Music, The Academy

Music is the language of angels.” – Thomas Carlyle

Today is International Day of Yoga and World Music Day.

As an academy offering courses in the field of Sound & Music and an institute which conducts Yoga / Meditation sessions for our students, the 2 International Day of celebrations has got equal importance for us.

The purpose of yoga is to calm the fluctuations of the mind and hand-picked music can play a pivotal role to serve the purpose.  On the contrary features of loud pop music violates the principle of yoga.

Music selection for yoga practice is purely a personal choice and if you have decided to play music in yoga classes, you need time, creativity, and knowledge of the relationships between sound and body to make the right choice.

As Music is deeply correlated with Yoga to support the Yogic flow or the (emotional) impact of the asanas, today we are sharing some tips to consider while choosing music for your yoga practice.

1. Music, especially when it contains words, makes it more difficult to focus on the yoga practice.
Music is a terrific stimulant for the brain. Extensive studies show that music lights up vast swaths of your brain — not just the auditory centers, but also the emotional ones.

2. Loud music especially Pop and rock music is innately stressful.
Exposure to loudness rapidly activates your sympathetic nervous response and pours adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream.

3. Pick instrumental music that has no words.
Even the most well-meaning lyrics can hit someone in the wrong spot. And remember that lyrics in foreign languages are still lyrics.

4. Keep the volume low.
People used to hear music on their mobiles using headphones while doing yoga.
If you are using headphones,

a. Keep the volume below 60% of the full volume
b. Don’t hear the music for more than an hour using headphones.

Constant exposure to sound via heaphones can cause permanent damage to your hearing sensation in the long run. If you have to shout over the music to be heard, the music is too loud.

5. Resist the temptation to play any kind of music during the Shavasana pose.
Silence is its own music which many people seek during yoga sessions.
Let us have that vital medicine of Silence.

6. Similar to our own thoughts and ideas, music can also put us in different moods and create inner balance.
No wonder that all primitive peoples of the world know techniques and rituals to heal, influence or “enchant” with sound, words, music, and songs.  The yoga also includes sounds – and has always been.  

Even our own body is constantly in motion and in a rhythm, even if we sit still. The heart beats, the blood flows and the breath flows in and out.

Studies have found that relaxation music should meet the following criteria:

a. It should sound harmonious and even.
b. The instruments or voices used should have as little emphasis and pitch as possible.
c. The beat should be in line with that of the relaxed human pulse, it can slow down the heartbeat and respiration, tense muscles can come loose and the brain and nervous system can also calm down.

Team Sound Engineering Academy wishes a Great International Day of Yoga and World Music Day to All.

Happy Sound Engineering.

audio tips

In our Tip Tuesday blog post series, one of the least discussed topic is Film Sound.
Even though Audio for Film is part of our Diploma Course Curriculum, much is not discussed in this blog about the topic.

Howdy SEA Fans, welcome to another Tip Tuesday blog post and today we are inviting your attention to some tips on Film Sound Mixing.

This post is the Part 1 of the series and we would like to give you a few tips for the setting of your films and videos.

The topics discussed in the post are of-course only touched upon and in most cases mean whole universes of further complex information.

However, as an inspiration for your music settings, this contribution should bring along some basic knowledge that you would like to deepen on your own, it’s worth it.

Volume and Loudness

Both terms sound the same at first, but have an important difference.
Volume is the unit of sound measurable in decibels (abbr. DB), loudness, on the other hand, is the perceived volume, depending on a few factors, such as noise. the frequency range. Important for a homogeneous film sound are both properties.

Basically, the physical volume must not be exceeded. In video editing programs and other multimedia software, the master volume (sum) is usually displayed with a dB scale.

This has its maximum at zero dB, which can be a bit confusing.

