wanted to stretch that out and give a little bit more build to then restart the next phrase. So out of phrase, this would be out of phrase, but it would also be a 4 beat tag. That would mean that we've added 4, we've added 4 beats to the end of that 8. So being out of phrase and having a tag can be very much the same thing. Not always the same thing but similar, because you can also have a song that would go one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four, then one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four five six seven eight right. In that instance, it's out of phrase but there's nothing that's added to the 32 counts, we've actually taken 4 beats away. So that's out of phrase but it's not a tag. So sometimes they can be the same thing and sometimes they're completely different. A tag would be adding beats to a perfectly phrase, so there's a perfect 32 counts, we have 4 beats, that's a tag, that's out of phrase. In this instance, we took away 4 beats out of phrase but we've tagged nothing. What is the restart? The restart is when we start the line dance back over. So we might take this and do one big line dance when we do 4 eights, we do 3 eights and in this instance we do a twelve count pattern right at the end of it and then restart the dance. What's the restart? The restart would be doe. Doe is the tonic or the keynote, all songs are written in a key. Each verse begins on the same note, that's called the tonic or the keynote. That's your restart. So whether you go doe doe doe doe doe a deer, that being your restart or doe doe doe doe doe doe doe doe doe your restart is the same after the tag or if there is no tag, after the last 8. So we understand what it means to have a out of phrase dance, we understand that a tag is adding beats to a phrase and the restart is where does that music resolve, what's the tonic, what's the keynote, what's doe. That's where we restart the dance and the whole thing goes over again and usually facing another wall. So we understand a little bit about some musical terms that you're going to hear as you start to learn line dancing. And sometimes, what choreographers will do is they'll call this A and they'll call this B. So you do A and then you do B. They might be the exact same dance but what we do is in A we go here, we go bum bum bum bah and then start the dance over again whatever the dance is. And when you get to B, you have to go bum bum bum bah bum bum bum bah and then start the dance over again. So a lot of times you'll get that happening throughout. One of the consistent things about an off phrase dance is if there's a 4 beat tag somewhere in the song, chances are there's gonna be a 4 beat tag everywhere in that same place. What does that mean? If I have one two three four, one two three four plus four, I'm probably going to go one two three four, one two three four plus four again. It's probably gonna happen, wherever it happens in this part of the phrase it's gonna happen again and again and again and again. Music is consistent. It's even consistent when it's off phrase or when there are tags. So as you choreograph a dance you would have A, B, A, B and you could keep going with that. So I hope this makes a little bit of sense for you as you start to chart your own songs for your own choreography or start to learn line dances and understand when a dance teacher says this dance has a A and B, this dance has a tag, this dance is off phrase. You'll now know what that means.

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