DJ’s

DJ’ng is becoming a growing industry in terms of popularity and interest. With the growth of technology and the race to make things better and smaller, we see the ability to become a DJ become easier. There are many kinds of DJ’s as the term DJ is not specific to the type of scene you are employed in. There are many kinds of DJ’s, however the three main classifications are radio DJ’s, club/professional DJ’s, and mobile DJ’s/party DJ’s. The point of a DJ, however, is the same across the board which is to use the medium of music to entertain groups of people. Radio DJ’s, though similar, vary from the other two forms of DJ’ng as the radio DJ just plays whatever is required at the station; rock, hip-hop, etc. They have to be well versed in the genre, however, and keep on top of the latest trending songs. Though the other DJ’s have to do that as well, it is not as required as the radio counterpart. Radio and Club/Professional DJ’s differ from their mobile counterpart as the Radio and Club DJ’s are under contract and DJ’ng for them is a more rigorous career. Club/professional DJ’s are the more notorious DJ’s who include those such as David Guetta, Deadmau5, and Skrillex. These DJ’s often produce their own music and are known for the “party” scene (alcohol, drugs, etc). Mobile DJ’ng, which is what I do, requires a vast knowledge of many different genres and an ability to do what Club DJ’s and Radio DJ’s do but on the fly. Mobile DJ’s are not under contract, typically, and acquire most of their business through word of mouth and self promoting. These are the DJ’s you see at weddings, grad parties, and gatherings of all sorts. Overall DJ’ng is an exploding career that is being made more accessible to the everyday person due to technological advances.

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Pentatonix

Acapella groups have been around for an extremely long time and, as is required for acapella, the ability to use only one’s voice has been hailed as excellence since the dark ages. One such group that exists is called the Pentatonix. Pentatonix, a 5-member acapella group, began with three friends Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying at Martin High School in Arlington, TX. Hearing of a local radio show hosting a competition to meet the cast of Glee, they arranged a trio version of “Telephone” and sent it in. Although they did not end up winning the competition, it sparked attention around their school. The group began performing around school for different events and at their final choir concert of the year. After getting positive feedback from “Telphone” on YouTube, the three decided to continue and arrange other songs for fun. 

When the opportunity arose to audition for The Sing Off, they decided to add two amazing performers Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola to the group. Thus, Pentatonix was born! Although only together for a short time, an instant chemistry, appreciation, and friendship arose out of the five. Pentatonix loves putting their own dance/upbeat spin on music and derives its influences from pop, dubstep, electro, and hip-hop. Image

John Mayer

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I am a huge John Mayer fan so I’ve decided to write about his journey in the music industry. Mayer grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and is the second of three children. He learned guitar at the age of thirteen. He was obsessed with playing music and began playing in local cafes and bars. Mayer’s first album was only available online from Aware records but he was soon picked up Columbia records and rereleased his first album Room for Squares. Since the beginning of his journey John Mayer has been nominated for nineteen Grammy’s and has won seven of them. I would consider him to be one of the greatest artists in my lifetime. He has only released five albums between 2001 and 2012, besides live albums, but he continues to keep his fan base. The internet and the accessibility of the internet has been essential in Mayer’s career. In 2012 he faced a health problem that could have ended his career. Mayer went through surgery to remove a granuloma from his throat, after he was put on vocal rest and given Botox injections to help heal. During the writing on his latest album Born and Raised he spent several months in Montana away from the spotlight and continued to stay there to heal. His Born and Raised tour in the spring of 2012 had to be postponed due to the vocal rest, leaving fans disappointed. However, the Born and Raised tour has been rescheduled for this summer. If it had not been for the internet and his music being widely spread he may have lost a lot of fans due to the lack of his presence in the spotlight. He seems to be doing well on the charts too with Born and Raised moving from number 193 to 135 on the Billboard charts in just a few weeks. John says he is now ready to tour and he is ready to move forward in his life and career.

Twitter #Music

Twitter is one of the most popular apps in the world, especially with iPhone users. We know Twitter to be a type of social networking site where we can express feelings or follow celebrities. But now Twitter is taking it a step further, they just introduced a new app on Thursday for iPhone users called Twitter #Music, hence the hash tag. This new app is designed solely for music lovers and musicians. Twitter says this new app is to help Twitter users to discover new music and artists.

Here’s how the app works, based on your twitter followers the app recommends songs and artists based on whom you follow and what musicians they follow. Twitter hopes this app leads to sharing new music and purchasing the music you like on iTunes. Some people are skeptical whether or not this app will help artists make more of a profit but I think it’s a really cool idea. This app seems like a great way for new and up coming artists to get their music out there.