However, zero does not mean “inaudible” but represents the maximum level before the digital clipping. Note, therefore, when mixing the movie sound, not only in the music dubbing but also in dialogues, off voices etc. the master level – this may 0 dB Otherwise, the sound goes into digital overdrive and the sine waves are practically cut off at the amplitude maxima (highest, loudest rashes). This creates the digital scratching, which is sure to be known to many.

Not to be confused with the so-called tape saturation, which dates back to the time of the magnetic tapes.

At that time – and luckily today again – tape saturation was a kind of natural compression that sounds far warmer and fuller than what is possible with software today.

Usually, film music is used, which has already been mixed for immediate use and possibly mastered – that is, the soundtrack as if it was “right” made already in the maximum volume and can basically without further adjustment in the film sound mix be driven without having to expect to clip. The prerequisite for this, of course, is that no further plugins for artificial inflation etc. are inserted (inserted) in your master channel (sum) and the individual channels.

Music from different sources

If you set your movie to music, you may use music from various sources. This means that you have soundtracks from different studios and composers, which should have a clean level, but can still be extremely loud. Then there is the loudness, so the perceived volume.

Unfortunately, today there are many producers who use the so-called loudness-war, so pump up your music technically so that you only hear a shallow shriek, according to the motto: the louder the better.

This is a common means in advertising because the human ear perceives “louder” music as “better”.

So it is compressed and pumped up until nothing works to differentiate itself from others. However, the reality is as follows: the louder, the more broken! Modern music, so most mainstream stuff on the radio, etc. has almost no dynamics, it’s just loud and annoying. See also the topic Loudness-War under About us
Film music supports the film, not the other way around

See your film as a whole, based on dramaturgy or tension curves.

That’s probably true in most cases, unless you have a purely technical video. The goal now is that the music supports the dramaturgy of the images. If your movie begins quietly, that should also do the music. If there is an increase in tension soon, the music can and should also be involved. Here comes the point of volume and loudness to fruition.

See your movie as a kind of wave that depicts the voltage curve.

This wave, no matter what training and shape it has, should also influence the music.

So be sure to use emotionally appropriate music and pay particular attention to the volume and loudness of each track.

Do not start with ultra-cool Hollywood sound when your video shows a kitten and do not use soft piano music while your cat falls from the 10th floor.

These are the principles – exceptions, of course, are possible and often deliberate to create irony.

Lastly, make sure that you adopt the various pieces of music to the overall work and the scenes according to the technical and perceived volume.

Do not just leave everything as it is, but make sure to create a homogenous audio ratio by lowering too loud pieces from the level and lifting too soft pieces depending on genre and type.

Raise only if the maximum level of the piece clearly falls below zero dB!

Hope the topic which we have discussed today has been an informative one and useful for you. More topics will be discussed in the second part of this blog post.

Do share your perspective about the topic as comments below and as always Happy Sound Engineering !!!

Band Talks

Dudes,

Are you ardent fans of rock music?
Have you been following many music bands, their discographies, collecting merchandise, gathering memorabilia and every single snippet within your reach?
Are you able to point out the unique features or persona of a band that you are fond of?

If yes, then you must be having a great Band IQ.

You can also list out a handful of bands that have had the longest standing career since formation as a band, without a change in their original line up.

Ok, some mundane history.

Ever since some revolutionary form of music that stood apart from the regulation jazz, blues and choir started gaining popularity among the youth of the west in the ’50s and 60s, and, ever since that artform got christened as POP music, a plethora of bands came to existence. And extinction as well.

Their music conquered the youth and old alike, casting a magic spell on mankind.

Their songs talked about countries, people, emotions, relationships, incidents and everything else under the sun. Music was becoming a means of mass communication. The message it conveyed became more important than the musical composition itself. And through the process, music was evolving. And so was the industry. Pop stars, nevertheless, were creating for themselves a slot in peoples minds as messiahs, as protesters, as rebels, as preachers. And thus time went by.

Even surpassing the flower power era, a decade that signified the “sex-drugs-rocknroll” camaraderie.

Come the 80s, and then there was punk, glam rock and liberation time.

