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Topic: Question of music
Message: Posted by: RJH (Jan 18, 2013 05:21AM)
Do you build your act to music, or do you select music that fits your act?

Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Jan 18, 2013 07:46AM)
For me it's a combination of the two. I usually start by staging the routine, then auditioning appropriate music for it. Once I find music that has the right feel, tempo, etc. I may have to edit it for time but then I will re-stage the act, choreographing it to take advantage of the phrasing of the music. For instance, the music I used for the levitation had a very nice "turnaround" from the bridge back to the main theme. I re-timed the staging to hit this turnaround right at the end of the hoop passes, and the music became an automatic applause cue.

I believe it is important to integrate music and movement as closely as possible. Otherwise you just have music that is playing behind the action and is [i]separate from[/i] the action rather than a [i]additive part[/i] of it.
Message: Posted by: RJH (Jan 18, 2013 08:23AM)
Thanks Frank. I just have so many possibilities for the music... It's hard.

Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jan 18, 2013 10:53AM)
This question reminds me of the question songwriters are often asked: Which comes first when writing a song--the words or the music?

The answer I have found is that both approaches work. When David Copperfield developed his popular vignette scenes--like the Don Wayne Dancing Handkerchief with Frank Sinatra's "All the Way" and the De Kolta Chair vignettes with Barry Manilow's "Weekend in New England"--obviously the music came first since the songs were rigidly fixed arrangements that could not be altered. I would imagine that classic acts like Cardini and Channing Pollock used professionally arranged standards (e.g. "Three o 'Clock in the Morning" for Cardini and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" for Pollock.)

The vignettes used by David Copperfield were different from most silent magic acts because ordinarily you would prefer music without vocal lyrics.

Of course, if you use music licensed by ASCAP or BMI, in most professional cases you would need to get their permission. Some venues you work for might already have their own license with ASCAP/BMI.

There was a great book years ago--_Get Your Act Together_ by James Alburger--that had a section about music selection.
and there is a DVD by Joanie Spina with the same title--Get Your Act Together--
that might be useful for you to study.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 18, 2013 12:30PM)
In my opinion it really depends on the person you are. If one is just looking to put together any old magic with any old music, then it does not matter at all.

When I design an act or show, I do so with certain magic tricks in mind that I want to perform. Otherwise, why bother if on is not that interested in performing magic. If you go to work for say, an amusement park, they have a complete show for you to learn. You only have to learn to perform and an act.

If you are solely a magician who want to perform, most magicians pick their tricks for various reasons. They want to show magic that means something to them in one way or another. Mainly because each trick was chosen and worked on to contain a piece of the performer.

I have always believed it is better to perform magic effects that you like and enjoy performing, then to do anything that you can afford to purchase.

So my vote is, if I remember correctly from the book, "Get Your Act Together", match the music to the magic. Also there is unlimited music to chose from, but not unlimited magic tricks for stage presentations.

It would be much easier to take the 1st 10 songs on the current top 10 list, and then find tricks to perform with them. That certainly save a lot of time designing a magic act or show.

I go also with one must like the music as well. As in, I don't care for country music, but Latin sounding music is what I search for in matching movement to a person's on stage movement.

As in Cardini's case, I believe I read someplace, Cardini did a full Billiard Ball routine, but in his professional traveling stage act, he only performed with on Billiard Ball. Time constraints and his "Theme" would not match a full ball routine.
Message: Posted by: RJH (Jan 18, 2013 12:39PM)
Thanks Amado and Bill. I have the first couple of minutes ready of my act, so I will first do the act, and then see music that fits it.

Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Jan 18, 2013 03:04PM)
On 2013-01-18 09:23, RJH wrote:
Thanks Frank. I just have so many possibilities for the music... It's hard.


Well, it's been said that any work worth doing will be hard! ;)

But consider that it is so much better to have more possibilities than fewer. When I was starting out, if I wanted to find music I would have to purchase an entire LP record (yes, it was [i]that[/i] long ago!) usually based on the cover art and possibly the name of the artist or a song title. Auditioning music before buying is a relatively new concept. I would often have to buy 10-12 songs and hope that one of them would be useful! I wasted a lot of money on music I couldn't use!