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The design of the app is also very cool and unique. Just like the trending topics on the original Twitter app the Twitter #Music app has a popular page for music. There is a suggestion tab which suggests new artists to you and also a now playing tab which shows you who your friends and followers are listening to. The app has a really simple yet sleek design that many people will  find interesting. I am interested in seeing how long this app stays popular and whether or not it will benefit the music industry.

Film Scores

At about the age of eleven, I began to consider becoming a film score composer. I had bought my very first CD: the score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. My parents having pronounced the movie too “dark” for me to watch at my age, I grasped the nearest thing possible that would bring to life the trilogy I had so determinedly read. When the friend who had introduced the books was scheduled to came over one day soon after, I queued up “Concerning Hobbits” so that it would be playing as I answered the door. I still remember the shy audacity with which I stood still and waited for her to recognize the track, to acknowledge that I had some slight participation in this movie realm.

I think that listening to the score before I saw the film allowed me to appreciate the music on its own terms. Howard Shore’s scores are enthralling to listen to. But film scores must be more than just pleasant listening (though beauty is certainly a feature of the best scores). Shore would win Oscars in the “Best Score” category for both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King not just because the music he composed was beautiful aurally, but because it was beautiful within a cinematic context. The score is integral to the construction of the Middle Earth of the movies, giving special auras to Rohan and Mordor and the Shire, guiding the audience through the emotions of each scene. Film music is an art that is essential to the hugely collaborative filmmaking process.

Even the earliest films utilized music. Because the technology of the time did not allow for recorded sound, this music had to be supplied live. For many musicians, playing for film showings was a source of income. Pianists played often from classical repertoire and sometimes improvised accompaniment to what was happening on-screen. The chief goal (as it still stands today) was to supply mood and provide emotional cues for the audience. Soon, composers began writing music specifically for films, and larger theatres often had musical ensembles or organists to provide music and sometimes even sound effects.

In an age of electronic music, composers can be far more precise in writing scores and, arguably, more creative. Synthesized sounds can be used, as by the famous film composer Hans Zimmer. His music for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl which he created with Klaus Badelt was, due to time restraints, filled largely with synthesized instruments. Although this and a tight schedule unfortunately detracted from the quality of the score, it is nevertheless widely popular for is catchy themes.

Zimmer, along with most composers, can employ electronic features more intentionally and to great effect.

The purpose of film music has always been chiefly to trigger emotional response or involvement in the audience. For any given scene, there are endless possibilities as to what this emotion could be, and the choice is a collaboration between director, producer(s), and composer. Director Ed Fraiman discusses his “massive musical decision” for a scene from an episode of Merlin in which Lancelot faces off an enormous griffin: “You could have scored the jeopardy, you could have the obvious danger that he’s in, but we’ve actually scored the heroism, the emotion…” Producer Johnny Caps adds that, “At the end of the day, it’s about loyalty and love.”

(And yes, you will watch this, and you will enjoy it, cheesy monsters, magic spells, Colin Morgan’s ears, and all.)

I no longer desire to be a film composer myself, but I still admire them. They have a massive job to pull off; and though it is a collaborative project, in the end it is the responsibility of the composer to portray the emotion and the mood that carries the scene—and the film.

Soundcloud, a Place for your Sounds

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Picture taken from Google Images

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This picture is of a song being played on Soundcloud. Picture was taken from Google Image search engine.

To start off I just want to go into what soundcould is, and is not. Soundcloud is not a place to watch videos, music videos or other wise.  Soundcloud is solely about the sound.  SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform that allows  promotion and distribution of  recordings by the people who make them up.  It is also considered to be social networking website, that focuses on music.  Soundcloud was first started in 2007 in Sweden, but established a year later in Germany by Artist Eric Wahlforss and Sound Designer Alex Ljung. Not long after the official start did Soundcloud start to dominate over MySpace with more artists posting and distributing their music. The Reason that Soundcloud is able to dominate over MySpace is because Soundcloud is solely for music, and is not for other things such as pictures and videos.

Today Soundcloud has over twenty million users, and is reportedly growing by over one and a half million users a month. When at the Soundcloud website it gives you different choices, and one of the choices is that you can upload your own music, as well as you can go and listen to others music and enjoy the compositions that they are sharing with you.   Soundcloud has also expanded to be able to link up with a persons FaceBook page, and that can be how you access and share music with your friends.  It has also expanded to become an app for smart phones as well.  Soundcloud is a good option for you if you are interested in posting and sharing your music with others.

