Dance Designer™ – Music Editing Software for Dance Teachers

Published: 16th July 2009
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Whether there is a one minute guitar solo that needs to be removed from a song or the competition only allows a certain length for a dance, most dance teachers, at some point, need to have their music edited. An edit can be as simple as picking a point in the middle of the music where you want your dance to end, fade out the music at that point and remove the rest, or picking a point in the middle of the music to start your dance and removing the music prior to that point. However, most of the time dance teachers want to remove a section out of the middle of the music and sometimes want to mix 2 or more songs together. This is where it becomes a little tricky. Music editing is similar to dance in that it has technical and creative elements. With practice the process can be learned and you are only limited by your imagination.

What is different about Music Editing with Dance Designer™?

There are a variety of music editing programs available today ranging in price from free to thousands of dollars. Many of these programs are too complicated for dance teachers' basic music editing needs. These programs require a more technical knowledge and are certainly not developed for a dance teacher, but for an audio engineer. Many dance teachers pay companies or individuals to do their music editing. This can be quite expensive, especially if you are editing many songs.

Dance Designer™ has made audio editing much easier by incorporating dance counts with music, giving dance teachers a reference they are familiar with. Dance Teachers can edit their music from the 4th count of 8 to the 12th count of 8, the same way their music is counted in rehearsal. Dance Teachers no longer have to only look at wav images or time.

Dance Designer™ has kept dance teachers in mind while developing the one-click editing, making editing easier. No more digging through menus to find the editing tool you need. Select the counts you want to remove from your music and click delete. It is that simple. If you make a mistake or don't like the edit click undo and try again. It is all non-volatile editing which means you can try as many different edits as you want.

Dance Teacher Tips for Music Editing

What are Edit Points?

There are 2 edit points when removing or deleting a section from your music the "Out-point" and the "In-point". The Out-Point is the beginning of the section you want to remove. The In-Point is the end of the section you want to remove.

Choosing your edit points

There are 5 main elements to consider when choosing editing points in your music.

1 The Count

2 The Beat

3 The Vocals

4 Sustained Sounds

5 Key or Pitch Changes

The Count

Dance Designer™ is the only software that allows dance teachers to reference "Dance Counts".

Dancers sometimes count differently than musicians; dancers tend to count in phrases of 6, 8 or 12.

When choosing edit points, you want to try and keep the counts the same.

So, if your "out-point" is on count 1, you want your "in-point" to be on count 1. Sometimes it is not possible to edit on count 1 for reasons discussed below. The main consideration with counts is your out-point should be on the same count as the in-point. These are only guidelines, if the music works for the dance and sounds good going out on count 2 and coming in on count 6, then do it.

The Beat

The beat or tempo is an easier issue for most dance teachers. To make a good edit it's important that the tempo stay the same. When you highlight or select the section of music to be removed you also need to look at the "wav image". This image shows the amplitude of the music over time. Generally the "down beats" are louder, and you can see them in the wav image because they are larger. This is called the "attack" of the beat, the portion after the attack is called the "decay" of the beat. You want to select just in front of the attack on the out-point and the in-point. If you select in different locations of the beat for the out-point and in-point, your edit will be out of time or tempo. To test your edit, tap your foot to the rhythm, if it jumps ahead or you have extra time between the beats, you need to try a different edit point.

Beat is also important when dance teachers want to edit multiple pieces of music together. The tempo of the music is called BPM or beats per minute. Usually, it is easier to edit or mix music together if the BPMs are the same. Dance Designer™ will analyze the music and display the BPMs. You can also slow down or speed up the music changing the BPMs. This is more advanced music editing; try it after you have mastered the basics.

The Vocals

Working with the Vocals tends to be the easiest way to make a good edit. You want the song to make sense with a section removed. If the out-point is the beginning of a chorus or verse it is best if the in-point is the beginning of the chorus or verse. If it is a "story song" it can be a little trickier, you will have to use your creative license when deciding where the edit fits best.

Sustained Sounds

Sustained sounds cause trouble sometimes. Dance teachers can have the perfect edit points with regard to counts, beats and vocals but the edit doesn't sound good because a vocal, guitar, horn or keyboard had a sustained note through the out-point and it is not continued on the in-point so it is cut off on your edit. Many times it can be as simple as changing the out and in point from being on count 1 to being on count 5 or use a word in the middle of the chorus that is repeated. This is when referencing dance counts is very helpful. Since Dance Designer™ is non-volatile editing you can undo and try different points.

Key or Pitch changes

If the Counts, Beats and Vocals are correct you should have a good sounding edit. However, when you need to edit in the middle of a verse or chorus due to a sustained sound, key changes can make the edit sound bad. You need to listen to the out-point pitch and the in-point pitch and make sure they are the same. It sounds the worst in the middle of a verse when the key shifts down. Sometimes key changes can work if they are on a down beat that makes sense in the music. The vocals, sustained sounds and key changes are the creative part that you can play with until you get what works for your dance.

It may sound a little complicated, but people actually have fun editing and mixing songs together. Some may remember record players and editing music on cassettes; times have certainly changed.

With Dance Designer™, dance counts, and one-click editing it is easier than ever to edit your own music!

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