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Tips for a Successful Music Review

Some Tips for a Successful Music Review For You


1. Who Should Write a Review?

Writing an informative and captivating music review can be a challenging task. It is helpful if the reviewer is a musician and understands music theory, musical styles, and the type of music to be reviewed. It is essential for the reviewer to be aware of the target audience for which the music review is intended. My reviews are targeted to music teachers who have in in-depth understanding and appreciation of music.

2. What Does the Reader Want to Know?

The reader of my column is educated, has an in-depth understanding of music, including music theory, conducting,, and music pedagogy, and a level of musical understanding in all genres of music. Typical readers want to know about the product. They are looking for new ideas for presenting music in concerts and on the football field. They want music that will add diversity to their concert programming. Readers want to know certain things about each piece of music; specifically the level of difficulty, and any unusual demands placed on the different instruments and the appropriateness of the music for performance.

Here is an example taken from one of my recent music reviews:

Here we have ten minutes of Spanish flavored music that has many dynamic types of shading, and is sprinkled with sustained lines, weaving counter lines, and thick, resonant chords. The contrasts in mood are very well handled. It is a rousing number that exudes rhythmic intensity, and Spanish bravado. This exciting musical composition brings out a sense of adventure, and student will enjoy the brisk tempo and fiery Spanish rhythms.

Another review contains a subtle warning to the reader:

This is a challenging piece in that the flutes must be proficient at rapid tonguing and the high tessitura of the trumpets and horns can be demanding. The snare drum solos are effective and provide smooth linkages between sections. However, the dynamics must be carefully observed to make these transitions effective. A proficient xylophone player is necessary in this piece.

The title of the piece, the composer/arranger, an name of the music publisher should be at the top of the review.

3. What About the Style of Writing?

It is best to avoid using terms such as: “you” “your” and “I” in the review. It is assumed that whatever is written is the expressed opinion of the reviewer and if not, than that statement should be quotations. It is also helpful if the reviewer avoids the use of clichés, and generic, non-specific terms such as “interesting,” and accumulates a list of colorful adjectives that can be used to describe the music. The words “appealing” “fascinating” and “exciting” are more suitable that is the word, “interesting.”The following are a few helpful descriptive terms for use in music reviews:

freshness of sound, absence of musical clichés, colorful work, use of sonorous pedal-points, the crisp and intense combination of….., splashes of percussive color, a deep woody bassoon solo…, leads to a warm, mellow four-part horn chorale, a tender, expressive melody by the oboe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 10/03/2011 in Audio Tips

 

Active Vs Passive Speakers

The information will help you decide what would be a good beginner DJ setup, both from the professional, mobile DJ standpoint, as well as from the financial standpoint.

Active DJ speakers advantages and disadvantages

Active speakers or also termed as powered speakers simply are speakers that have the amplifier built in. The advantages are that the setup is clearly simpler, there is fewer cables and fewer boxes to carry. More importantly, a DJ can pass into the speakers any imaginable input, not just the input from the mastered sources, and not be afraid of damaging or overburdening the speakers. This simplicity and robustness make powered speakers a good choice for a starter DJ setup.

The disadvantage of an active speakers DJ setup is that there is a single point of failure: if the amp goes, you need to replace or repair the whole speaker, you can’t just simply plug in another amplifier.

Passive DJ speakers advantages and disadvantages

Passive DJ speakers simply have no internal amp; They need a separate amplifier. The advantages of such setup are that there is no single point of failure and one can can mix and match passive speakers with suitable amplifiers at will.

The disadvantage of a passive DJ speaker setup, especially for a mobile DJ, is that there are more boxes to lug around, and there are more chances that wiring will go wrong.

DJ choosing between active vs. passive speakers

So knowing the pros and cons of the active and passive DJ speakers, which way should you go? These days, most new DJs opt for active speakers because of the simplicity of operation. Financially, the active DJ speakers are more costly, so that is another consideration: If you are concerned with the cost or have budget constraints, buying a passive system still makes sense.

When considering getting a set of used DJ speakers, the choice should be even more obvious: Provided you do your research and selections right, that is, that you do the audio tests and are buying quality, even used, then you will most likely come out much better off buying a passive speaker setup. The reason is simple: With more and more DJs today upgrading to active speakers, the supply of used passive DJ speakers for sale is higher than the supply of active used speakers.

The same consideration holds when looking into DJ subwoofers as well.

 
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Posted by on 07/03/2011 in Audio Tips

 

DJ Subwoofers Placement

Where To Place Your Subs For Maximum Power

A newbie DJ or a DJ who is serious about majorly improving their game is always tweaking their performance and their equipment. A lot of the improvements will come from simply “being out there and kicking it”, but there is also a lot to be learned from seasoned DJs.

Most DJs simply miss out on a lot of positive vibrations (pun intended) that a DJ subwoofer speaker offers. Most DJs simply do not feel employing a sub is necessary in their setup. That might be true to an extent that it is of course quite possible to do a decent gig with all-purpose speakers.

However, without DJ subwoofers, you will not take advantage of subtle and not-so-subtle influences on the audience that a subwoofer, especially well placed subwoofer presents. A properly placed DJ subwoofer will create the right energy (in case of loud, dance music played) and the right mood (in case of quieter background music being played during sitting sessions for instance).

Assuming that you as a DJ are convinced in the benefits of subwoofers, in this article we will explore various possibilities of placement of subs that will vastly improve their performance, and may even save you money by requiring to not necessarily go for the highest wattage speakers you can afford.

Since a good quality DJ subwoofer goes for upwards of a thousand dollars, the info that follows could save you a lot of money.

Where do most DJs currently place their subwoofers?

It is interesting to know that most DJs today place their subwoofers right under their table. There is some logic in that as the bass sounds travel across the room well and the subwoofers do not need to be elevated above the audience like the mid-range and tweeter speakers which definitely require elevated tripod DJ stands.

What is the best placement of DJ subwoofers?

Experiments measuring the loudness level of a subwoofer have shown that placing a subwoofer in the middle of the room is sub-optimal. Instead, depending on your venue, here are the three best placements:

  • A good placement of a subwoofer is about 1 yard from the wall. The measured increase of loudness was 6 Db as compared to placing the subwoofer in the middle of the room.
  • Even better, placing a subwoofer 1 yard from the corner of the room will bring even more volume gains.
  • In open spaces, the trick is to tilt the subwoofers into the ground for maximum effect. A 30 degree tilt will already present a major improvement.
 
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Posted by on 01/01/2011 in Audio Tips

 
 
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