Bands in all genre sang antagonizing governments, president, politicians, social dogma and the systems.

It was around that time, a teen band, rather four friends who took to music for portraying their emotions and imaginations hit the city clubs and local gigs of Dublin, Ireland. They met each other at Temple Mount School in 1976 and decided to play as a band, calling themselves Feedback.

U2 band rattle and hum poster

And yes, this is the band that we have picked from the history, to feature in this blog issue of Bandtalk. And why them, you will find the answer in the prologue.

Feedback, formed by drummer Larry Mullen Jr, Bassist Adam Clayton, guitar brothers Edge Evans and Dik Evans and a crazy passionate dynamic flamboyant vocalist Paul Hewson believed in the principle: music is more about energy and trying to say something and not necessarily about great musicianship.

early age photo of U2 band members

This essentially was what the POP culture was and still is all about. Dik Evans moved on with different plans in life, reducing the band to the quartet that it is today. And guys, have no more doubt, Feedback is that band that soon became The Hype and later on, the legendary rock band that we all know today as U2.

The mighty band that currently holds the record for concert world tour gross collection, a whopping figure of $76421584 (c) Wikipedia, has 14 studio albums, one live album, three compilation albums and 67 singles to their credit.

From their debut album Boy released in 1980 to the last studio product Songs of Experience released in 2017, U2 has maintained an incredible charm of versatility and lyrical wizardry. From the early days, the band has been labeled PUNK and ALTERNATE ROCK. Yet somewhere in the middle of these three decades, they experimented with electropop and dance music and saw them sail through the crest and trough of commercial success. The band literally paved way for the alternate rock band reign at a time when heavy metal and hard rock was the general youth music globally.

U2 band's album poster

Well, reaching out to each and every one of their albums through a single article is too humongous a task and calls for a deep research. However, we shall take a closer look at one of their biggest ever selling albums- the one that literally skyrocketed their popularity and cemented their superstardom- The Joshua Tree.

Released in 1987, The Joshua Tree was an instant hit, a critical and commercial success, reaching number one in over 20 countries. It still is one of the best selling albums in the US.

Remember, that was the year when Pops all-time reigning stars like Michael Jackson and George Michael were enjoying the soaring success of Bad and Faith.

U2 band poster of the album the joshua tree

Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, long time U2 associates, the band sort of stuck to the basic and conventional rock music structure throughout this album. The bands signature storytelling lyrical prowess is felt in all the songs, particularly on tracks like Bullet the blue sky, Running to stand still, Where the streets have no name etc. The bands most successful single from the offering, With or without you remained on the number one slots on all charts for long weeks on end. The other singles from this Irish band’s Grammy winner album built around a theme – mythical America are I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, Where the streets have no name, In Gods country and One Tree Hill.

Frequently listed among the greatest albums of all time, this one is a must-have for all rockers.

It won the Grammy for album of the year and also for the best rock performance by a group.

The band commemorated the records 20th anniversary with a remastered re-release and 30th anniversary with a concert tour. In 2014, the US Library of Congress deemed this album “culturally, historically and aesthetically” significant.

After all these things being said, what makes this band one of the most unique and rare? In what context do they stand apart?

No prize for rockers guess.

The group has maintained its neat and decent image unlike many of those megastars, hasn’t run into controversies, hasn’t pretty much promoted the regulation rock star lifestyle and above all, has all those founder members still with it, alive, kicking and touring.

recent photo of U2 band members

Yes, indeed a remarkable thing to have the same original line up over nearly four decades, in spite of the huge success and scintillating stardom.

The much recommended U2 albums from their discography: Unforgettable Fire, Rattle, and Hum, Achtung Baby, Pop, All That you cant leave behind.

The Band: The Edge Evans- Lead n Rhythm Guitar and Backing vocals, Bono ( Paul Hewson) Vocals, Rhythm guitar, Larry Mullen Jr- Drums, Adam Clayton- Bass.