And editing the music is soooo much easier now on a nonlinear digital platform than it was when having to do overdubs and physical tape editing.

So even though it's tough, keep at it and work hard to get the right music that will make your act stand out as being uniquely your own!
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jan 18, 2013 09:02PM)
Other sources of royalty free music for magic are:
Royalty Free Music for Magicians

Music for Magicians

Also, be sure to check the rights that come with any royalty-free music. The rights might refer to live performance only.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: RJH (Jan 19, 2013 02:16AM)
Thank Amado. Now I'm only looking at this site: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/
But it says that you should mention the site in a VIDEO, what if it's live performance???? ANYONE?

Message: Posted by: Anatole (Jan 19, 2013 01:50PM)
You can use their contact info at the bottom of their email page
to ask them.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: RJH (Jan 19, 2013 02:36PM)
Thanks Amado.

Message: Posted by: PetervanRhein (Jan 26, 2013 07:07AM)
For my next show block I have found a lot of inspiration by listening to "Epic" on YouTube.
Simply type "Epic Music" and than you have a list of many mixes sometimes up to 3 or 4 hours.

In many cases you can find a list of the songs used or the composer is mentioned.
If not I use Shazam on my iPhone to see what song it is and who composed or performed it.
It's a bit of work to get the music rights done but some of the music you will find there is very, very impressive ;)

Magical Greetz from Holland,
Peter van Rhein
Message: Posted by: MagiTracks (Feb 14, 2013 07:46AM)
Howdy All,

I've been away from the Café' for awhile working on custom projects, but I wanted to join this conversation!

I compose & produce original, royalty-free MUSIC for magicians all over the world, through my company MagiTracks.com. We have an excellent reputation, a wide variety of styles, and our music is endorsed by top performers such as Jeff McBride, Franz Harary, Whit Haydn, Sean Alexander and many others. Absolute professional quality, and again... 100% royalty-free for your live show, website or promo video.

We welcome Café' members to visit our site... the #1 source for exclusive, custom-designed Music For Magicians! Thanks for your time guys :)

Steve Saunders
"The Conjuror's Composer"
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Feb 14, 2013 09:57AM)
On 2013-01-18 11:53, Anatole wrote:
...Of course, if you use music licensed by ASCAP or BMI, in most professional cases you would need to get their permission.

This is correct. I found this out the hard way years ago, when I was thoroughly FLAMED both in PM's and here in the forum for not considering that.

Steve's got a great site, for Royalty-Free stuff! As broke as I am, though, I need "free'. One good place to find stuff, is here:



Message: Posted by: Dougini (Feb 27, 2013 10:28AM)
On 2013-01-18 06:21, RJH wrote:
Do you build your act to music, or do you select music that fits your act?


To answer your question, when I did The Zombie Ball to music, I edited "The Great Gig In The Sky" by Pink Floyd, from The Dark Side Of The Moon album. That specifically was the haunting vocal by Clare Torry:



I never performed that for a fee. I only did it a small number of times, privately when I first moved to Florida. I mentioned it here in the Café SO many years ago. I can still feel the sting of the BLASTING I got from a Café member. God forbid Pink Floyd lost a few cents [i]because of me![/i] Horrors! ;) Then I read:

[b][i]In 2004, she sued Pink Floyd and EMI for songwriting royalties on the basis that her contribution to "The Great Gig in the Sky" constituted co-authorship with keyboardist Richard Wright. Originally, she was paid the standard flat fee of £30 for Sunday studio work. In 2005, an out-of-court settlement was reached in Torry's favor, although the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. All releases after 2005 credit 'Richard Wright/Clare Torry' for the "Great Gig in the Sky" segment.[/b][/i]

Message: Posted by: MikeTheKid (Mar 24, 2013 12:55PM)
It is tough to find the right music for one act, I am having trouble finding too :(
Message: Posted by: Andy Young (Mar 24, 2013 06:47PM)
I had a some props in mind for my kid shows. I thought that they might go well with music and had a song in mind. It is from a small time band and I just emailed them and they gave the ok to use just so long as I send them a video of the finished product. But their is so much music out there that it can be mind boggling in your choice.