March 20, 2017

Meet the Three B’s

When Leaning Classical Royalty Free Music Makes Sense

In a previous blog we discussed the pros and cons to using familiar Classical music in your shows. But if you’re working with a client or producer who insists on Classical, you might need a quick primer on this genre. And just who are the ‘three B’s?’ They would be Bach, Beethoven and Brahms of course. And these great composers present a good starting point when discussing Classical music. In fact, let’s look at their music! But first, an overview.

Basically—in layman’s terms—there are orchestral classical pieces and smaller ensembles, typically a string quartet. These are then subdivided into styles like a minuet, gavotte, waltz, etc. Or they’re defined by mood or tempo. Larger orchestral works usually have Movements that breaks up a long piece in sections to present the music in a logical progression of development.

For example, Bach’s famed Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (Super Themes, Vl. 13) was presented in three movements: Allegro Moderato, Adagio in E minor and Allegro. CSS Music present the 1rst movement that features the iconic “hook.” This piece, like the music of Handel and Vivaldi, is considered one of the great compositions of the Baroque Era, marked by its very symmetrical and traditional motion.

When you think of Beethoven, you probably think of his 5th Symphony. (Bum-bum-bum-bummmm!) Aside from his piano sonatas, much of  Beethoven’s works were of a symphonic nature, like the aforementioned 5th and his very familiar 9th Symphony also known as Ode To Joy. Unless your client or producer specifies a particular piece, caution is advised using his popular pieces.

Our final all-star, Johannes Brahms was a 19th Century German composer who wrote for symphony orchestra, chamber ensembles, piano, organ and voice with chorus. His most famous piece, Brahm’s Lullaby, has been used in countless films when underscoring peaceful sleep, particularly with children.

CSS (music search) has devoted an entire category to Classical music and Opera on our Hand Picked Genre main menu-- we recommend using this link for your search. You’ll find just about every well-known classical theme as well as popular opera selections. We believe you’ll be able to satisfy that client or producer with exactly the right track!

March 13, 2017

Follow The Yellow Brick (Dropdown Menu) Road

How To Search For Weird Royalty Free Music

Have you ever heard, “Wow, that’s weird…but I like it!”? More and more we’re noticing a trend toward more unusual music that helps perk up a scene. And CSS Music has tracks that definitely fall into the “weird” category. But how exactly do you find such tracks in a library as large as ours? Is there a quick path to unusual music?

Yes…and no. If you’re having lunch and want to generally explore some eclectic tracks, auditioning tracks from our Hand Picked Genre/Eclectic Retro Lounge will let you eat a taco with one hand while you click your mouse with the other. You’ll find there’s a wide variety of unusual music in a variety of genres. (If you want total wackiness, try One Crazy Mixed Up Song/Repro-File Plus Vl. 34. We’ve provided vocal and instrumental versions you can edit as needed.)

You can also use the CSS Music Keyword Alpha List that’s just below our Hand Picked menu. By selecting “Specialty” from the R-Z dropdown menu and then choosing something like “Happy” from the H-Q menu, you can narrow your search. “Specialty” has only a limited number of sub categories and you may strike out a few times, but it does offer a solution.

Finally, we have Build-A-Track where you can enter your own keywords in a search. A couple keywords like “Novelty” and “Specialty” will yield good results as will “Specialty” and “Fun.”  Simply using “Weird” will also produce results although most of these tracks are more Halloween oriented.

The takeaway: when looking for unusual music, begin with the terms “Specialty” or “Novelty.” You can then refine parameters with additional keywords that might apply to a style you’re seeking. When you’re looking for “weird,” look to CSS Music!

March 06, 2017

All That Jazz for Royalty Free Music

Understanding The Genres of Jazz

At CSS Music we love us some jazz! As one of the original American music genres, understanding its evolution is important in your library searching. Back in the 1920’s when jazz was born, there was…well…jazz! It was marked by small combos and generally differentiated by dance steps—the Charleston, waltz, tango, Foxtrot, etc. It could be argued that the Blues was a separate subcategory, but for this blog let’s call it a musical style used in arrangements. The orchestras of the era were similar; typically a rhythm section and small horn section that carried the melody when there was no vocalist.

Jazz stayed popular with the American public and became the mainstay of the culture through the 1930’s and 40’s. And with the popularity, new jazz sounds were created from the likes of George Gershwin and his “Rhapsody In Blue” to the big band sounds of Glen Miller, the Dorsey Brothers, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, to name a few. This was the music that was really swingin’!

After WW II and the beginning of the “middle class,” the big bands became less popular…but there was another evolution: Bebop. This was jazz on steroids with a couple pots of coffee poured on for good measure! Artists like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane developed a musical combination of rapid tempos, scant melodies and lots of improvisation. Where jazz had been heard in dance halls, Bebop was found in smoke filled rathskellers that catered to true jazz aficionados.

Bebop then had its own evolution into Free Jazz where melody became unimportant and expression took center stage. Sort of like viewing a piece of modern art—draw your own inference and let the mood overtake you. Obviously, this appealed to a very limited and eclectic audience.

As the 1970’s introduced Funk to the public, Jazz Funk was born. Ah! Melodies, arrangements and great grooves once again were heard! Stars such as Herbie Hancock, George Duke, George Benson and the Brecker Brothers actually broke into the Top 40 with this catchy music and introduced a whole new generation to jazz.

After all these years and all those styles, today’s jazz has given birth to a milquetoast variety called Light (or Lite) Jazz. While bearing some resemblance to its ancestors, this type of jazz is often confused with New Age and is usually heard in elevators or the dentist’s chair. J

There you have it! Does CSS Music cover every era of jazz? Just about—not sure you’ll find a plethora of Free Jazz but if you want a whacked out track, just let us know!