Below I have posted a tutorial of how to use Soundcloud.

iHeart Radio was  founded in April 2008 by Clear Channel Broadcasting Inc. as the website Imageiheartradio.com. It is now a radio network, and a music recommender system. iHeart Radio offers free music in a free digital internet radio service that lets you stream from live radio stations.

iHeart Radio was made available to cell phones through an app on October 7, 2008. It was only release for iPhones and iPod touches through the App store. In 2009 it was made available to BlackBerrys and Android phones.

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Soon after these apps where opened iHeart Radio begin to offer artist interviews, and live performances. In 2010 it expanded to Sonos platforms. in 2011 iHeart Radio expanded to Xbox 360 consoles. in 2012 iHeart launched on iPads and made a deal to power Yahoo Music Radio.

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iHeart Radio is used all over the United States. It is just as popular as Spotify, Pandora, and other online and on the go radio stations. iHeart radio lets you customize your own radio station and even lets you set alarms, so that  you can wake up to your favorite radio stations, and helps you start off your day. I personally think that iHeart Radio is really cool. It lets me listen to my favorite radio stations and allows me to skip thorough songs i don’t like. I also like because they interview artist which lets the artist fans get to know them better. I think its a great radio station.

iHeart Radio

Electric Trombone

This post probably has more meaning to me than anyone else, because I have played trombone for eleven years, but this is really cool regardless of if you like trombone or not. If you don’t, you probably will after watching these videos. The first video is from a guy named Darren Kramer. He plays a song called “Heavy Metal Paperclip” where Kramer uses an electric trombone setup with FX pedals.

Is that sweet or what? The next video is by a guy named Erik Hughes, playing a song called “Hysteria” by Muse. He uses a loop to play the bass part.

These two guys have different sounds, but they use the same pickup. Yamaha makes a mute called the Yamaha Silent Brass. Essentially, the Silent Brass is a trombone mute that has a microphone inside. It seals all sounds inside the instrument, converting the sound into digital information, while making it feel natural while playing. This piece of equipment is quite versatile, doubling as a practice mute (no noise comes out, but you can listen through headphones) and a pickup.

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The fact that the two trombonists use the same pickup but have different styles reminds me of electric guitars. The Silent Brass allows trombonists to run their instruments through amplifiers, and to employ FX pedals such as distortion, reverb, and delay to create a whole new sound on a classical instrument. There are so many different pedal options, the possible combinations are basically endless.

This makes me wonder what this could mean for orchestral music as a whole. Could we be looking at hard rock orchestra? It would be interesting to see how that would turn out. All I know is that as a trombonist, I am seriously considering investing in one of these bad boys.

P.S. I feel like I should clarify further that this is not a MIDI instrument. It’s just a regular trombone with a Yamaha Silent Brass pickup mute.

Dubstep

I have found the fast growing Dubstep music to be intriguing. It has a song as the outline but it also has an element of chaos and unpredictability. People can take almost any song , from music that’s already upbeat  to taking a mellow song and transforming it completely into dance music.

The exact origins of dubstep are hard to peg down, but apparently we have London, England to thank for the name. More specifically, a small town in South London called Croydon.

Tracing back the influences of this deep-bass dance music goes back to something called “Jamaican dub music”. “ The Jamaican sound systems emphasized disco-type sounds with reproduced bass frequencies underlying. This eventually gave rise to the dub variety of reggae music that had features like sub-bass (bass where the frequency is less than 90Hz, a.k.a. really really deep), 2-step drums and distortion effects.” (History of Dubstep)  This was even before 1999 when us children in America hadn’t even heard the whisper of such music.

Since then, it’s been made popular and promoted starting in the clubs and radio stations such as Rinse FM. I would still like to point out that this was all still Europe.

America eventually started using it in night clubs as well, tagging along with the rest of the world’s pop culture interest in dubstep.

After 2007 and especially in the past few years, dubstep has taken off and big artists like Britney Spears for the pop culture but even in smaller circles it has become of interest.

I was surprised to find on YouTube, a dubstep version of Lead Me to the Cross by Hillsong United, a Christian song frequently used in worship.

I also found dubstep’s versions of God is Able, and Came to my Rescue, coming to realize that this band that had been putting out Christian worship songs for years now had an entire album with their songs made into dubstep!

Personally it took a while for me to warm up to the idea, but for those of us that don’t frequent night clubs, these songs can still be good to use. Dubstep is energetic and great to listen to while working out.

As I am learning more about electronic music I was curious about how dubstep was made. I found a tutorial that explains the making of dubstep and walks you through the entire process (if you have the software).  I don’t have the software, but just watching some of the tutorials was very helpful in helping me understand what makes up dubstep.

Dubstep is now what I call organized chaos.