July 21, 2016

Are You A Yankee Doodle Boy? (Or Girl?

Looking at Patriotic Music

When you think about traditional patriotic music, the songs of George M. Cohan may immediately come to mind. Those rousing numbers that became the toast of Broadway in the early part of the 20th century can only be eclipsed by Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” which he wrote while in the Army in 1918.

But let’s face it: those songs are pretty old school. At CSS Music we’re cognizant of your need for music with a rousing patriotic feel that can be conveyed strictly through a melody. The best way to hear our selection of Patriotic music is to choose “Patriotic” from the Keyword Alpha list. You’ll find a song like “The Patriot” from Super Themes Volume 33 will give you that pride to be an American with it’s inspirational melody and orchestral arrangement. But if you just need something stock that will immediately evoke patriotism, give Digital Ditties, Volume 1 a listen. You’ll find a swingin’ version “America,” “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Or for a selection of all American music, audition America’s Tracks for some creative arrangements of tried and true American classics.

We pride ourselves on offering you guys a wealth of patriotic music that you’ll find just right for your next show. Whether you need a traditional arrangement of America’s time-honored tunes, a more creative approach to these songs or something that just suggests patriotism, CSS Music has you covered.

July 13, 2016

Working With Soundscape

Is It Music or Sound Design?

Call it ethereal, call it electronica, call it New Age or call it music for sound design, the search for those music tracks that create a mood without a necessarily defined music style can give your shows a very unique sound. CSS Music has two volumes entitled Soundscapes that create ambiances using various instrumentation and unusual grooves.

A track like “Metherial” (Soundscapes Volume 1) can work wonders for scenes requiring a little mystery or wonder. It could even be used in an underwater scene with it’s “bubbling” clave part.  Or a track like “Rings of Saturn” (Soundscapes Volume 2) offers a quiet journey through space with a simple electric piano that evokes a peaceful futuristic mood.

Or you might try our Multiple Word Keyword Search a/k/a Redi-Trax and type in “soundscape” and any other criteria you seek. You’ll find more selections that fill the bill from our Super Themes® and Repro-file™ Plus libraries.  A track like “Bleak Winter” (Repro-file™ Plus Volume 28) paints a chilly picture using a simple repetitive motif and a wind-like synthesizer wash. Or “Migrating North” (from the same disc) embodies the spirit of a herd of gazelle on the move--very picturesque!

How do these tracks work with dialog? Beautifully! Because they are primarily mood setters, there is (typically) no melody to interfere with the spoken word.  And you may find tracks with longer pauses to work around or to edit for time. Soundscape music truly is a cross between music and sound design. The moods created vary from ethereal to mysterious to downright spooky! We hope you find uses for this special music in your next show.

July 07, 2016

When Is It Too Much?

When Is It Too Much?
Working With Alternate Mix-Outs

We’ve talked before about cutting between a track’s full mix and alternate mix. Quite frequently, the alternate mix will sit much better under dialog since there’s less instrumentation fighting the dialog. At CSS Music we started delivering these alternate mixes as far back as 1988 with our PowerTrax® library and now we offer these mixes with our latest Project Platinum® updates.

So, have you tried underscoring an entire scene with one of these stripped down mixes? If you have an extended emotional scene where you really don’t want the music to develop, something like the acoustic guitars only mix from “A Road Trip Quietly,” (PowerTrax volume 33) could provide the ideal feel for the scene. There are also the full mix and mix sans drums of this track if you decide later to provide more momentum.

Even going back to earlier PowerTrax® like volume 20…a rhythm mix from a track like “Concrete Rider” will give you an upbeat hip-hop groove that could work under a number of adrenaline fueled scenes where there’s a lot of dialog. Or if you need more emotion: “I Wanted More” (PowerTrax® volume 25) has an excellent rhythm mix that will work great with dialog.

While we’re extremely proud of what our composers bring to the CSS Music library, we know you guys need mixes that will best support your shows—it’s just the “reality” of television production today. And if you find a particular style of music where you’d like more, with these alternate mix-outs, let us know! We will endeavor to add them to future updates in the next few months.